As I move around in the world, I see people talking on their cell phones.
At least one half of the conversation I do not hear, but I often see the effect of what is said on the person in my vision.
Many times, things get heated, and I see people contract, tense up and go into a version of the fight-or-flight reflex in reaction to what is said to them. Most of the time, it seems that people don’t have any choice in how they react because they are locked in to their habitual responses. If he gets a certain stimuli, say the wife yelling at him, he goes into fight-or-flight.
Living in reaction sucks. Living in response is great.
You think you have a stressful job? There are probably people in the world with the same job as you who are not stressed by it. How are they able to respond to their work in a more helpful way? There’s something in how they think about their job that allows them to avoid unnecessary muscular tension. They have a helpful construct.
So too with relationships. Is your marriage getting you down? Well, there are probably people in far more difficult circumstances than you are in who do not react as tensely you do. They’re able to be calm and considered. What helpful thought construct do they have going that you do not?