AKA, a frequent commenter here, responded to this post with a great question ….
Do you do +1 as well as -1?
I’m really glad he asked this, because so often, when the marriage is struggling, we tend to only see the negative stuff. There are dozens of positive interactions that go unnoticed and unremarked as the negative interactions assume gargantuan proportions.
Here’s a sample chart of negative and positive interactions based on real life examples from various women with whom I’ve spoken.
|DATE||PLUS +1||NEGATIVE -1|
|Sunday||Sleeping in until 11am.|
|Being grumpy all day.|
|Not initiating -5000|
|Monday||Showing concern that I had left the bed and slept on the sofa||Not initiating -5000|
|Tuesday||Saying that I couldn’t sleep on the sofa anymore||Ignoring my text messages.|
|Taking charge this morning and providing comfort +500||Not initiating -5000|
|Wednesday||Initiating strongly even though we were feeling disconnected. +500||Choosing to play a video game rather than spend time with me.|
|Thursday||Bringing me coffee.|
|Helping me fix my computer.|
|Taking my clothes off when I got in bed. . +100|
|Friday||Texting me with sexy messages.|
|Saturday||Asking me out for a date night.||Not telling me I look pretty.|
|Telling fun stories at the restaurant.||Ogling the waitress and ignoring me at the restaurant.|
One thing CaptR and I found helpful was to put a number beside the interactions that had impacted us in a stronger way. This really helped us identify the things correlated to our specific red/yellow/green areas as outlined in the Mindful Attraction Plan. Basically, if you’ve got an item on the chart with a -5000, that’s a Critical Moment of Neglect* and you’re doing extensive damage to your marriage by not correcting those incidents immediately.
“Sometimes you just really screw up and it creates a moment of such negative emotion that it wounds your partner. Stuff like you didn’t come to the birth of your kid. His best friend died and you went shopping for shoes. Anyone hitting anyone for any reason. Any cheating (no matter how long ago). Public humiliation. Anything that would appear to an outside observer to be completely out of line. Likewise extreme long term ignoring – whether that’s by video game addiction, long hours at work, or endless travel.
The solution is to apologize and be genuine about it. Often the initial problem stems from a lack of positive relationship attention, so whatever that lack was, you have to supply it now.”
Over time, as you increase your +1’s and decrease your -1’s, your overall relationship momentum will improve. This tool will help you gauge your progress toward that goal.