Looking for Weeds and Noticing Your Green Grass

When you are attracted to another, you can do two things to protect yourself if you understand that your perception is biased.

First, think seriously about what's not right with the alternative. One obvious point is that you are not married to the person. Also, you, your mate, your children, and others would feel pain — and probably great loss — if you did not make the right choice.

You can also look for more specific negatives about the person. Perhaps he or she doesn't share your views on important issues such as faith, child rearing and lifestyle. Perhaps the other person doesn't handle money well or hasn't been responsible in his or her marriage. You don't have to demean the person, but finding the negatives will help you gain an accurate perspective and move toward appreciating what you have.

The second strategy is to think about your mate's positives and the positives in your marriage. Consider more carefully the good parts of your lawn. Very likely you and your mate have many good things together, but you may have lost track of them if your marriage has been neglected. You may want to pull out old photos and other memorabilia to help you remember what was, and likely still is, good. If you are at a low point in your marriage, be extra careful not to give in to the tendency to rewrite history and convince yourself that the positives were never there in the first place.

By using the two strategies, Cindy started to fight back against the thoughts about greener grass. Her dedication gave rise to her will to fight.

From The Power of Commitment: A Guide to Active, Lifelong Love, published by Jossey-Bass. Copyright © 2005, Scott M. Stanley. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

Next in this Series: Understanding Biased Perceptions