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How You Can Get Your Partner To Change

New Year's Resolutions come and go with each new year. We all think about the things we want to change, write up a list, work on it for a few weeks, and then give up. Think about the things you put on a New Year's list. Generally we all choose things that we can do something about. One person might choose to start exercising; another might choose a bad habit to conquer. We NEVER choose something that we can't change. Why choose to fail from the beginning?     So, then, why do we insist on trying to change our spouse?

When we first realize our spouse isn't perfect, we usually want to make him or her over into the perfect spouse. All we need to do is train them into being what we want, right? WRONG! Whenever we try to coerce our spouse into becoming what we want them to become, our plan usually backfires. A lot of people usually do the opposite of what someone is trying to force them to do.

What’s needed is to accept your spouse as they are. Accept that you cannot make them change. Ask a happily married older couple what one of the turning points in their relationships was. Many will say a major turning point was the day they stopped trying to change their spouse.

Many people go into marriage with the false expectation that their spouse will change for the better when they get married. In reality, all of the faults that they had been hiding come out. Many people react by trying to change their spouse. This fruitless activity will only lead to disappointment, bitterness and hurt.

You must accept that you cannot change your spouse. Only your spouse can change your spouse. However, you do have the ability to change yourself. Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world”. We suggest that you be the change you want to see in your relationship.

You will affect your spouse and your marriage by becoming the type of person you want your spouse to be. Being a better person rubs off! You will inspire your spouse to be a better person. The direct approach of attempting to make your spouse change is doomed to failure. By changing yourself you increase the chances that your spouse will follow your example.

Praise your spouse as soon as you see even a small change in the right direction. When you show appreciation for even a small change in the right direction it can inspire them to be even better. They will want to live up to your praise. Even if your spouse isn't changing anything, find something else to praise them for. A chain reaction can soon begin.

In summary, change yourself first. Second, accept your spouse as they are. Third, shower them with love and praise.  Praise, love and acceptance will bring about more change in a person than will force or coercion.

The challenge is to make a strategic plan for how you will change in order to have a positive impact on your relationship.

There are some things that you should never accept. Physical & Emotional Abuse are two. If you are dealing with the exceptions to the change rule please seek professional help.

This article was reprinted with permission of the Healthy Marriage Coalition.

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