Respect Dare Eleven … Whatever You Pay Attention To Grows…

From today’s dare…

As she walked from the workshop to the house, she remembered several weeks ago, when she asked for his help and he completely ignored her, not even answering.

Is your marriage in a state where one of you ignores the other?

Understand that choosing to not respond to someone when s/he asks you a question is a negative response, even if you’d like to justify it as “no response,” it’s a negative experience for the other.

No one likes to be ignored.

In an effort to change the number of positives to negatives from whatever it might be now to Gottman’s well-researched “happy relationship” ratio of

5 : 1

…we need to address another concept Dr. Gottman reveals in his work, that of…


What occurs in Dare Eleven today, the wife’s initial reaction of fuming irritation, is fed by prior negative experiences with her husband.

At some point in relationships, we need to assess what kind of sentiment we’re steeped in – because it makes a difference.

whatever we pay attention to grows kids

Dating and engaged couples often make poor choices in a mate based on POSITIVE sentiment over-ride. They view rudeness, a lack of consideration, even abuse, and both small and large value differences in the most positive light possible, extending grace like crazy because their overall perception is extremely positive.

That’s just ONE reason why if you are dating or engaged, you should seriously ask your family for their feedback about the person you might marry – they’re not drowning in hormones or positive sentiment. They can see the forest for the trees.

Couples who have been married for more than three years often begin to experience NEGATIVE sentiments. It used to be seven years, but recent research suggests that as early as three years into a marriage, too many couples begin wondering if they made the right choice in a husband or wife and discontent starts to grow.

Couples who have had children and become empty nesters see a spike in their discontent during those two stages as well.

What is interesting is that the truth becomes irrelevant – the state of the relationship is defined by the SENTIMENTS. 

So what do you do if you’re in trouble? If your husband (or you) is defensive much of the time, and/or you or s/he has become critical and negative?

Gottman’s research shows that those couples who change the quality of their friendship impact the relationship sentiment – you can’t just “increase positive sentiment” by choosing to be more positive yourself – you have to directly impact the friendship element in your marriage for that to occur. I’m guessing this might also apply to parenting and sibling relationships.

create positive interactions today

*TIP ALERT: I’ve also seen combining the above friendship enhancement with “I-statements” instead of choosing to ignore hurts plays a HUGE factor in helping your spouse turn his or her negative sentiment around. I’ll write more about that this week.

The danger occurs when we stop searching for what’s true, and instead, we negatively interpret our husband or wife’s motives with the most negative perception possible, like the gal in Dare Eleven did.  It is the lack of benefit of the doubt, the lack of grace, the infiltration of the enemy, that starts skewing our perception of reality.

Instead of asking ourselves, “What’s true?” AND paying attention to the positives, like our wife in today’s story wisely does, negative sentiment over-ride often creeps in and we STOP our thinking at the negative initial selfish feelings we have over feeling slighted.

None of this is to say we should sign up for being taken advantage of, or being treated like a doormat. Speaking truth into her husband’s life, this wise wife first saw what was actually TRUE (fighting against negative sentiment over-ride) then gently, kindly, and smartly got what she needed, and did not CREATE more damage in the relationship.

Because that’s how the cycle works – we begin the spin – perceive a negative, then dish a negative.

We also miss an opportunity to help others respect us when we lose control and emotionally vomit all over them – which is what the enemy would have us do.

Sometimes reviewers say I’m encouraging women to be doormats – this story is one of many examples of how women of strength and dignity are worthy of respect, smart, and self-controlled, and can get a good result if they will follow God’s Word in how they think and act.

Phillippians 4:8

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

I hope you can see very clearly the potential for the destruction that could have occurred in today’s dare had the wife responded in a negative way.

How are you doing in this department? Where are your relationships right now? I confess, I have one relationship where I’m seriously struggling with negative sentiment over-ride – on both sides. It helped derail me last week, so please know I understand the difficulties involved.

And what am I doing about it?

As for me, I had a conversation with this family member. I let him know what was going on, and that I was sorry for contributing to the problem. We talked through options for both of us.

It was awesome.

It’s not fully better yet, but it’s getting there. And he’s working on it too, which helps.

A lot.

I encourage you to do the same.  You know this is nothing new, if you’ve been here for a while. It’s making a difference for me, and it’s helping me continue moving forward.

I hope you are subscribed to the blog and journeying with us. We don’t do things perfectly, and sometimes we stumble, but you are welcome to learn along with us.

And before I forget, THANK YOU for the prayers last week – we still need them. For the next 13 weeks, we seriously need them daily as we work toward finishing Daughters of Sarah for video distribution.

I’m so thankful you are on the journey with us.  We NEED you. 🙂 We really truly need your prayers as we work hard through the bazillion details to finish this leg of our journey strong.

Meditation and relaxation on an empty road

And whatever you do, please join me in this: don’t give up. In the words of Zig Ziglar, “Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly until you can get it right.”

If you are parenting small people, you should totally follow Leah and Debbie if you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings. Like us on Facebook so you can know when Daughters of Sarah becomes available in video format this year, or schedule one of our weekend retreats. I’m also active on Twitter as @NinaRoesner.  Come join the discussions!

Love to you,


titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

7 thoughts on “Respect Dare Eleven … Whatever You Pay Attention To Grows…

  1. Nina, I have to tell you that I have read this post over and over again – really wanting it to sink into my heart and mind. God has made you a fabulous coach! What cheering must be going on in heaven – thank you for saying “yes” to this coaching job – if you could see how I run to your book and your blog – digging for instruction and encouragement to keep going – thank you, Nina. All for God’s glory!

    • Renee –

      Thank you so much for this. 🙂

      And any good you see is all Him. 🙂

      Love to you,

  2. I am currently on Dare 6 of the book (and feel like I’m falling on my face during each dare), so this is jumping slightly ahead for me. This post defines where I am currently so well, and I had no idea how to comprehend the sentiment override until reading this. My husband is in very early addiction recovery, and it feels even worse to me than his active use. I can’t say that I feel able to change my attitude yet. I’m praying about it a lot, but it feels like a HUGE mountain. But knowing what this sentiment override is and how to identify it makes me feel a little more hopeful. And that Zig Ziglar quote is just the encouragement that I needed because I am doing my marriage pretty poorly now, but maybe I will improve with practice. Thank you, Nina!

  3. Having ahard time with this… SOOOO much negetive has crept into my relationship that I find it hard to breath sometimes. I look for things to prove that I am still being lied to or deceived. I don’t want to look, but everytime I do, I seem to find another piece that was not spoken in love in truth to me.
    I don’t think its too much to ask that I get what I have been asked to give.

    • STAY TUNED. Will be addressing this very thing, Tiff.

      SO very glad you brought it up!!

      But you need to STOP looking for the negatives. The deceiver is manipulating you, getting you to seek out the problems, and where you seek, you will find, regardless of what you are looking for. 🙂 We are not guaranteed to receive anything, btw, but rather called to love – and to be respectful in our relationship with ourselves, as well as others. 🙂 Can’t wait to write about this! 🙂
      Love to you,

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