Apr 25

5/10 Guest post – Relationship Problems? Try Dwelling on the Positive

We have added a Guest post in our blog on the early years of a relationship.  This article was posted by Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT• August 11th, 2011


couple5Do you and your partner ever dwell on the positive in your relationship? Maybe you should.

It’s really easy to dwell on the negative in our personal lives and relationships. The brain is wired to have a negativity bias. In other words, it is more reactive to negative stimuli. This being the case, it’s clear how this is one reason couples can get stuck in a negative loop together, quick to call out all the hurts, wrongs, imperfections and failures of each other in a very reactionary way.

As a relationship therapist, I often see this “negativity bias” in full swing when couples come to see me for help. After hearing their concerns of all the things going wrong and the changes they would like to make, I always make time to explore what’s going right to assist them in accessing the positives in their relationship. If they struggle to find anything currently positive, I ask questions about what brought them together initially. I want us to spend a little time dwelling on the positive to help create a more balanced perspective of what their relationship really looks like.

If you’re having relationship problems, simply being aware of the human tendency to go to the negative provides you an opportunity to do something different. You and your partner can work hard to push back a little on the negativity bias and focus on some of the positive things about each other, even little things that were done by each of you on a daily basis that might be overlooked. This is a great place for appreciation and gratitude to be woven in to your relationship as well.

  • Tip Commit to a few minutes a day discussing anything you can think of that’s going well together. It might be something you really love about each other or a behavior done that had meaning.

Spend some time dwelling on the positive. If your relationship is worth working on, this just might be the reminder you need to stay the course together.

You can find more tips and tools for creating a better relationship including how to assess the emotional safety in your own, practice active listening and other worksheets in The Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples – and The Marriage Refresher Course Workbook for Couples.


Thanks Lisa Brookes Kift, for sharing your insight into one of the most common Relationship issues.  She is the author of The Toolbox at www.LisaKiftTherapy.com, one of the original therapist-created resource websites. She is a frequent consultant for the media and has been interviewed, quoted or has appeared in numerous publications and online news sources including CNN.com, HuffingtonPost.com and Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine. Lisa has an individual and couples therapy practice in Larkspur, Marin County, CA. See more relationship tips and tools by Lisa.

Want to stay connected to The Toolbox? Here are a few ways:

We hope you have enjoyed the comments and insights Lisa brings to her work as a therapist.

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author



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