Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Dr. Linda, I Was Nice, But It Didn’t Seem to Matter

unsure coupleCouples come in to therapy with this complaint. “I did nice things for my spouse, but it doesn’t seem to matter. She doesn’t even notice. I don’t get it.”

Honestly, they usually don’t get it. They fail to see that all the negativity of the relationship sort of cancels out the good when it happens. I know that doesn’t sound fair, but an on-going negative relationship depletes the positives over time.

For example, in an overall positive relationship, if a husband comes home and forgets to bring the bread for dinner, the wife would probably think,
“Oh, he must have had a lot on his mind and just forgot. No worries. We can do without bread.”


But if that same relationship is already very negative and the same thing happened, the wife would think, “See, he only thinks of himself. I can’t depend on him.”

In fact, research tells us that 50% of positive gestures go unrecognized in couples characterized by negativity. The reason–there is too much negativity in the bank. Even neutral actions are seen as negative.

So what can you do?

Go back to the basics. Work on the marital friendship, show admiration and respect for your partner, and most of all, be there when he or she tries to connect with you. The challenge is to deposit  positives into that emotional bank account. Over time, you can turn it around. But you have to be intentional. Keep down the criticism, defensiveness and disrespect towards one another. Don’t turn away when frustrated. Stay in the interaction, calm yourself and talk. Point out the positives about each other. Remember why you got together in the first place and try to recapture some of that good feeling!


Previous Posts

What's At the Root of Your Procrastination?
Most of us know the feeling of procrastination. It often goes like this: I know I have to complete that project by the end of week. Nothing in me wants to do it. I'll go to the gym. Exercise will relax me and help me concentrate better. ...

posted 7:00:59am Oct. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Get Control of that Anger
Are you easily angered? Do you have a low tolerance for frustration. Does any little thing annoy and frustrate you? Are you tired of feeling out of control? If so, consider this. Some children seem to be born more edgy and irritable. They ...

posted 7:00:34am Oct. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Who Made You the Boss?
Have you ever had that moment when you thought or said, "Who made you the boss?" Someone in authority or a leader makes a decision and you think you know better. If we are honest, this happens all the time. Yet, in most cases, we have no ...

posted 7:00:43am Sep. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Stress Eating? The Brownie or the Apple?
You want to lose weight and know what you need to eat. But does stress make it harder to actually make healthy food choices? Let's say you are under stress at work. You have to pass a series of exams to get that needed promotion. So much ...

posted 7:00:44am Sep. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Harvard's Humanist Chaplaincy: Good Without God
I was listening to HLN the other day as I was driving home from work and heard a show about Harvard University's humanist chaplain. I went to Harvard's chaplaincy page and found this description, "The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard is dedicated ...

posted 7:00:37am Sep. 25, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.