Show Notes

It’s easy to get into a negative cycle of thoughts about your spouse. Today we talk with Dr. Jim Burns, one of the most positive people we know, about this very topic!

Jim Burns is the President and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. He writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which include Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books include: Confident Parenting, Creating an Intimate Marriage. Most recently, Jim also co-authored a book with Doug Fields called The First Few Years of Marriage: 8 Ways to Strengthen Your “I Do.”

Interview with Jim Burns

Today we’re talking about Positive Adaptability. To talk about what it is, let’s start with the opposite – Awfulize – A new word that means taking everything to the worst. “My spouse is probably having an affair, we’re never going to have a great marriage, etc”.

You can discipline yourself to be more positive! Negativity brings a marriage down, but a healthy marriage is a mindset. Here are some thoughts on how create a healthy mindset:

  • Be willing to consider if you have a low maintenance versus high maintenance marriage
    • A low maintenance marriage – you don’t have to work as hard at, maybe you came from highly functional backgrounds, one of the spouses really helps it be low maintenance because they’re so healthy.
    • A high maintenance marriage – takes more work, there’s more baggage brought in.
  • For every one negative thought or communication, you need 5 positive ones
  • Start with a self-assessment – where are we on this spectrum?
  • Ask yourself, “Does it really matter?” and don’t say everything you think!
  • Practice “Thank Therapy.” Focus on things you’re thankful for about the other person.

Your one simple thing for this week: Write down a few words about why you are thankful for your spouse. And share those words with your spouse.

Ted: For you, if sharing these words with your spouse is via text, that’s totally fine! What is one of the things about your spouse that you are thankful for?

CJ: Teri is so selfless, which is cheesy to say. But just this morning, I had forgotten to tell her we ran out of coffee. But she had already seen and re-filled it!

Afton: Hudson is so selfless too. He pretty much handles everything all the time.

Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast! We hope today’s episode helped you realize that marriage is a little easier than you may think. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.

If you want more resources, check out Your Best Us and our blog at  You can find more from Dr. Jim Burns at

Finally – we hope you’ll join us next week when we talk to Carlos Whitaker about the question, “How can I get rid of the things holding me back in my marriage?”

Robert Carnes is the editor on the MarriedPeople team. He's worked in marketing and communications for a number of churches and nonprofits. Robert lives in Atlanta with his wife, Victoria.