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One of Jim’s clients called him extremely distressed, saying, “Jim, I need to talk to you RIGHT now. This is an emergency.”
As they began to speak, Jim learned that his client’s wife had just contacted him one day ago, saying, “I am filing for divorce.”
It’s a total shock- when your spouse tells you they are filing for divorce it’s definitely a traumatic life event.
What is a life event? A life event can be…
- Getting a separation
- Having a specific conflict with your spouse
- Having spouse move out
- Getting a divorce
Whatever it may be, an event is a place in time where something is about to occur that will affect your life in some way.
The Webster’s definition of “event” is this: Event: Noun: “The fundamental entity of observed physical reality represented by a point designated by three coordinates of place and one of time in the space-time continuum postulated by the theory of relativity.”
That was an extremely complicated way of saying “an event is something that is happening at a particular time.”
It’s not complicated, but it’s hard to see a situation for what it is- an event. This was difficult for Jim’s client we talked about earlier- the client could not focus ahead of this event. He saw the divorce as an absolute termination of relationship, rather than a “life event.”
If you look at situations like these as “events,” it can help you stay focused. You will not be easily swayed or thrown off the course of your vision.
That being said, do not let events dictate how you feel. Take control of your thoughts, leading them toward a vision of hope.
Why is this important? It’s important because emotional events become damaging when we begin to obsess over them. The more you think about something, the greater influence it has in your mind.
Two Challenges With Obsessive Thoughts
Challenge #1 Timing & Emergencies
You feel like you must do something NOW since this event is the only thing on your mind. It becomes an emergency!
Emergencies require immediate action, so if you feel like it’s an emergency, you’ll make a rash decision. You may send a text, email, or make a phone call… without thinking about the consequences for your relationship.
You fail to see a vision for your marriage. Vision LOOKS AHEAD. Your relationship may be in a bad place right now, but you can look past it. Consider the possibilities.
Reframe your thoughts. You’ll be less likely to say (or do) something with immediacy/anxiousness that will hinder possible reconciliation afterward.
Challenge #2 Negative Fantasies
Your mind creates a negative fantasy of the condition, state, or placement of your relationship. The more you think about your marriage the more likely you’ll assume the worst. For example, when you aren’t with your spouse, you don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re thinking and you may assume the worst is happening.
It’s said that out of the 50,000-70,000 thoughts a person has per day, typically 7 out of 10 of these will be negative. This means you’re 7 times more likely to put a NEGATIVE thought in place of a neutral/unknown situation. This becomes a vicious dance of poor behavioral interaction in a relationship that’s already filled with conflict.
Here’s what we recommend:
Work on taking control of your thoughts. Resist looking at events in your relationship (no matter what they are) as the “end” or as emergencies.
Know that it’s okay to think through your answer in a conversation. You have permission to end the current conversation, saying, “I don’t know. Let me think about that.” Or, “I’m uncomfortable- let me get some advice first.”
Taking the time to consider your response is MUCH better than making an ill-informed or emotional decision.
We want you to have a good relationship on the best path toward reconciliation. Lead your thoughts, don’t let your thoughts lead you.
We can absolutely help with this here at Marriage Helper! We have many self-led, online resources that can help you make better decisions for your future. We also have Coaches who can help you process incoming thoughts, re-frame your thoughts, review your thoughts, and make the best decision for your marriage.
Lastly, our Workshop is the BEST possible resource and influence to help you and your spouse get on the right path. Many who come to our Workshop have no hope (some attend our Workshop even after they’re divorced and we still have a reconciliation, success rate of 77%).
Know this: there is hope!
We know how hard this situation can be. If you’re not sure what to do next, this article may help.