Life Outlook And Relationship Success

by Tim Connor

Some people are naturally optimistic and positive, while others are the opposite. When two people in a relationship have opposing life outlooks, it is often difficult for one to convince the other that his way is better, right, or makes more sense then his partner’s. As a result, the positive person will always see the glass as half full and will take that attitude into most life circumstances. The more negative partner will view the glass as half empty and let that influence his attitudes accordingly.

Hundreds of years of research just about confirms that optimistic people get sick less and live longer than pessimistic people. Over fifty years ago, Dr. Lionel Tiger wrote a book called Optimism, The Biology of Hope. The book is now out of print, but in it he states that the ability to laugh, smile, and see life more optimistically, positively affects your health thus the quality of your relationships. Since then, numerous physicians and psychologists have confirmed that the mind has a dramatic influence over the body and its physiology.

If one of you is positive and the other negative, how did you get that way? According to research, there are two things that influence attitudes and life outcomes: your genes and your environment.

No one can agree on which is the most important. However, I personally believe that you can overcome some of your genetic tendencies with new knowledge and a willingness to change your behavior. It isn’t easy, and it takes time, but negative people can become positive if they really want to.

If each partner is at opposite ends of the attitude spectrum, their relationship can still survive. I know people who have been married for over fifty years, even though one person was extremely pessimistic and the other was extremely optimistic.  It isn’t easy but if you can learn to not lose your own identity as a result of your partner’s behavior there is always hope.

The key is to remember that neither way is right or wrong. However, generally speaking, positive people accomplish more in life than negative people, and they are always happier.

Many times when one person is more negative and the other more positive, they tend not to want to spend a great deal of time with their partner. This doesn’t mean they don’t like or love them, they just don’t want to be consistently bombarded with negative or positive messages. When you are positive, It takes a lot of energy to be around someone who is negative, and vice versa.

A while back, I read that the average couple spends less than 30 minutes a week in one-on-one personal dialogue. If this is anywhere near accurate, it is a sad commentary on the quality of today’s relationships. Keep in mind that this time refers strictly to intimate dialogue. It does not include time spent having sex, having dinner with the kids, shopping, or working in the yard. It includes only time designated as talk time.

You can’t build a positive, nurturing, loving and lasting relationship on 26 hours of shared time a year. It is even hard to build a lasting friendship in that amount of time.

Here are some of the common reasons why people don’t spend time in intimate discussion and sharing with each other.

1. You have no time.
2. You are too busy.
3. One or both of you travel too much.
4. You don’t like him or her.
5. You are afraid to be vulnerable.
6. Your partner doesn’t care about your feelings, needs, interests, or concerns.
7. One or both of you don’t listen.
8. There is an ego battle going on.
9. There are too many kids.
10. One or both of you have too many friends.
11. One or both of you have too many outside interests.
12. Work is too demanding for one or both of you.
13. One or both of you are experiencing a great deal of stress.
14. You are physically tired a lot.
15. You really don’t want to spend time together.

Are any of your reasons listed above? If so, why not take some time to evaluate them in more detail. If you can’t do it with your significant other, then at least do it alone and come up with your own reasons or causes.

Successful relationships have mutual understanding, feelings, unconditional acceptance, and a genuine desire for the other person to become all he or she can be. Unsuccessful relationships suffer any number of psychological games, manipulation, ego control, emotional immaturity, and selfishness.

There are couples who spend very little time together and have wonderful relationships. For them, it isn’t the amount of time they have, but what they put into the time. These relationships are also uncommon. Time is a factor for most of us. We need time to understand, learn, grow, accept, and love. These emotions don’t come easily or instantly. So, regardless of your life outlook, you must be willing to spend regular, quality time with your partner each day or week.


© 2006 by Tim Connor, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Speaker/Best Selling Author/Trainer/Consultant and Business Coach, Tim Connor is the President and CEO of Connor Resource Group and Peak Performance Institute. He has been a full time professional speaker and trainer since 1973, and he has given over 4500 presentations in 21 countries, to a wide variety of sales, management and executive audiences. Contact him at 704-895-1230 (Voice) or 704-895-1231 (Fax) or e mail him at: [email protected] or visit his website at