Taming Your Projection Mindset To Save Your Marriage
Our thoughts about our spouse and marriage greatly affect our happiness and perception of what kind of marriage we believe we have. But what if our perceptions are false? How do they shape our relationship with our spouse?
We must guard against a projection mindset in marriage because it can harm our relationship with our spouse.
Projection, according to Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed, LCSW, refers to unconsciously taking unwanted emotions or traits you don’t like about yourself and attributing them to someone else. She gives the common example of a cheating spouse who suspects their partner is being unfaithful. Instead of acknowledging their infidelity, they transfer or project this behavior onto their partner.
Can you see how easy it could be to believe that certain things about your spouse aren’t accurate or true? Projection is dangerous because it shapes your perceptions.
Imagine someone who had a traumatic relationship in the past who, when triggered by their current partner by something that’s said or done innocently, projects their former partner’s abusive behavior and intentions onto their current spouse. They’re convinced that what they see in their spouse is absolutely true when what they’re really seeing is a projection from the past, a ghost if you will.
Or, imagine a spouse who, for whatever reason or past experiences, believes they are unwanted, unworthy, and unloveable, projecting those beliefs onto their partner, thinking their partner feels that they don’t want them and are unloveable.
Whether false or true, thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions shape marriage. And it all begins with mindset.
A Right Mindset Creates A Relationship That Feels Right
Projecting an inaccurate, incorrect mindset onto your spouse makes you feel like everything is wrong with your marriage; you reach the point where you don’t feel wanted or loved.
You either give up hope little by little and start letting go, or you start holding on tighter and tighter because you’re afraid they’ll leave, so you become a needy partner who suffocates the relationship.
Before long, you’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy that starts coming true because you and your spouse start drifting apart; the inaccurate mindset you’re projecting onto your spouse is driving you apart.
Of course, that’s not what any spouse wants to happen, but as they deprive themselves of the good things in their marriage, they withdraw from the relationship and shut down, all because of a situation they imagined that doesn’t exist. And little by little, they feel increasingly more lonely and empty.
A healthy marriage strives to know the truth about the actual status of the relationship so the spouses can have positive thoughts and beliefs about each other.
Here are some tips for having a mindset that takes your relationship in a good direction so you can unlock your best marriage.
Never EVER Assume
Making assumptions will dig a grave for your marriage.
Assuming is a lethal mindset. Assumptions take you to sad, dark, and hopeless places.
Assumptions are poison.
Suppose in a previous relationship, a spouse’s partner secretly sent emails and was involved in relationships outside the marriage, which led to the marriage ending. But the spouse who was cheated on eventually remarries, and when they see their spouse quietly checking their email, they assume they’re engaging in the same behavior as their previous partner and start questioning or making accusations when all it was work-related emails, nothing else.
Making assumptions poisons a marriage.
Not all men/women are the same. Be careful about projecting the shortcomings, wrongs, and flaws of a previous partner onto your current spouse.
Jumping to conclusions will drive your spouse away and end your marriage.
Stay In the Present, and BE Fully Present
Reliving the past, or obsessing over the future, isn’t healthy or good.
Some people are stuck in the past, reliving the pain and trauma, and all it does is hurt their current relationship and prevent wounds from healing. There’s no growth, no progress.
And then others live in the future with everything planned out, controlling every detail of their lives so as not to get hurt again. Their behavior stifles and stunts their current relationship.
The past is a great teacher but a horrible companion. Learn from your past; don’t live there. Take responsibility for your wrongs to grow and become a better version of yourself – and then bring this new and improved self into your next relationship or marriage, so you don’t repeat the pain of the past.
And it’s good to plan and prepare for the future based on the lessons learned from a place of growth and not fear; fear limits and restricts and keeps one’s heart half shut.
We must take charge of our lives without letting the past control the present or future.
This moment is all we have. So we must dwell in the now, letting wisdom and vision guide our lives, making decisions based on courage and love instead of fear and insecurity.
Always Be Grateful Even If It’s A Struggle
Being grateful is one of the best ways to project the right mindset.
Being optimistic and focusing on the positive traits of your partner and the beautiful qualities of your marriage projects grace and positivity, saving you from seeing things that aren’t there and protecting your marriage from unwarranted suspicion.
Find something today for which to be thankful for your spouse and marriage; it’s healthy for your mind and the relationship.
Projecting a healthy mindset is easier when you and your partner help each other guide the marriage in the direction you want your marriage to go. Always being grateful and never making assumptions are two key habits to keep your relationship on track, starting with your thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions about each other and your relationship, helping you to unlock your best (and happiest) marriage!