What If Your Negative Beliefs About Marriage Are the Problem?

This article was originally published at the Washington Examiner.

What if all you need to be successfully married is a change of attitude? Sound too good to be true?

It isn’t. You’d be surprised what a simple shift in thinking can do.

Your attitude is the single most important determinant of your success in life. Life will throw you a thousand curve balls. So will marriage. But it isn’t the curve balls that matter, it’s what you do with those curve balls. What you do stems from how you think.

Here’s what I mean. In a 2010 interview with Barbara Walters, the actress Sandra Bullock said, “I always had this feeling that if you got married, it was like the end of who you were.”

In the January 2019 issue of Elle, the twice-divorced Jennifer Aniston insists she doesn’t need marriage and kids to be happy. “I’m sure, because I was from a divorced-parent home, that was another reason I wasn’t like, ‘Well, that looks like a great institution.’”

No one is born with these thoughts, they are learned. Children of divorce have, understandably, had their belief in marriage shattered, and they tend to carry this negative belief with them throughout their lives.

But beliefs aren’t facts, they’re learned assumptions based on observing something that didn’t work. Yet countless women today enter marriage with this same self-defeating mindset.

To make matters worse, our culture teaches that marriage is supposed to make women happy, and that if it doesn’t, a wife should leave her marriage and find happiness with someone else.

Here’s a paragraph from a typical article about marriage today, entitled “Confessions of a Semi- Happy Wife”:

Beneath the thumpingly ordinary nature of our marriage — every marriage — runs the silent chyron of divorce. … Thank God for divorce, which may be the last-standing woman’s right to choose. One eloquent swing of the ax and happiness is thrust firmly back into our own hands.

It is impossible to overstate the significance of messages like this one. It means that when a woman hits a wall in her marriage, as she inevitably will, she cannot rely on the support she needs to climb over it.

Instead, this is what she gets: If you’re not happy, leave.

Talk about sabotage! Who’s never unhappy? Why should becoming a wife, or a husband, for that matter, guarantee one’s happiness? Yet, this directive, “life’s too short; move on if you’re unhappy,” is pervasive, and it’s tailored specifically to women.

Anyone who’s a product of divorce is going to struggle with marriage. For women, the challenge is especially hard since the culture sells them a self-defeating narrative about men and marriage. Until or unless women reject this narrative, as well as let go of whatever their parents taught them about love if it was of a negative nature, they will never be successfully married.

The attitude and beliefs we carry with us determine which direction something will go. It’s no different with marriage. Change your mind, and you’ll change your life.

What if, for instance, you can depend on a man? What if divorce isn’t the answer? What if your mother’s story doesn’t have to be yours?

Keep thinking. The possibilities are endless.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, columnist and radio host known as The Feminist Fixer. She helps free women from feminism so they can find lasting love with men. Suzanne's newest book, WOMEN WHO WIN at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts, will be published October 2019.

Reader Interactions


  1. I grew up in a narcissistic household.Both parents physically fought,drinking,arguing,etc.Later they divorced and were still bitter about each other and the marriage.Both parents childhoods were narcissistic.With physical abuse, jealousy of siblings, alcoholism,etc.I stayed single,dated twice in my life,never had children-never babysitted,so I never knew anything about children.I figured with my disfunctional family,my upbringing, low self-esteem and I never had that desire to have children,what’s the point of me even dating? Most men want children and a healthy marriage and I did not want to deny a man that,so I gave up dating.I did concentrate on my career ,investing,hobbies,etc instead.I did not get involved in drugs,drinking,hanging around with wrong crowd,etc.This year I finally figured out the narcissistic patterns that go from one generation to the next.How narcissistic parents behaviors affect their children’s internal dialogue that can carry throughout their life.Im working on them-low self esteem, negative internal dialogue,very independent,etc.

  2. Negative beliefs about marriage, and of course narcissism and seeing self as only what is in flesh, are ALWAYS the problem.

    Life is the outpicturing of the inner world. We have our inner light; the film of our beliefs, parading before the light, and we see our beliefs on the great movie screen of life.

    The Universe, above, below
    Tis but a shadow puppet show
    the candle in the box, the Sun
    round which we phantom figures go
    -Ruba’iyat of Omar Khayyam Nishapuri

    All the world’s a stage
    and all the men and women players on it
    They have their exits, and their entrances
    and each, in their time, plays many parts
    -As you like it, Shakespeare

  3. A guy who survived numerous years of Nazi concentration camps wrote a book. What was his name, Viktor Frankl, I think. He said that they can take away everything else- but YOU choose your attitude. Always. YOU choose to be happy, or sad. People might take action to help you, but YOU decide what your attitude is. YOU choose which beliefs to maintain.

    I remember a guy whose wife got up, a few weeks into the marriage, and said she wasn’t happy. She divorced him a few months after the wedding. He was broken up, but his parents helped him, and he recovered. She went on to marry other men, and have a child by each. She divorced each of them. So, who created her unhappiness? Multiple men? Or the only one who had control over her happiness- her? At the end of her last marriage, she decided that the first guy was the best of the lot. She wanted back into his life. I’ve seen a lot of women try to sling back, like this. They don’t understand that they have burned their bridges. Heck, my first ex tried to slingback.

    So, she tried to slingback. Oddly enough, he wasn’t interested in raising somebody else’s kids. Oh, she’d been his sweetheart, but she burned all that out. Now, she was still creating her unhappiness. And she created even more reasons to be unhappy.

    I speak to everyone who seeks good marriage: decide to be happy. This means YOU take control of your life. Stop blaming the world. You create your life. You are the ONLY one who can make you happy. One woman gets a new house, and bitches mercilessly at her husband because the kitchen isn’t quite right, and so on. A second woman gets a small notebook, from a husband who says “I was thinking about you today, and thought this might be useful.” And she is thrilled. Who is the happier? It’s a choice.

    Women who ***CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY*** attract men effortlessly. They become vortices of positive energy, men, and people generally, seek them out. Now, I am married. I don’t play around. But I notice energies. There is a woman in the next town over who is always cheerful. Yes, she’s married, with kids. I won’t ever follow up on it. But I notice it. I know a woman who is of French extraction. She is mid to late 50’s. She is hotter than a 20 year old. Her energy is almost flammable. No, I won’t ever follow up on it, but I notice it. The point is that it is possible to be this way- all it takes is clear intent, and persistence.

    Unless a spouse is an addict, or psychopath, it is better to stay the course, and work through it. You climb the mountain… and see the beauty from the top of it, that you couldn’t imagine existed. Then you go down the path, and climb another peak. So it is in marriage. You can choose to be happy on 99% of the path.

    Stay the course. You have no guarantee that when you go hypergamous, it will be any better. You haven’t changed your frequency… and you’re likely to get worse. The word commitment has meaning and relevance here.

  4. If a woman wants to attract a man… do the regular stuff. And BE HAPPY. Happy women effortlessly attract men. Lose the weight, grow your hair, yes, and nothing- nothing is as important as simply choosing to be happy. A happy woman is a joy to live with, life with a happy woman is halfway to orgasm, for a man. And the man cannot make her happy. Only she can decide to be happy. He’ll happily support her as he can, and do what he can- but only she can decide to be happy.

    Men know very well that unhappy women cannot be cured, and that if he can leave, the smartest thing he can do, is to leave. He cannot fix or cure her.

  5. Q: Is there a difference between divorce, and marriage?

    A: In principle, yes. In marriage, women exploit men. In divorce, she gets help from the courts to exploit men.

    Q: Is it true that feminists seek equality?

    A: In principle, yes. They want men equally destroyed.

    Q: Why is there no women doing the really crummy jobs?

    A: Because they might mess up their nails.

    Q: Is it true that you don’t need headphones to listen to feminist talks?

    A: In principle, yes. One hears exactly the same thing from all sides.

    Q: Is it true that women initiate over 70% of divorces?

    A: No. Another 20 % happen because the wife drives the husband crazy.

    Q: When feminists run the country, will we still have money?

    A: No, none of that either.

    Q: Could an atomic bomb destroy working men vital to the economy?

    A: In principle, yes. But feminists are far more vital to the economy.

    Q: What is chaos?

    A: We do not comment on feminist economics.

    Q: What is Cosmopolitan?

    A: A set of road signs to nowhere.

    Q: What is a happy divorced man like?

    A: One who devoted his life to community service, and had all his assets in his nonprofit service organization.

    Q: We are told that the feminist paradise is already seen at the horizon. What then is a horizon?

    A: The horizon is an imaginary line which moves away each time you approach it.

    Q: What is permitted and what is prohibited, in the affairs of men and women?

    In England, what is permitted, is permitted, and what is prohibited, is prohibited.
    In America everything is permitted except for what is prohibited.
    In Germany everything is prohibited except for what is permitted.
    In France everything is permitted, even what is prohibited.
    In the USSR everything is prohibited, even what is permitted.

  6. Russian Jokes

    Q: What can a woman make from nothing?
    A: A stylish haircut, a salad, and a tragedy.

    Q: Why do women work so much on their appearance, but so little on their intellect?
    A: Because there are many fewer blind men than stupid ones.

    Question: My husband cheated on me so many times that I just don’t know who is the father of my kids. What shall I do?

    Answer: Be magnanimous and forgive your husband.

  7. Humor is funny because it tells the truth.

    Divorce is the psychological equivalent of a triple coronary bypass. ~ Mary Kay Blakely

    I married Miss Right. I just didn’t know her first name was Always. ~ Unknown

    My husband and I have never considered divorce. Murder sometimes, but never divorce. ~ Joyce Brothers

    In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find and continue to find grounds for marriage. ~ Robert Anderson

    Staying married may have long-term benefits. You can elicit much more sympathy from friends over a bad marriage than you ever can from a good divorce. ~ P.J. O’Rourke

    “Bad divorce?” Hardy asked, his gaze falling to my hands. I realized I was clutching my purse in a death grip. “No, the divorce was great,” I said. “It was the marriage that sucked.” ~ Lisa Kleypas, Blue-Eyed Devil

    Ah, yes, divorce . . . from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet.~ Robin Williams

    A lawyer is never entirely comfortable with a friendly divorce, anymore than a good mortician wants to finish his job and then have the patient sit up on the table. ~ Jean Kerr

    Whoever said Marriage is a 50-50 proposition laid the foundation for more divorce fees than any other short sentence in our language. ~ Austin Elliot

    She cried—and the judge wiped her tears with my checkbook. ~ Tommy Manville

    A divorce lawyer is a chameleon with a law book. ~ Marvin Mitchelson

    Let’s be blunt: If you hire a divorce lawyer today, there is a good chance you will hire a bankruptcy lawyer within two or three years. ~ Gene Meyer

    Divorce lawyers stoke anger and fear in their clients, knowing that as long as the conflicts remain unresolved the revenue stream will keep flowing. ~ Craig Ferguson

    In Palm Springs, they think homelessness is caused by bad divorce lawyers. ~ Garry Trudeau

    My mother always said don’t marry for money, divorce for money. ~ Wendy Liebman

    Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand. ~ Shinichi Suzuki

    Instead of getting married again, I’m just going to find a woman I don’t like and give her a house. ~ Lewis Grizzard

    You know why divorces are so expensive? Because they’re worth it. ~ Henny Youngman

    If you think you have trouble supporting a wife, try not supporting her. ~ Unknown

    It was one of those ridiculous arrangements that couples make when they are separating, but before they are divorced—when they still imagine that children and property can be shared with more magnanimity than recrimination. ~ John Irving

    You don’t know a women till you’ve met her in court. ~ Norman Mailer

    Americans, who make more of marrying for love than any other people, also break up more of their marriages, but the figure reflects not so much the failure of love as the determination of people not to live without it. ~ Morton Hunt

    Nowadays love is a matter of chance, matrimony a matter of money, and divorce a matter of course. ~ Helen Rowland

    Technology forced me to divorce a pixie and remarry a pixel. ~ Brian Celio

    When two divorced people marry, four people get into bed. ~ Jewish Proverb

    I try not to think of divorce as failing at marriage but rather winning at bitterness and resentment. ~ Unknown

    I look at divorce this way: it’s better to have loved and lost, then to live with that bitch for the rest of my life. ~ Steve McGrew

    Just another of our many disagreements. He wants a no-fault divorce, whereas I would prefer to have the bastard crucified. ~ J. B. Handelsman

    I can’t get divorced because I’m a Catholic. Catholics don’t get divorced. They stay together through anger and hatred and festering misery, just like God intended. ~ Lenny Clarke

    Divorces are made in heaven. ~ Oscar Wilde

    Half of all marriages end in divorce—and then there are the really unhappy ones. ~ Joan Rivers

    Divorce is a declaration of independence with only two signers. ~ Gerald F. Lieberman

    If you made a list of reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you’d have a hell of a lot of overlapping. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

    When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they “don’t understand” one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to. ~ Helen Rowland

    The only time my wife and I had a simultaneous orgasm was when the judge signed the divorce papers. ~ Woody Allen

  8. “After researching female infidelity for more than ten years, I can honestly say that many of our societal beliefs about females are grossly distorted and some are completely erroneous.”

    -Michelle Langley, author of Women’s Infidelity

    Women’s relationships today follow
    a very predictable pattern:
    They push men for commitment

    They get what they want

    They lose interest in sex

    They become attracted to someone else

    They start cheating (emotionally and/or physically)

    They become angry and resentful

    They begin telling their partners that they need time apart

    They blame their partners for their behavior…and eventually, after a long time of vacillating back and forth and several failed attempts to give up their affairs, they end their relationships or marriages.

    If you’re a man, like most men, you would probably never suspect that your wife is cheating, (at least, not physically cheating) not only because of your wife’s seeming disinterest in sex; but also because you have the belief that your wife is a “good girl.” Unfortunately, men are frequently left/divorced by their wives without ever knowing about their wives’ affairs and infidelities. If you’re a woman, like most women, prior to cheating on your husband you always proclaimed yourself to be “not the type” who would ever cheat. However, also like most women, after they have cheated, you’re shocked and appalled by your behavior; but at the same time you can’t stop cheating.

    There are four “Stages” women move through before divorcing their husbands.

    Women’s relationships and marriages have been following the same pattern for a long time, and they will continue to follow this pattern unless we develop an accurate understanding of females — particularly in regard to their sexuality. After researching female infidelity for over ten years, I can honestly say that many of our societal beliefs about females are grossly distorted and some are completely erroneous. Unfortunately, society’s preoccupation with male infidelity and male commitment issues has and continues to keep a light from being shined too closely on female infidelity and female commitment issues. The media has finally begun to acknowledge, albeit to a small degree, the widespread problem of female infidelity. But to be clear, female infidelity is one of the most prevalent problems that couples are facing today in their relationships.

    People who write and speak on the subject of why women cheat often regurgitate outdated information or intentionally leave out basic information because it’s not politically correct to talk about women’s true sexual nature. However, without these missing pieces of information, it’s impossible to understand, and to subsequently fix, many of the real problems that couples are facing today in their relationships. My story:

    Shortly after my 27th birthday, I began to feel very different. I had been happily married for 4 years and then, suddenly out of nowhere, I began feeling bored and unhappy. In an attempt to figure out what was causing my unhappiness, I looked for answers in books, tried to talk to my mother and eventually went to see a psychologist. All of the information I received attributed the way I was feeling to my husband, and similar to the majority of women, I began to view my husband as the culprit too.

    Currently, women are initiating 70 – 75% of all divorces

    Later, through my own research, I discovered that what I was experiencing was quite normal. In fact, women are the most likely to divorce in their late twenties and thirties after an average of 4 years of marriage. During this time, it’s quite common for women to experience a pre-midlife crisis, which is similar to the male midlife crisis, only with an important difference – a difference that can actually make women more likely to cheat than men.

    The “stages” that women often experience during the course of their long-term relationships

    Several years into my research I was able to identify distinctive patterns and behaviors in the women I interviewed. I categorized these into four separate “stages” that women often experience during the course of their long-term relationships. The stages begin with a loss of sexual desire.

    Stage 1

    Women at Stage 1 feel as though something is missing in their lives. They have all the things that they wanted – a home, a family, a great husband – but they feel they should be happier. Over time, many women in this stage begin to lose interest in sex. It is not uncommon for them to spend a great deal of energy trying to avoid physical contact with their husbands because they fear it might lead to a sexual encounter. They frequently complain of physical ailments to avoid having sex and often try to avoid going to bed at the same time as their husbands. They view sex as a job, not unlike doing the dishes or going to the grocery store. Some women in Stage 1 claim they feel violated when their husbands touch them. Their bodies freeze up and they feel tightness in their chest and/or a sick feeling in their stomach. The majority of women in Stage 1 feel as though there is something wrong with them, that they are in some way defective. They are also fearful that their disinterest in sex will cause their husbands to cheat, or worse yet, leave them.

    Stage 2

    Women at Stage 2 experience reawakened desire stimulated by an encounter outside the marital relationship. Whether these encounters with a “new” man involves sex or remain platonic, women will typically give a tremendous amount of emotional significance to these encounters.

    Many women in this stage haven’t felt any sexual desire for a long time. Many experience tremendous guilt and regret, regardless of whether their new relationships are sexual, merely emotional, or both. Most begin to experience what could be termed an identity crisis – even those who try to put the experience behind them. Constant reminders are everywhere. They feel guilt when the topic of infidelity arises, whether in the media, in conversations with family and friends, or at home with their husbands. Women in this stage can no longer express their prior disdain for infidelity without feeling like a hypocrite. They feel as though they have lost a part of themselves. Reflecting society’s belief that women are either “good” or “bad,” women will question their “good girl” status and feel that they might not be deserving of their husbands. Many will try to overcome feelings of guilt by becoming more attentive toward and appreciative of their husbands. However, over time many women will move from appreciation to justification. In order to justify their continued desire for other men, women will begin to attribute these desires to needs that are not being met in their marriage, or to their husband’s past behavior. Many women will become negative and sarcastic when speaking of their husbands and their marriages and it is not uncommon for an extramarital affair to follow.

  9. Stage 3

    Women at Stage 3 are involved in affairs, ending affairs, or contemplating divorce. Women who are having affairs experience feelings unlike anything they have experienced before. They feel “alive” again and many believe they have found their soul mates. These women are experiencing feelings associated with a chemically altered state, or what is typically referred to as being in love.

    These women are also typically in tremendous pain, the pain of choosing between their husbands and their new love interests. They typically believe that what they are doing is wrong and unfair to their husbands, but yet are unable to end their affairs. Many often try several times. Prior to meeting with their lovers, they will vow that it will be the last time, but they are unable to stick with their decisions.

    Unable to end their extramarital relationships, women at Stage 3 conclude that their lovers are soul mates because they are unaware that they have become addicted to the high caused by chemicals released during the initial stages of a relationship. Many live in a state of limbo for years. “Should I stay married or should I get a divorce?” this is the question continuously on the minds of women at Stage 3 – it is also common for women at this stage to attempt to initiate a separation. In most cases, husbands of women at Stage 3, will launch futile attempts to make their wives happy by being more attentive, spending more time at home and helping out around the house. Regardless of women’s past and present complaints, the last thing women at Stage 3 want, is to spend more time with their husbands.

    The reason many women will give for their desire to separate is a “search for self.” They convince their husbands that they might be able to save their marriage if they can just have time to themselves. They tell their husbands that time apart is the only hope of improving their current situation. Women at this stage want to free themselves of the restrictions of marriage and spend more time with their lovers. Most think that eventually their confusion will disappear. They think they will eventually know with certainty whether they want to stay married or get divorced and be with their lovers. Separation allows women at this stage, to enjoy the high they experience with their lovers without giving up the security of their marriages. Husbands of Stage 3 women are often unaware that their wives are having affairs. Their lack of suspicion is typically due to their wife’s disinterest in sex and in their belief that their wife is a “good girl.”

    Women at Stage 3 may also be experiencing the ending of an extramarital affair, and the ending may not have been their decision. They may have been involved with single men who either lost interest because the relationship could not progress or who became attracted to another women who was single. Women whose affairs are ending often experience extreme grief. They may become deeply depressed and express tremendous anger toward their husbands. They are typically unaware that they are experiencing chemical withdrawal due to sudden changes in their brain chemistry. As a result, many will feel that they have missed their chance at happiness due to their indecisiveness.

    Believing they have become more aware of what they want and need from a mate, women at this stage will often place the utmost importance on finding a “new” relationship that will give them the feeling they experienced in their affairs. A new relationship with a new partner will also represent a clean slate, a chance for these women to regain their “good girl” status. Some women will search for new partners during their separations. Others will return to their marriages, but not emotionally and still continue to search. Some women will resume sporadic sexual relations with their husbands in an effort to safeguard their marriage until they make a decision. Although they are often not sexually attracted to their husbands, desire is temporarily rekindled when they suspect their husbands are unfaithful, are contemplating infidelity, or when their husbands show signs of moving on.

    Stage 4

    The women in stage four included those who chose to stay married and continue their affairs and those who chose to divorce. Some of the women who continued their affairs stated that marital sex was improved by maintaining the extramarital relationship. Some thought the lover was a soul mate, but for one reason or another did not leave their husband and did not feel torn between the two. Others realized that their feelings were intensified by not sharing day-to-day living arrangements with their lover. Almost all of the women in this latter category were having affairs with married men. They believed their affairs could continue indefinitely without disrupting either partner’s primary relationship.

    The women who chose divorce and were in the beginning stages of a new relationship typically expressed relief at having finally made a decision and reported feeling normal again. Many of the divorced women who had remarried and were several years into their new marriages seemed somewhat reluctant to talk about the specifics of their past experiences. However, they did mention feelings of guilt and regret for having hurt their children and ex-spouses only to find themselves experiencing similar feelings in the new relationship.

    Female infidelity will not only continue to be extremely common but it will also continue to be on the rise

  10. “The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.” ~Deepak Chopra

    The end of my marriage was a life-shattering event that rocked my world and made me question my existence. My breakup led to a full existential, spiritual, and personal crisis.
    After putting the pieces back together, I feel like I’m ready to love again. It took me a long time to feel open to another relationship because I was stuck in the past, replaying the story of my former relationship over and over again in my mind.

    I also held a set of disempowering and limiting beliefs that prevented from moving on.

    Some of the sabotaging thoughts that I had to confront included:

    I’m broken.
    I thought a severe heartbreak led to a permanently broken heart. The wounds were so deep and heartbreak so heavy that my ability to love someone else was broken forever.

    No one will ever love me again.
    After my last breakup, I thought I was done. I felt rejected by one person but it felt like that one person represented all women and I wouldn’t find someone else. Ever.

    I have nothing to offer.
    I believed my heart muscle was used up and my capacity to love was depleted. I felt like there was nothing I could give to anyone else because I had given everything I had.

    There must be something wrong with me.
    I believed the harsh comments my ex made about my character, shortcomings, and behavior made me an unworthy person. There must have been something wrong with me because she knew me so well. I’m no innocent bystander here; I said my share of hurtful words and am sorry for them.

    I’ll find the same kind of person again.
    I believed a future relationship would bring more of the same struggle and pain. I’d continue to attract someone like my ex or find myself attracted to someone like that again. Once again, we’d have the same kind of fights and challenges.

    There’s no one out there for me.
    After my last relationship, I came up with a mental checklist of values and traits I wanted in a future partner. I believed the exact person I was looking for likely didn’t exist, and that meant there was no one out there for me.

    I’m a failure.
    I had failed in picking the right partner before and failed in the relationship. And I had failed in a few other things as well. In fact, my beliefs caused me to believe that I was a failure in all parts of my life. And as a failure, I wouldn’t be able to meet anyone new. Who wants to be with a failure?

    Love is too painful.
    After my painful, soul-crushing breakup, I would have preferred to walk through a lion and tiger-filled African safari than get into another relationship. I wanted to play it safe and not take a risk on love again.

    It’s dangerous to be vulnerable.
    In my last relationship I’d put myself out there, revealed almost everything about myself, and placed my heart in another person’s hand. I’d been as vulnerable and open as I could be with my previous partner. But now, after heartbreak, I didn’t want to be open or vulnerable again. I wanted to build large walls to protect my heart so I wouldn’t have to bare my soul again.

    As you can see, I dealt with a full can of worms of negative thoughts and disempowering beliefs.

    If you have similar beliefs because of a breakup, you know that it’s virtually impossible to meet new people and start over again in your love life.

    Here are nine ways to set aside your limiting beliefs and open your heart to a new relationship.

    1. Recognize your limiting beliefs and know that they stem from your past experiences.
    You only believe these things now because of what happened in the past. Beliefs are based on your subjective experience; they can be changed or seen through a different lens.

    2. Remind yourself that the past doesn’t equal the future.
    What happened once can be seen as a teaching experience so you’ll know what to avoid in the future. You are wiser now; your past doesn’t have to repeat itself. You can grow from failure and disappointment.

    3. Challenge every limiting belief you have about relationships.
    When you think a disempowering thought, like “all relationships lead to pain” or “I’ll never find love again,” challenge it. Come up with reasons why those thoughts are not facts.

    If you look around you at friends and family, you’ll find strong relationships that work. Relationships that are filled with commitment, love, kindness, and mutual respect.

    You’ve also likely experienced positive and love-filled relationships in your life. Remind yourself of what’s possible in a loving and wholesome relationship.

    4. Spend less time focusing on your heartbreak and the negative beliefs you’ve developed because of your past.
    Focus more on yourself. Take care of your health by eating better and exercising more. Be more compassionate toward yourself by taking more time off and getting more sleep. Commit to becoming the best version of yourself by working on your confidence, overcoming your fears, and following your dreams.

    Do work that brings you joy, surround yourself with supportive people, and create a zone of positivity around you.

    5. Strive to live more in the present moment by letting go of thoughts about the past.
    When thoughts and feelings about the relationship come up, don’t cling to them. Acknowledge that your mind is pulling you back to the past and wants to drag you through a cycle of pain and sadness.

    Simply acknowledging what your mind is doing will help you be more conscious of its tricky ways. Watch those thoughts pass by like clouds passing in the sky.

    It will help to focus on the task at hand. If you find your mind drifting back to the relationship, just come back to what you were doing before your past popped up.

    6. Look for love all around you.
    What you focus on tends to show up in your life.

    If you look at pain and struggle in the world, you will see more of that. If you search for heartache and loss, you will find that.

    If you keep focused on doing work you love, spending time with people you love, and engaging in activities you love, you will be in a much better place to invite romance into your life.

    7. Become more loving and kind to yourself.
    Become the kind of person you desire to have a relationship with. Work on the qualities that prevent you from being the kind of person you’re capable of.

    In order to become more loving, I had to let go of the ego, anger, and resentment that clouded my life.

    I had to take stock of my life and reflect upon the way I showed up in my relationship. I also had to take responsibility for my shortcomings .

    I realized that I had to reign in my anger, check my controlling behavior, and wash my ego with more love and compassion.

    8. Cultivate more positive views of love.
    Try affirmations, meditations, journaling, and other practices to help you shift your beliefs about love. Interpret events that happen to you through a new framework of love—not the old framework of heartbreak.

    When someone calls you or wants to take you out for dinner, think in terms of the possibilities of a new relationship, not all the things that can go wrong.

    Instead of thinking “here we go again” with new circumstances in your life, remind yourself that you have the opportunity to show up more wisely and with a more open heart.

    9. Find the courage to be open to love again.
    Take small steps to trusting someone, sharing with someone, and opening your heart to someone new. If you’re overwhelmed by the gravity of a new relationship, take it slow and build trust in that person over time.

    I’ve come to learn that relationships can be our greatest spiritual assignments. Even if the worst happens, you’ll be growing and learning as a person.

    A broken heart can lead to an open heart. And an open heart is fertile ground for a stronger and deeper love.

    It’s not too late to set aside your resistance to love and your limiting views of relationships to find the person who’s just right for you.

    Do you have lingering negative beliefs about love? Please share them in the comments below and let me know what you’re doing to work through them.

  11. “What can I do?,” cried Sharon, “I can’t do anything! I don’t even know where to start! I want to save my marriage, but he refuses to even think about it.” And with that, Sharon launched into a discussion that lasted at least 25 minutes, telling me why nothing could be done, why her marriage was a lost cause, and how she was useless. After several attempts to slow down the avalanche of hopelessness, I finally got Sharon’s attention: “Okay, so there is nothing you can do. This is helpless. And your marriage is over. Is that correct?,” I asked. Sharon, looking out through tearful eyes, blurted “Yes! It is useless!”

    “Then why are you here?,” I implored. “You know I work to help people save their marriages. So my guess is you have some hope.” “Hope, no. Maybe wishful thinking,” Sharon replied.

    “Well,” I noted, “your first problem IS your thinking, but it is not particularly wishful. You already have placed limits on yourself. You have very limiting beliefs. And that is your first problem.”

    Sharon had no idea what a limiting belief was, and had less understanding on what it mattered. So I explained.

    What are Limiting Beliefs?
    Below our conscious thinking, we have a built in group of beliefs that actually form and create our thoughts. They are filters that allow us to see the world in certain ways and blind us to seeing the world in other ways. Our built-in beliefs flavor our daily life, our thoughts, and our actions in ways that we are only slightly aware.

    These beliefs can be aspirational or fearful. They can be freeing or restraining. Some beliefs show possibilities and some show limitations. Most are only partially correct or entirely false. Your beliefs about how to save your marriage are usually limiting.

    Our fearful beliefs are powerful, and dangerous, for one important reason: they operate invisibly — at least until we identify and name them. These same beliefs lose their power when daylight is cast upon them. When they can be examined, they evaporate.

    Aspirational beliefs, on the other hand, grow stronger by being seen in the light of day. They begin to move us in stronger and more powerful ways when they are understood and embraced.

    So bringing fearful beliefs into the open destroys them and bringing aspirational beliefs into the open strengthens them.

    Which raises the question of why we don’t bring them into the open more often? First, many people fail to notice these beliefs in operation. Second, we have to poke around a bit in areas that make us fearful.

    But if you want to save your marriage, you need to examine those fearful beliefs and let them go. They do not serve you!

    Think of the limiting beliefs as chains that keep you stuck to the ground, bound to one place. Think of your aspirational beliefs as freeing — cutting the chains to allow you to fly! They allow you to shift to new places and new possibilities.

    Where Do Limiting Beliefs Originate?
    Our limiting beliefs are built over a lifetime. It is a result of what we witnessed with our caretakers, how we were loved and cared for, how our siblings and friends related to us and us to them, and how other relationships in our lives have progressed.

    Here is the interesting thing, and very important to know: Our Aspirational Beliefs and our Limiting Beliefs (fear-based) are mirror images of each other!

    What you most hope for, and what you most fear — mirror images. You may, for example, hope for a loving and caring, well-connected marriage. What you fear, then, is a marriage that is unloving, uncaring and disconnected.

    This next point is equally important: when that Limiting Belief is made conscious and examined, the Aspirational Belief grows and the Limiting Belief dims. It is like the negative side of the mirror steams over and cannot be seen anymore.

    Why Limiting Beliefs Can Stop Your Attempts To Save Your Marriage
    If you want to save your marriage, you need to be much more clear about your limiting beliefs. For example, if your limiting belief is that someone cannot truly love you, you will unconsciously rebuff the attempts of somebody trying to love you. Over time, the other person will tire of trying to prove his/her love. This makes it even harder to save your marriage, as your spouse has become frustrated with the process.

    Or what if you say you want to save your marriage, but you do not believe your marriage can be saved. Your actions to save your marriage will be short-lived. You will take some action to save your marriage, become frustrated, reinforce your belief, and give up on your efforts to save your marriage.

    In other words, your limiting beliefs will sabotage both attaining the marriage you want, then work against your efforts to save your marriage.

  12. 5 Limiting Beliefs That Create Relationship Problems

    Many people are unaware their thoughts create their realities through the Law of Attraction, and this includes the state of their relationships. Relationship problems have a lot to do with our personal beliefs about love and companionship. With this in mind, here are five common limiting beliefs that can create relationship problems. Are you carrying any of these beliefs? If so, I’ve included some ideas on how to let go of them.

    1. Believing love and passion fade over time
    It’s fairly common for people to mention how “love fades” and the “butterflies go away” after being with a partner for a while. However, because our thoughts shape our reality, this limiting belief is the prime reason why love tends to fade. Many of us do not expect lasting love, so we never get it.

    To overcome this limiting belief, why not look for some evidence to the contrary? Chances are you know a few couples who’ve been married or together for decades who still have a great deal of passion. Make it your mission to identify more couples who demonstrate how love and passion can endure the test of time. The more of them you find, the easier it will be for you to believe it is possible to capture (or recapture!) passion and love for a lifetime.

    2. Believing in your partner’s flaws
    Unfortunately, in relationships many of us get into the habit of focusing what our partners do that annoys us. While your partner may have many wonderful habits (like saying “I love you” every day, or listening to you when you are down), you might feel more drawn to focus on the negative traits (like when he leaves the toilet seat up, or when she spends too much money).

    When we focus on what we don’t like we only get more of what we don’t like. This is why focusing on our partner’s flaws causes more relationship problems. The more a wife harps on her husband for leaving the toilet seat up, the more he will continue to do it. The more a boyfriend complains about his girlfriend’s shopping addiction, the more credit card debt she’ll rack up.

    If you want your partner to be more of the person you love and less of the person you complain about, make the choice to focus on your partner’s positive traits as much as you can. Make it your mission to accept your partner’s flaws and steer your attention toward what you appreciate. This way, you will attract more of the things you love about your partner, and the things you dislike will be reduced or even eliminated altogether.

    3. Believing you need your partner
    Some people believe they “need” a relationship in their life. However, it is unlikely a relationship built on need will be as healthy and functional as it can be. This is because when we “need” people we create codependent relationships that are unbearable to step away from. When we build a relationship on need, it’s primarily built on fear, rather than love.

    When we believe we need others, we lose our independence and become crippled by the idea of separation. Instead of being drawn to our partners because we want to be with them, we stay attached because we fear the idea of being apart, and fear is a negative emotion that attracts unwanted things into our realities.

    Another common result that can evolve from needing one’s partner is an abusive or dominant/submissive-type relationship. Many people become trapped in a cycle of abuse or disrespect because their need for the relationship is so deep they cannot let go, even when it’s in their best interest to do so.

    If you can realize you don’t need anyone, you will be much better prepared to find (and keep) a healthy and satisfying relationship. You will be a vibrational match to a partner who wants to be with you, and doesn’t just need a crutch to lean on.

    4. Believing infidelity is inevitable
    If you’d like to have a faithful relationship, it is necessary for you trust your partner will be faithful. There are many men and women out there who believe the opposite sex is chronically unfaithful and untrustworthy. However, if you believe cheating is inevitable, the Law of Attraction will most certainly bring you a partner who cheats on you. What you believe, you receive.

    So if you have “trust issues” it’s again a good idea to look for evidence of what you want to see. Instead of thinking or talking about the ex-boyfriend who cheated on you, or the friend you know who dates married men, brush these people out of your focus. Spend some time looking for evidence of faithful, trustworthy people.

    Although we may never really know what people are doing in their private lives, our perception is the only thing that matters when it comes to the Law of Attraction. Work to create a perception based on trust and fidelity, if this is the reality you want for your own life.

    5. Believing divorce is common
    How often do we hear someone say “50% of marriages end in divorce?” No wonder so many people get divorced! How about instead “50% of couples stay married!” Doesn’t that sound a lot more optimistic and promising? The more we focus on the “epidemic” of divorce, the more we bring ourselves into the vibration of divorce, which is something many people would prefer to avoid. We can choose to look at the married/divorced issue as a glass half-empty or half-full. Choose half-full!

    Obviously there are other negative beliefs.

    When you throw a pebble in a pond, it casts concentric rings. So do all of our actions. When you choose the honorable road, however difficult, you serve all of humanity.

  13. Marriage killer #1: Love is only a feeling
    Falling in love is an intoxicating experience. As a culture, we love the idea of being in love. We promote it in every aspect of our entertainment industry. Being in love, however, has very little to do with what is required to sustain a relationship. Most of us have witnessed a rocket launch at one time or another. According to an aerospace engineer I interviewed, NASA’s space shuttle used solid rocket boosters (SRBs) to get into space. Their solid fuel, once ignited, was extremely powerful, which is necessary to get the rocket booster off the ground. But solid fuel burns up quickly.

    In the takeoff phase of a relationship the emotion of love is like that solid fuel. It burns hot and strong, and contains a lot of power to get you off the launch pad. But once that initial emotion burns up, it’s gone. Unfortunately, people make life-changing decisions while under the influence of this solid fuel: they have sex, move in together, get married, get pregnant and become financially entangled. When there’s no more solid fuel to keep their relationship in orbit, they come crashing back to reality. That’s because it takes more than just solid fuel to sustain a lifelong relationship.

    That’s where liquid fuel comes in to play. Liquid fuel can be regulated and controlled. Though the solid rocket boosters quickly fall away, the shuttle carried a certain amount of liquid fuel to keep it on course. So, too, must a relationship.

    Passion and love play an important role in a successful marriage, but rather than the intensity of solid fuel, this liquid fuel is a slow, steady burn. Couples actively engage in keeping their love tanks filled with liquid fuel by taking time to be with each other apart from the daily routine and stresses of life. They date. They have romantic, intimate time together. They make their relationship a priority, so that they never run out of liquid fuel.

    In other words, a marriage doesn’t last based on the emotional feeling of love—it lasts through the consistent work the couple is willing to put into the relationship.

    A marriage doesn’t last based on the emotional feeling of love—it lasts through the consistent work the couple is willing to put into the relationship.Marriage killer #2: “My needs come first”
    Once the shuttle was outside of the earth’s atmosphere, it experienced no friction. That means there was nothing to slow things down.

    In most relationships, selfishness causes friction. People rarely love unconditionally. Instead they love as long as the relationship is satisfying their needs. In other words, people enter into a marital union but don’t act unified. They put themselves before the priorities of the relationship. Selfishness on the part of one (or both) mates is one of the major causes of divorce.

    Successful marriages require both husband and wife to practice self-sacrifice and selflessness.

    These characteristics do not come naturally to human beings. We generally think of ourselves first (Genesis 4:9; 2 Timothy 3:2). To be happily married and stay that way, we must change our thinking from “how will this impact me?” to “how will this impact us?” Remember, you are one capsule traveling the same path, not two (Genesis 2:24). It takes selflessness to unite with another person to form a successful, unified marriage.

    Marriage killer #3: Love makes everything easy
    After the space shuttle was away from the gravitational pull of the earth, it had to guard against other gravitational forces. Gravity can interfere with the shuttle’s trajectory, causing it to be pulled off course or even to fall out of orbit.

    Couples, too, face gravitational pulls. But problems in the relationship are not a sign that it’s doomed or that they no longer love each other. Rather, problems are inevitable. Successful couples understand that there will be highs and lows throughout their marriage.

    They must share common values to keep them on the right trajectory—values like commitment, trust, fidelity, integrity, loyalty, patience and perseverance. Those values are what keep couples hanging on when their emotions may be saying “we have nothing in common anymore” or “we’re no longer in love.” In fact, facing those pulls together and overcoming them, often strengthens the attachment couples have.

    Are any of these beliefs killing your marriage? It’s never too late to rededicate yourself to building or rebuilding your marriage.

  14. According to marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman, contempt is the single most significant indicator that a marriage is in trouble. Contempt is an attitude of superiority and disgust. It’s harmful to a relationship because it tends to express itself in actions that communicate arrogance: We’re not equals. I’m smarter than you. I’m more sensitive than you. I know what’s best. I’m OK … you’re not OK. You are beneath me! If that’s your mindset, you disregard and dismiss your spouse because you don’t value his or her feelings and thoughts. You’re unwilling to empathize with his or her experience. This makes the marriage feel unsafe for your husband or wife.

    Contempt is also poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust. It’s like eating rotten food. Your nose immediately wrinkles, your lip curls and you spit out the food. No one wants to stay in a marriage when he or she feels rejected and unwanted. When we express contempt — or merely communicate with a spouse while in a contemptuous frame of mind — we can become truly mean and disrespectful. Here are a few of the more common ways of showing contempt for another person:

    Speaking with sarcasm
    Using hostile humor
    Sneering or smirking
    If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this kind of communication, you already know how hurtful and destructive it can be. No wonder Dr. Gottman regards contempt as a kind of marital death knell!

    Confirmation bias
    Contempt is fueled by long-festering negative thoughts about your spouse. When negative beliefs invade your marriage, eventually you stop seeing the positive. At that point, a thing called “confirmation bias” sets in. Confirmation bias is a type of selective perception. It’s a way of subconsciously choosing what you notice about your spouse. When it kicks into gear, you start zeroing in on anything that tends to support your established convictions and beliefs while ignoring everything else. If your perspective is negative, you focus on the negative. You notice what your spouse does that frustrates, hurts or disappoints you. No matter what, you will find what you are looking for — good or bad.

    Antidote for contempt: X-ray vision

    What if I were to tell you that you too can develop an ability to see through obstructions? It’s true. Contempt sees the rough exterior or least-attractive tendencies: moodiness, anger, fear, laziness, a complaining or critical spirit, impatience, withdrawal, etc. On the other hand, X-ray vision sees through the annoying qualities of the spouse in front of you to find the “person of valor” — the positive qualities within.

    The true antidote for contempt is to see the positive — what is true about your spouse. The apostle Paul exhorts us to be aware of QUantum Mechanics- where the observer creates the Universe- in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” You have to choose to focus on the person within instead of dwelling on your husband’s or wife’s rough exterior. When you choose to see the best in your spouse, it’s a powerful gift to him or her.

    I love how Henry Neuman, in his book Modern Youth and Marriage, makes this point:

    Disillusion, of course, enters in time. There are no full-grown perfect beings. Sooner or later the frailties are recognized. But there is in most people a better self which the fallible self hides; and the greatest privilege of the married life is to be the one who assists the other more and more to do justice to that better possibility.

    What a privilege as husband or wife to look beyond the fallible side of your spouse and see his or her “better possibility.” By treating each other with respect rather than contempt, you create opportunities for personal growth that will enhance your marriage relationship.

    The German statesman and writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put it even more succinctly: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

  15. All actions first start as beliefs, so if a person has toxic beliefs and assumptions about how a relationship should be, it will impact relationship quality and a person’s overall happiness. Even if you don’t often talk about what you believe a relationship should be, it’s important to start by thinking about it. Here are some less than useful beliefs about relationships.

    1. Your Partner Should Be Your Best Friend

    Obviously, you should enjoy spending time with your partner, and be able to confide in them. The idea that they need to be your best friend, however, can end up being pretty toxic.

    While it is true that partners should get along well, in many cases people abandon actual, established friends when they get into relationships. It’s actually toxic to turn your romantic partner into your only source of connection and support; the healthier option is to have other close friends in your life, including a ‘best friend’ whom you aren’t attracted to and who will be there if your romantic relationship fizzles. If you don’t realize the importance of outside support, you can be left feeling really alone when your relationship inevitably goes through rough patches. Balancing friendships can help prevent this.

    2. “If You Can’t Handle Me At My Worst, You Don’t Deserve Me At My Best”

    It is important to be patient and empathetic in a relationship, but nobody has to put up with someone whose ‘worst’ is dramatic, abusive, and toxic. If you can’t ‘handle’ your partner at ‘their worst’ it may be because you’re a well-adjusted, mature person who understands you deserve better.

    3. The Idea Of Losing Yourself When You Become Comfortable

    You should be able to settle into comfort with your partner. You would not, however, fall into the toxic notion that a relationship is a pass to forget yourself. Becoming someone’s partner does not mean a full stop on the rest of the aspects of your life.

    4. The Ride Or Die Mentality/Standing By Your Partner No Matter What

    If your partner makes a mistake that you don’t feel you can forgive, that’s perfectly warranted. Any belief that tells you that you need to stay in a relationship can be really toxic. While it is good to stand by your partner when it’s the right and just thing to do, you are under no obligation to stand by your partner if your partner is doing the wrong thing.

    5. The Idea That A Relationship Will Make You Truly Happy

    Being single can be really rough. But life can also be rough when you’re in a relationship. So if you’re going around with the belief that a relationship will solve all your problems, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. Only you can choose to be happy.

    6. Relationships Aren’t Hard Work

    Relationships do actually involve a good amount of effort.

    7. Your Partner Should Know What You Need Without You Having To Say Anything

    Men do not read minds. Women don’t, either.

    8. The Idea Of Not Holding Back On Your Feelings… Ever

    It is not productive to expect your relationship to be completely open, all the time.

    9. You’ll Never Get Bored If They’re Your Soulmate

    While relationships sometimes require work, they also sometimes have periods of dullness. They can sleep, just like you do.

    10. You Need To Take Care Of Your Partner At All Costs

    Be there for your partner. You may even become your partner’s caretaker. Taking care of your partner does not have to be your biggest goal.

    11. Conflict Is Always A Bad Thing

    Dullness is part of being in a long-term relationship. So is conflict. Thesis, antithesis, Synthesis.

    12. There’s A “Perfect” Person Out There

    This is a horrible lie.

  16. So many useful ideas. So little application by people. What would have to happen, so this awareness could be spread far and wide?

  17. You have to dress for the customers, if you want the business.

    Years ago, in college, a guy dressed for a job interview. It was for a good job, for a college student, with money double what I could have made. He showed up in a full pimp suit. He had a white shit over orange pants, a pimp hat, gold chains, and some strange shoes. This will come as a surprise. He didn’t get the job. He said it was because he was black. I’m not so sure the interviewer even got to that.

    I see women seeking out men, with the same kind of logic, and approach. Life is a comedy, it really is.

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