I have repeatedly argued in different forums that what self-awareness will do for you in a relationship, prayer alone (without hearing or heeding instructions from prayer) will not do it.
Whether at work or at home, we must consistently practice the habit of seeing how our outlook on life is coloured by the moods that we are in.
This is the reason many psychologists advise us not to make serious decisions in low moods.
In my small life in business, I have seen people I consider generals in business momentarily want to throw in the towel in low moods.
These same people become lions just a day after when they are in good moods. You see, in high moods, we are full of energy, resourceful, inspired and curious.
In low moods, we are judgemental, irritable, worried and victimized.
In the Bible we read of the prophet Elijah; in his high mood, he boasted of what God could do and destroyed the prophets of Baal, but just a few days on, he was in a very low mood, on the run from Jezebel, he loathed his life and asked God to kill him saying that he was worse off than his fathers who did not come close to his experience with God.
We must learn how to manage ourselves. A lot of people do not know how to manage themselves.
Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy’s article in the Harvard Business Review “Manage your Energy, not your time” is a good place to start from.
If energy is defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from four main wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit, writes the authors.
You cannot consistently float in low mood and expect to have a good relationship, whether work or marital.
Personally, I am convinced that the starting point for any successful relationship is self-awareness or self-regulation/control.
If you don’t know you, it is futile trying to know me. You can only love your neighbour as yourself.
Why does mood matter in our personal and business lives? ‘Your thinking determines your moods, creates your own reality and drives your behaviours.’
Back to our incompatibility question, George Pransky has this to say. “Complimentary and incompatible are two conclusions about the same situation, two sides of the same coin.
When differences are viewed with respect, partners are viewed as complimentary. The same differences viewed from a feeling of discontent, will make the partners seem incompatible.
It is the feeling that makes the difference. Respect and affinity are the feelings that turn the personality differences into assets in a relationship.
These feelings allow one person to learn from another.
For example, lets say an outgoing woman is married to a quiet, reserved man.
With an understanding of how we experience life from the inside out that couple will learn from each other rather than attempt to remake the other in his or her image.
It is always humbling to realize that today’s incompatibility was yesterday’s “refreshing difference”.
The two perspective are just one thought away.
We all have mental images or software of what we want in a marriage.
Unknown to us, when we are both talking of marital fulfilment we have different meanings – thanks to separate realities of what fulfilment really means.
In high moods, the differences in expectations do not carry much weight; but in low moods these differences become HUGE.
There is no such thing as incompatibility in a marriage. Incompatibility is a thought, a way we decided to process our thinking especially in low moods.
It is noteworthy that what is labelled incompatible in one marriage is the source of strength in another marriage.
Remember that our feelings follow our thinking.
If we THINK of a particular trait to mean incompatibility, we immediately begin to feel the thoughts and all manner of behaviours can emanate from that thought, which if unchecked can lead to divorce.
To be continued…
Series by Tunde Ekpekurede