By Lavern Nissley
When things are going sideways in a relationship it is easy to focus on negatives, with what's going wrong. Much like gravity, such a focus pulls us downward and decreases our hope for improvement or restoration. Is there a better way to approach relationship challenges?
Research has shown that it is more effective to add positives first than to start with the negatives. We've observed this in mentoring and coaching dozens of couples. When we started with their challenges, things unraveled quickly. It works that way in our own relationships as well.
Think of relationships in terms of "deposits" and "withdrawals". There will always be withdrawals in human relationships. Misunderstandings. Disappointments. Unmet expectations. By making regular "deposits" (appreciations, kindness, careful listening, etc.) we get ahead of those "withdrawals" and avoid "overdrafts".
What is a positive "deposit" you could make today in a relationship challenge?
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.