How A Dirty Sock Almost Ended My Marriage

Get a grip on your emotions when negative thoughts start to attack you.

woman annoyed by sock Icons8 Photos and TITOVA ILONA / ilonakozhevnikova via Canva 

There’s a “thermostatic setting” within each of us that governs how much good, fun, love, and life we allow ourselves to experience and enjoy.

To change our thermostatic setting, let’s first take a look at what a thermostat is.

A thermostat is a cybernetic system that measures variance. For example, we have a thermostat in our home that controls the temperature of our house, and we control that temperature by setting the thermostat on the wall.


Say we set the temperature to 72 degrees in the summer. The thermostat reads the variance in the atmosphere and if it gets too warm, the air conditioner will be triggered to kick on the cool air. If it gets too cold, it will turn off.

Just like the thermostat in your home, the thermostat within you is set to a certain amount of fun, love, or happiness, and it kicks on to try to keep you at those levels. To increase the overall good in your life, you must change your thermostatic setting.

And you absolutely can change your thermostatic setting. Because here’s the truth: In spirit, there’s no limit to the amount of freedom, flow, or joy in life!


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Here’s a story about how my thermostatic setting threatened a very happy relationship of mine, and how I was able to reset it ...

I’m happily married to a wonderful man named Joe Dickey. We’ve been together for over a decade now.

About seven or eight months after we got married, we went away on a little weekend vacation together.


One morning, we sat on the patio drinking coffee, looking out onto the lake, and having a great conversation.

And I thought to myself right then:

“I have never been this happy in my whole life!”



Now, at that point, I had a highly successful career, wonderful children, many great friends, and an all-around lovely, fulfilling life.


But at that exact moment, I was experiencing the deep satisfaction that comes from truly and spiritually connecting with another human being — a partner.

I had never had the passion, love, commitment, support, and fun I had dreamed of until then, and I was just feeling so happy.

Joe got up at one point and went back inside and I sat there, marveling at how amazing I felt.

After a little while, I got up and went inside too. As I did, I noticed a sock on the floor.

I began thinking to myself:

“Oh my gosh, why is that sock on the floor? Joe is such a neat and orderly person, and I’ve never seen him throw a sock on the floor before! But maybe he was just being that way at the beginning of our relationship and he’s really a very messy person and now that we’re married I’ll start to see that!”


Now thankfully, for many years, I had been practicing and teaching a technique for identifying and re-patterning thoughts.

This technique is what I like to call “notice what you’re noticing,” which is a way to practice mindfulness.

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So I paused, stepped back, and noticed the thoughts I was having.

You see, when we notice the train tracks our thoughts are on, we can decide if we want to go where that train is taking us. And we can either continue or stop the thoughts in their tracks.

After I did this, I realized,

“Mary, look! You were just thinking about how you’re happier than you’ve ever been. You’re not used to this level of happiness. So you walked in the room and your internal thermostat tried to dial your happiness down to the normal level you’re used to!”


I had found something “wrong” in my incredibly happy relationship and ran with it.

Not only was there a sock on the floor — this was maybe going to become a new trend — and maybe Joe wasn’t the person I thought he was!

dirt sockPhoto: fizkes / Getty Images Via Canva

But once I realized what I was doing, that my internal thermostatic setting was trying to keep my happiness at a certain level, I was able to stop these thoughts and simply embrace the happiness I was feeling.


By doing so, I reset my thermostat for a greater amount of love and happiness in my life.

We all have edges for how much happiness, success, and fulfillment we allow ourselves, but when we come up against them, we can CHOOSE to repattern our thoughts…

When you start to think to yourself:

  • “This happy relationship will certainly sour”
  • “This amount of success is too good to be true”
  • “I wonder when the other shoe is going to drop”

you have the power and permission to notice what you’re noticing and interrupt your thoughts.


Take a pause and consider that this is perhaps just your thermostatic setting seeking to prevent you from experiencing more love, more success, and more happiness than you’re used to.

dirty sockPhoto: Liderina / Getty Images via Canva

And then say to yourself:

“Nothing’s wrong here, this is just more joy than I’m used to. And you know what? I’m going to make this happiness, freedom, or success my new normal.”


And that’s how you reset your thermostatic setting to attract, foster, and enjoy more good in life!

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Mary Morrissey is an international speaker and best-selling author. She is the founder and owner of Life Mastery Institute, the premier training center for transformational coaching.