What would you say the attitude of your relationship is? Is it one with a constant negative vibe? May be you feel like you’re the one making all the sacrifices. May be you feel like you are more vested in the relationship. Well how about this, what if your attitude and beliefs about what marriage should be have nothing to do with what you are experiencing right now.
What if your issue with a characteristic of your spouse is only an issue because you were raised to believe that it is an issue? Maybe mom could not get past this thing about dad, or dad had an attitude about this “little” thing that mom does. Now, it bothers you and creates stress in your marriage.
The attitude and belief you perceive to be right about what a marriage should look like sets the tone for how you will perceive your spouse’s little characteristics. Maybe it’s the marriage you grew up watching or maybe its list of times that you have been burned that influences your attitude toward marriage.
Attitudes can influence behaviors in two different ways: (1) they can trigger consistent behaviors directly, with little intervening thought; and (2) they can influence behaviors after extensive and deliberate consideration or processing, through the formulation of intentions. Attitudes guide behavior without much thought.
When people have well-established attitudes about certain attitude objects, they also have evaluative summaries of that attitude object (e.g., how much they like it or dislike it), which make it easier to decide what to do, and are therefore very likely to guide behavior directly.
Attitudes can be bias or even change people's perceptions of attitude objects, because they focus attention on some particular characteristics of an object (and away from others) that are consistent with those attitudes (e.g., a favorable attitude makes positive qualities more noticeable; a negative attitude makes negative attributes more noticeable).
People often don't see that attitude objects have changed because of their attitudes. This bias process increases the likelihood that people's behavior will be consistent with their attitude in a straightforward way; people respond to object qualities most obvious to them, and behave in attitude-consistent ways.
Attitudes guide behavior through considered intentions. When people deliberately try to make their behavior consistent with their attitude, they put a lot of effort and consideration into forming intentions to act in a particular way in order to achieve a goal. This process takes place through four steps.
Step 1: Forming of intentions. Intentions are the single most important predictor of actual behavior once they are in place; according to the theory of reasoned action, attitudes and social norms are an important source of intentions, which can then guide behavior. Getting people to form intentions powerfully increases the chance that behaviors will be performed. A lot of people get married solely on what their intentions are for how they plan to treat their new spouse.
Step 2: Activation of behavioral information. Intentions help attitudes translate into behavior by bringing to mind everything one knows about performing that behavior. The kind of information that is brought to mind is determined by the level at which one thinks. Forming specific intentions brings specific behavioral options to mind that help to achieve the behavioral goal; broad intentions allow flexibility to adopt alternative plans.
Step 3: Planning. The optimal way of carrying out the intended behavior is selected. Step 4: The intended behavior is carried out if an opportunity presents itself. People also monitor their behavior against their intentions, to ensure that the gap between the present and the desired state is being reduced. Attitudes do influence action and how you approach your marriage.
If attitudes are to guide actions, they must be readily accessible and appropriate to the intended behavior. Attitudes can be made accessible through deliberate thought, self-awareness and frequent use. Now, my question for you is, how’s your marital attitude? Whatever attitude and behavior you utilize most easily, good or bad, is the one that is exhibited outwardly first, almost like a habit. Making a conscience effort to think things through, before you speak, is vital.