Hazy Shade of Mate:
5 Cognitive Distortions That Can Hurt Your Marriage

I have worn glasses for most of my life, except for a period when I decided it just was not “cool” to wear glasses anymore.  If you have ever worn glasses of any kind, whether prescribed or for pleasure, you know what it’s like to get something on the lenses of your glasses, like a streak, piece of debris, or some other foreign object, for example.  When this happens, it can impede your vision, frustrate or irritate you, or make things look hazy or otherwise appear as something that they are not. Similarly, cognitive distortions can interfere with how our mind’s “eyes” see things.  Cognitive distortions are habitual ways of thinking that are often inaccurate and negatively biased.  These distortions can affect how we view our husband or wife and lead to anxiety, anger, grief, and fear, all of which can adversely impact our marriages.

Below are five common cognitive distortions.  Identify which one(s) you tend to operate in the most.  Once you have identified the distortion(s), you can develop an effective strategy to address it.  I added a Scripture verse to each one to illuminate the truth vs. the falsity of each cognitive distortion.

EMOTIONAL REASONING

Is believing something based on intense feelings, rather than fact – feelings = truth.

Proverbs 19:2

Getting excited about something without knowledge isn’t good. (NIRV)

DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE

Refers to only focusing on the small, negative aspect(s) of a situation and ignoring the positive aspect(s).

Philippians 4:8

In conclusion, my brothers and sisters, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. (GNB)

MIND READING (Full disclosure – this is the one I use with Tracy the most!)

Is when you make assumptions about the thoughts and actions of others without adequate evidence.

Ecclesiastes 10:13

Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness. (NLT)

ALL OR NOTHING THINKING

Is seeing things in black or white extremes only, there is no gray in the middle.

Ecclesiastes 7:18

It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.  Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes. (NIV)

 

CATASTROPHIZING

Means you jump to only the worst possible conclusions, without considering the most likely.

Numbers 14:2-4

Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron.  “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained.  “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder!  Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!” (NLT)

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