That’s right, you heard me – think negative to save your marriage.
Sometimes it pays to be negative rather than positive. I don’t mean critical. I mean negative as in the concept of negative space. In a room, an object is positive space. The space around the object is negative space. If there is too much positive space, you lose focus and things seem cluttered and overwhelming. The right amount of negative space can make everything look better. How do you apply this to your relationships and your life?
If you are having a problem, rather than bringing something in to solve the problem, try taking something away until things work better. For example, if your spouse is not paying enough attention to you, rather than going on a cruise, turn off the television an hour before bedtime. Instead of adding something, take something away. Keep taking things away until you start to feel better and you gain more focus. Think of this as creative deprivation. You are building space around your life so that you can actually see what is there, and then you will know more about how to proceed. Instead of buying more clothes, get rid of some things that don’t work for you anymore. Then you will see what you have that does work. Instead of demanding more attention, spend more time apart. Rather than move to a bigger house so you can have more space for all your stuff, stay where you are and get rid of your stuff so you can have more space. Instead of talking about your problems, cultivate silence around the problem. Don’t deny it but just let it be for awhile. (This is a form of mindfulness. Just letting things be can change your situation.) Here are some things you might consider getting rid of: your need to be right, perfectionism, the idea that you are a victim, too many activities, unrealistic expectations, etc. Now look around at what is left… hmmm, better and better.