The concept of mindfulness is all over the place these days! From news outlets to lifestyle magazines, blogs and podcasts galore, to conversations at the drop off at your child's preschool, people are reading and talking and learning all about the importance of mindfulness.
And that's great! Mindfulness is one of the cornerstones of mental and emotional health. Being present and connected to the NOW is vital if we're going to be aware and responsive in healthy ways to our own needs and to the needs of others.
So what is a mindful marriage? Here's my working definition:
A mindful marriage is one where spouses pay attention and act with intention.
Cultivating mindful awareness in your marriage is important to the health of your relationship, and the level of satisfaction you feel with the experience of being married.
Let's dive into how being more aware and conscious of your choices in your style of communication can impact your relationship in some powerful ways!
First of all, what's the 5:1 ratio!?
The 5:1 ratio has to do with the amount of positive to negative in your marriage or relationship. Five to one is the magic ratio that is necessary for your marriage to actually feel satisfying.
Here's the harsh truth: It takes five times more positive than negative for your relationship to feel positive. Let that sink in for a minute.
Yes. It takes five times more positive than negative. That means if you say one critical or snarky thing, it takes five positive statements to counteract it. Whoa.
We know this intuitively. Negativity stings. And it lingers. And yet, so many couples develop the habit of pointing out negative things in each other waaaaay more than they point out the positives. Can you relate?
Simply put, negative input is powerful information! Our brains are built to be primed to pay attention to the negative far more than the positive or neutral.
How many times at the end of a long day have you remembered that one little mistake you made, and forgotten about the other two dozen things you did just fine, or even with excellence? Our brains are great at noticing danger, scarcity, and threat. Things to not do again.
Humans are designed to be very good at identifying and avoiding threats at all costs -- because it's a survival thing. Our brains actually protect us from harm by making us focus more on the negative, so we can correct problems before they become unmanageable - and avoid really bad consequences - like serious injury or death!
We can definitely thank our brains for looking out for us so well!
But in relationships, the impact of too much negativity has a corrosive effect. Your honey's negativity and criticism automatically has WAY more impact than their positive comments do!
Our brains perceive our partner's criticism, grumpiness, and overall negativity as if it was a real honest-to-goodness threat, and the brain amplifies the impact of that information (which makes it harder to "let go of", as well).
So you can see that if you want your marriage or relationship to feel satisfying, it's vital for you to seek out and amplify the positives with your honey!
That means saying those nice things in your out loud voice, and not just thinking them in your head. And intentionally working on increasing the positive and decreasing the negative to get closer to that 5:1 ratio!
Being intentional about calling out the positives helps you override the impact of the inevitable negatives -- and that's incredibly good for the felt experience of your marriage or relationship!
So what's the best way to be more positive and less negative with your sweetie?
Be mindful. Be observant, and be intentional. Creating any new habit takes time, patience, and a willingness to work on making changes. But even a 20% improvement will make a felt positive impact - and you can always build from there.
Remember, you have dozens of opportunities each day to amp up the positive and dial down the negative. Stay mindful, aware and watchful, and you'll start to notice more and more opportunities to increase the positive!
Bonus: When you're intentional about creating a more positive atmosphere in your marriage or relationship, you're modeling these relationship skills for your sweetie, and setting an excellent example for your kids.
Six simple ways to be more positive:
When you do these types of positive things five times more than you:
Your relationship will feel so much better! Boom!
So try it out this week and report your results. Brag on yourself a little and share some wins, or let me know where you're stuck so we can troubleshoot.
If you haven't already grabbed it, here's a link to the Magic 6 Hours Couples Guide -- it's your ONE PAGE blueprint of the key elements that will help make your marriage or relationship really THRIVE. Share it with your sweetie!
Shoot me an email at [email protected] and let me know how you're doing as you apply these ideas in your marriage or relationship.
I can't wait to hear how it goes! ❤️ Together, Better, Stronger,
~ Dr. Beth
P.S., Ladies, if you'd love more FREE information, support, and encouragement like this, check out my Facebook group -- Your Emotionally Intelligent Marriage: A Head & Heart Group for Women
I'd love to see you there!
Dr. Beth Schmit, Psychologist & Relationship Coach
Together Better Stronger with Dr. Beth Schmit
This FREE one-page blueprint gives you the secret formula for a healthy marriage or relationship.
Grab your copy now, and start helping your marriage truly THRIVE!