I often work with clients who are angry with their spouse. In fact, they often get stuck in their anger. Usually what is underneath the anger is hurt, and sometimes they have difficulty expressing that hurt. When you are focusing on the other person’s negative behavior which seems to cause your feelings such as anger or hurt, you continue to create those feelings and attract people and situations that you perceive as hurtful… Or situations that make you mad… Your interpretaiton or the meaning you place on events is focused on the negative—what is wrong with the other person. And then that is all you see.
So why not try thinking the other way around? Focus on the positive and attract positive people and situations. Think about placing positive meanings on your spouses’ behavior. Instead of finding fault, try accepting that THAT is the way he or she is. After several years of being together, you know that this is how he thinks, this is how he behaves, and his personality is like this. What you see is what you get! Instead of getting mad and trying to tell him or her how to change, put your energy into changing yourself. Handle the situation differently and don’t be critical of her. Think about the good qualities in her. The wonderful things she does. And, the ways in which you are grateful. When you do this, you accept your spouse. You allow them to be just the way they are (which they are going to be anyway!)
I am currently working with an executive who is angry with her husband for his moodiness and distance. Instead of complaining to him she is focusing on her gratitude for what he does. As she allows him to be the way he is, she doesn’t take it personally and think that he is upset with her. Nor does she interpret his distance as rejection. When she needs her positive, happy and involved spouse, she approaches him with kindness and asks for what she wants or needs. She approaches with a loving attitude and usualy receives a kind response. Before this, she complained about him and felt responsible for changing his mood. She also felt lonely and unloved. Now she understands he loves her and is simply responding to his own stuff at work and in their relationsihp. She no longer feels responsible for him and guilty. No longer angry. She is accepting this is the way he deals with his stress. And she asks for what she wants.
Her acceptance of him, changing her own thinking and behavior, and asking for her own needs is getting much more of the love she has wanted. Give it a try yourself. Control your own thinking and behavior. Accept the other person as he or she is, and focus on getting your needs and desires fulfilled while having kind thoughts and actions.
Think of a recent situation with your spouse or close friend which upset you. Listen to your “story” of what they did wrong. Now say to yourself,“Stop!” Recount with your understanding and acceptance the way the other person thinks and behaves. Think a different interpretation. Accept this is the way he or she thinks nad behaves. Think through what positive things they bring to the table. And add the positive things they did in this situation. Think of ways you can do something better in this and future similar situations. As Bill O"Hanlon says, “Do one thing different.”
As you accept your spouse, you are changing your critical story to a positive and accepting story. You might find yourself feeling good, smiling and being happier. You are demonstrating excellence in taking responsibiity for yourself, excellence in accepting and loving your spouse, and living a relationship of excellence.