Focus on the Family

Turning Your Marriage Around

by Mitch Temple

"Attitudes Don't Really Count"

"Remember that whatever you do in life, ninety percent of it is half mental." Yogi Berra1

In November of the tenth year of our marriage, Rhonda and I were discussing a sensitive issue that comes up every year: where we were going to spend Christmas.

By this time in our marriage, we knew which topics created sparks, and this was one of them. As a result, we were both armed for battle.

Rhonda responded to a statement I'd made by saying, "Now you've got an attitude. Stop talking to me like I'm a child! You're being very condescending."

Without really thinking, I snapped back, "Hey! This has nothing to do with my attitude! Don't play that card! We went to your folks' for Thanksgiving, so we're going to mine for Christmas!"

We didn't know that our then five-year-old daughter, Hannah, was in the living room watching TV and listening to our conversation. Suddenly, her tiny voice rang out, "Whoa! Whoa! Hold it right there, Dad! Barney just said that attitude is the most important thing in life."

Hannah had a point. So did Barney.

Attitudes and the thoughts that form them are important, especially in marriage. You can attend every marriage conference available and read every book on romantic love out there, but if your marriage is based on destructive attitudes, it's likely that nothing will help.


1Yogi Berra, The Yogi Book: I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said (New York: Workman, 1998), 123.