Did you know that humans are psychologically predisposed to notice and dwell on problems instead of solutions?
How does that play into divorce?
This phenomenon is explored in Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. The Heath brothers wrote this book to give people a user-friendly paradigm for changing habits and dynamics between people and within organizations.
The book discusses research indicating that humans are more attuned to negative than positive experiences in almost every area that has been studied.
They suggest that the best way to overcome this challenge is to look for the “bright spots”. Bright spots are places or times when things went well. The skill is to not focus on the times that things went poorly, but to focus on the times when things went well.
It is, in essence, the difference between learning what to do, instead of what not to do.
Why would a divorce attorney care and what good would it do for you?
I spend a lot of time helping clients learn to change unhealthy dynamics with their spouse and sometimes even their kids. We have to help them resolve issues that have likely been causing argument for years, and may have even led to the divorce itself: Parenting differences, money differences, communication problems, etc…
But, even in really difficult cases, the spouses are able to have calm, respectful, productive conversations about something. Those conversations are the bright spots for families in a divorce.
So, the key is to look at those good conversations and figure out what goes right in them. Then, we can try to duplicate the things that make those conversations go well.
All too often, attorneys and clients focus on the problems. In my experience, that doesn’t get you very far.
It’s the focus on what’s working (no matter how small or how hard you have to look) that really helps.
If you are facing a divorce, and conflict between you and your spouse is a problem, then try to find a bright spot. Find a conversation or topic that you don’t fight about. Figure out why that conversation went well. Then try to duplicate that in your next difficult conversation.
In divorce, finding the bright spots will help pull you toward the positive changes that you both want to see in your lives.