Negativity comes in many forms. It can come out as whining, pessimism, cynicism, perfectionism, discontent, or even hyper intensity. No matter what the behavior that occurs, it pushes people away which can include a spouse. Some research has shown that there is a magic ratio to keep relationships healthy. This is the 5 to 1 ratio meaning that for every negative interaction, there needs to be at least 5 positive ones for things to remain stable. This can mean different things for a relationship and you may question if your marriage can survive if there is a high degree of negativity. It is possible, with lots of work for someone to overcome a negative outlook, but first you must understand if you are naturally negative.
Are You Negative?
You may wonder if you are a negative person or just naturally lean toward the negative. Ask yourself the following questions to make that determination.
- Are you a perfectionist?
- If someone says “Good morning” do you immediately wonder what is good about it, no matter what?
- Do you automatically look for the negative when something is happening?
- Are you critical of everyone you know?
- Are you quick to say no, regardless of the request?
- Are you in a bad mood more than not?
- Do you dwell on the negative and painful?
If you can answer yes to more than four or five of these questions then you are a negative person and it can affect your relationship.
Changing Your Negative Thinking Pattern
If you really are chronically negative, it is possible to change your thought patterns. This is a personal decision that you must make on your own. No one can make the changes for you. Try the things below to start changing your thought patterns.
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Avoid negative self-talk and replace it with positive affirmations
- Be open-minded
- Practice gratitude and mindfulness
- Eat healthy and exercise
- Do something to make you smile
- Help others
- Forgive yourself and others
- Seek professional help if necessary
Helping a Negative Spouse
Perhaps you are in a relationship with someone who is negative or has an overly negative personality. Remember that you are not the one responsible for making them feel better. However, there are a few things you can do to help your partner along the way. These are shared below.
- Try not to let the negativity be personal
- Do not overreact if your partner rejects the help you are trying to give
- Spend time with people who are positive instead of others
- Invite your spouse to fun activities weekly, whether a walk or something special
- When your partner accomplishes something, acknowledge it
- Be encouraging when your partner wants to try something new
- Set and maintain healthy boundaries
- Seek professional help for yourself to learn to deal with the negativity
Above all, remember that for negative comment or act, create five positives to neutralize it. This can be challenging because no marriage or relationship is perfect. Remember to have fun, set boundaries, and keep the lines of communication open. You will be surprised how positivity helps the relationship over time.