What are you looking for in your marriage and in your spouse? Are you looking for the good or are you just noticing all the bad? Did you know your brain will find evidence of whatever it is you are looking for? Find out more on this week’s podcast.
Let’s talk about our brain a little bit. If you’ve listened to other episodes, these concepts will be familiar to you, but let’s just talk about them again.
Our brain is constantly taking in information. Dr. Joseph Dispenza says that the brain processes 400 Billion bits of information a second. Isn’t that incredible? 400 Billion! But then it has to sort through all of that information for what is RELEVANT for us. (http://www.basicknowledge101.com/subjects/brain.html)
Our brain is constantly looking for evidence to prove what we think about something or someone is right. Our brains love to be right. They would rather be right about something, that to have to expend the energy to try and think differently. So our brains are constantly scanning the world for evidence to support and prove that it is right. It’s very very good at this.
Our brain also loves to scan the world for what is wrong to avoid physical and emotional danger as well as making sure we measure up and how we fit in in the world. And again…it’s very good at this.
Our brain also LOVES to solve problems. So it’s constantly scanning for problems to solve and then working to solve them. But because our brain developed these mechanisms to keep us safe, it often finds problems when there are actually none and it loves to find plenty of evidence to support them. It does this in all areas of our lives.
Let me give you an example – so right now we are considering moving to a different area. As I drive through that area now, my brain is constantly scanning for all the houses for sale. This is an area I drive through probably 3 times a week and never noticed how many houses are for sale. But now that we are considering moving, my brain is constantly on the look out for homes for sale and I’m seeing them everywhere.
Or what about when you are looking for a new car? If you kind of narrow it down to what you want and then all of the sudden you see that particular kind of car everywhere.
This is your brain finding evidence for what you are looking for…because it wants to be right. It’s trying to solve a problem for you.
So, what about when we think there might be something wrong in our marriage or with our spouse? Our brain does that same thing and finds evidence to support what we think is true.
If we think thoughts that our spouse is grumpy or mean, or lazy, or he works too much, or he’s not a good priesthood holder, or he’s not nice to the kids, that is exactly we will find because our brain will sort through lots of information and make that relevant.
If we think thoughts that our spouse doesn’t support us or we don’t have a connection or that they are selfish or they don’t care about us …that’s what we will find.
Our brain will find all the ways to make whatever we are thinking true, because it wants to be right.
I have several clients who are struggling to see the good in their marriages and in their husbands because all of the thoughts they have been thinking that their brain has found so much evidence for.
And…most of the time they don’t recognize that those are just thoughts. They think they are just FACTS because they have soooo much evidence that they are right.
It’s just a FACT that their husband is grumpy.
It’s a FACT that their husband is lazy.
It’s a FACT that their husband is a workaholic.
It’s a FACT that they don’t have a connection with him.
But NONE of those are FACTS! They aren’t my friends. They are ALL Thoughts. And remember…our thoughts are optional. All of them. You can CHOOSE to think whatever you want about your spouse. Did you know that it’s possible to think that your husband is amazing EVEN if he sits home all day doing nothing? Did you know it’s possible to think that you have an amazing connection with him even if he doesn’t talk to you very much? It’s totally possible!
So – how do we change the way that we are looking at things? How do we change our thoughts about our husband when we have so much evidence for how we are currently thinking?
The first thing you can do, is start looking for evidence of the opposite.
I have had a couple of clients recently who have really struggled finding the good in their husbands. They have LOTS of evidence that they have shared with me about why he is isn’t a good husband. Why they can’t love him. Why they can’t respect him.
So the first thing I have them do is list out all of the things they DO like or love about him. List some of his good qualities. Even the worst husbands usually have SOME redeeming qualities. Make a list. And then each day, add a few more. Look for the good instead of constantly looking for the bad and watch your mind shift…
It definitely takes effort. It takes a conscious effort to look for the good each day. But as you do so, your brain will find more and more evidence to support your new thoughts.
Then I want you to work on changing your story. Even if you don’t believe it now, work on believing a new story about him.
If you can’t believe that your spouse is amazing and wonderful and loving… maybe start with a bridging thought like…
It’s possible that my spouse is amazing and wonderful and loving!
It’s possible that he is the perfect spouse for me.
It’s possible that we have an amazing relationship.
Your relationship could be exactly what you want it to be if you work on finding evidence for it instead of the opposite.
A few weeks ago I was listening to an interview on another podcast with a professional interrogator. One of the tactics he uses when investigating crimes and interviewing potential suspects to place values on that person, let them know what the value he placed on them is, and then they live up to that value. Now stay with me here, because I think this can be really applicable to marriage.
He gave an amazing example of man named James. James had had a hard life. He had a girlfriend and his girlfriend got pregnant and shortly before she gave birth, she broke up with him and started seeing another guy. The baby was born, and shortly after this new boyfriend killed the baby. The man went to prison and after he got out of prison, James found him and beat him so bad that he ended up being sent to prison for assault. When he got out of prison, he got a job at this investigators company and stole some money and that is what put him in front of the investigator.
Now the investigator could go into that interview, see his history, and the “facts” and also have thoughts about what a bad guy this James is. That he would assault a man and that he stole money from this company. But the investigator didn’t do that. He went into the investigation knowing that James valued justice. By assaulting the man who killed his child, he was seeking justice. And as a father and someone who also values justice, he could relate to the investigator.
This investigator also shared that he had struggled in his marriage. He had put some labels on his wife that began to deteriorate their marriage. But when he decided to put some different labels on her, she “became” those labels.
What labels are you putting on your spouse? What labels have you given them that they are probably now living up to….
What new labels could you put on them instead?
Just by putting some different labels on our spouse and on our marriage – it could change everything.
Your spouse and your marriage could be exactly what you are looking for.