Yesterday I suggested thinking more and reacting less. However, if you are like I am, maybe you need to think less. In Do You Fall Into the Trap of Overthinking?, Gretchen Rubin talks about “the tension between constructive attempts at greater self-knowledge and pointless rumination“. I think this is even more common with marriage situations than it is in our individual lives. When we are dealing with marriage we don’t have all the information (even if she is trying to communicate what she thinks, feels, and needs, she won’t do it perfectly) and we don’t have power over much of the situation. Lacking both information and power, too much thinking can easily result in a mental death spiral.
My personal version of this was a mental chess game where I decided my “next move” and then tried to imagine all the possible moves she would make in response to my move. Then I worked out my replies to all of her possible moves, and what she could do after that, and on and on. That’s an excessive amount of thought about things that would never happen, and I had anxiety about things she might do that she never did. It wasn’t even remotely helpful – in fact, I see now that it just made things worse.
Are you thinking too much about the problems in your marriage? Are you thinking too far ahead? Maybe less thinking would be a good thing.
ByTheWay: A Grown Up Marriage had a nice thought on my last post. See What Do You Really Want…
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