Arguments. When two people live together, they are bound to happen from time to time. We had an argument a few weeks ago that lasted nearly 3 days. Yep. That bad.
The somewhat little issues that the argument started out about became simple background noise to what the argument grew into. That’s the way arguments can spiral into something so much bigger than the real issues at hand. It becomes more about the reactions, and the things we say to each other than about whatever incident the argument started out about. The negative thoughts start and they set off a chain reaction and the next thing you know things are being said like, ” I don’t know if we can ever really be happy.”
“All we do is argue.”,
“you never do (fill in the blank) or you always (fill in the blank).”,
“maybe we can’t make this work.”
Can’t. Won’t. Shouldn’t. Frustrated. Mad. Sad. Angry. Scared. Broken.Backwards. Not making progress.
Even the word, Divorce.
All these negative words.
And suddenly I hear it. I really hear it.
And I say, “wait, do you hear what we are saying to each other? What are we saying to each other? Why are we saying these things? None of them are true.
NONE OF THEM ARE TRUE!
We are good. What we have is good. This incident or that incident doesn’t define who we are or where our relationship stands.
Look at how far we’ve come. We are a vast distance from where we started. There is progress.
We do love each other. We do value each other. We do appreciate the effort the other makes. We can do this. We HAVE done this. We are in a better place in our lives in every way. Relationally . Spiritually. Financially. Our lives are blessed and full.
That’s the truth.
We had a bad day. That’s all. But we let the negative thoughts find a place in our minds to stick and then they spread like a wildfire. Planting lies as they spread. Planting seeds of insecurity and doubt and filling our heads with so much smoke that the darkness started blocking out the light.
It can happen that easily, and it can happen that fast. Just a couple of negative thoughts can quickly trick your mind into believing that all the goodness is gone.
So you can’t let it.
Because it’s lies.
It’s ALL lies.
The goodness didn’t go anywhere. You just chose to look at something else. And by looking at that one little bad thing, it changed the way you were able to see everything else. It’s like putting a filter on a photograph. It can change the way you perceive things. It can take a bright, vibrant photo, and make it appear dark and dreary. Even though the colorful, happy image is still there, suddenly the only things you can see is the darkness and all the vast goodness that filled the image blurs into the background and becomes small in the shadow of this filter of negativity.
So be careful.
Arguments are going to happen.
But listen carefully to the thoughts. Listen carefully to the words you are speaking from those thoughts. Then hold them up to the light of truth.
Are they true? Or have you allowed the negative thoughts to spiral and distort the truth?
The lie that Jeff’s negative thoughts turned into:
“We are right back where we started, and no matter what we do or how hard I try we will always end up back there.”
We are nowhere near where we started. Not even close. And we grow and move even further forward with every single setback.
The lie my negative thoughts turned into:
“He’s not really sorry. He doesn’t really value me. He can’t handle the time and the patience it takes to get through this process, and I’m just not worth it to him.”
He is sorry. Beyond sorry. He shows me he values me every single day. He’s human and this process is frustrating. For him and for me. But he’s still here. Because I am worth it to him.
We had a bad day. When it comes down to it. That’s all it is. Just a bad day. They happen.
The important thing we all have to learn is to not let that bad day become our undoing.
Deal with whatever issue is at hand without letting the negative thoughts make it something much bigger.
And once the issue has been acknowledged, remind yourself of the good stuff. Remind yourself of the truth.
You have to pay attention, and you have to learn to recognize those negative thoughts for what they truly are. Lies.
The truth is the goodness all around you. Live in that.
Amy Thurston Gordy