Love is in the air, and it has arrived at A Thrifty Mom Site! Are you ready for 7 days of lovin’? Alison, our Falling in Love with your Family contributor, is sharing 7 days of romance, skill-building, and fun to get you ready for Valentine’s Day and give your marriage a boost. You can work on the challenges together, or you can try it out without letting your spouse know it’s anything but a burst of love from you. If you accept the 7-day challenge and leave a comment about how it went on the last day (February 15), you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $25 movie card. Are you ready for 7 Days of Valentines?
Day 4: Don’t Miss the Gorilla (?!)
Research in other areas often has great insights for married life. The famous “Invisible Gorilla Studies” show how, when a test group is looking for one thing, such as how many times a basketball is passed, they often miss other things, even if it’s a gorilla parading through the game! Similarly, another study showed that 83% of Radiologists looking for cancer on slides of lungs don’t see a small gorilla shaking his fist in the corner of the image. The researchers explain:
This wasn’t because the eyes of the radiologists didn’t happen to fall on the large, angry gorilla. Instead, the problem was in the way their brains had framed what they were doing. They were looking for cancer nodules, not gorillas, so “they look right at it, but because they’re not looking for a gorilla, they don’t see that it’s a gorilla.”
In other words, what we’re thinking about — what we’re focused on — filters the world around us so aggressively that it literally shapes what we see.
Wow! This principle of “inattentional blindness” just might be the basis for much of the unhappiness in married life. When we are stuck in patterns of criticism and fault-finding with our sweetheart, we program our brains to look for more of the same. But, when we consciously look for positive behaviors or characteristics, they miraculously appear! I’m not talking about abusive patterns here; no amount of positive thinking can excuse violence. But for most of us, the regular, day-to-day annoyances too often hijack our happiness by diverting our attention from all the good in our spouse.
So for today, “Don’t Miss the Gorilla!” Focus on the positive things your spouse does. Did he swing a child around when he came home from work? Did she say something really funny at dinner? Did he water the plants? Do you like her toes? Write down 3 positive things you noticed today. If you make this a habit, you may just find that you can shape what you see by what you look for.