Will My Spouse Change? Probably NOT!
I am amazed how many married individuals I meet who interestingly enough thought once I’m married, my spouse will change; as if magically a wedding ring would produce a new person. Somehow through the engagement season of time we begin to notice some flaws in our fiancée that really annoy us. Over looking those flaws (which from the very fact we’re all human, not perfect), we assume that someday they’ll magically disappear, only to find out after marriage there begin to escalate. His drinking gets worse, her nagging increases, his spending habits on too far out of control, she’s more and more like her mother, and on and on it goes. And so most individuals believe and work extremely hard to change their spouse. Usually with the same results: No Change!
Seldom do most of us like change. In fact, if we feel pressured to change most people will actually resist and stand firm against a change, even if they know it to be for the better. Sadly in the midst of tension and disagreement, our focus becomes reactive and almost totally focuses on the other person, blaming them for not meeting our expectations. Working on others and hopefully to change them only leads to more failure and let-down and in a marriage often leads to a parting of the ways. This is of course not the dream we begin our marriage with. Ironically, many broken individuals in light of a failed marriage never change, rather continue to repeat the cycle with their next partner, or even the third and fourth and so on.
Real change begins when I change. Yes, when You (I) decided to make changes our world changes, and believe it or not, our changes may (probably) just lead to a new and improved spouse (that’s not suggesting you trade in your old one for a new model, rather you and your spouse begin to live out the marriage you had always hoped for). Gary Smalley in his book “Making Love Last Forever” outlines the process this way:
- We can’t change other people.
- We can choose to make changes ourselves.
- As changes occur in ourselves, people around us usually adjust their responses and choices according to our behaviour.
In other words, the changes we make within ourselves will have an impact and create the potential for real change, as our spouse actually changes themselves without your painful pressure.
Changes of course may seem difficult at first, and certainly big changes are no easy task. But may I suggest you begin with small, meaningful, thoughtful changes. In another current best-seller, “The Love Dare” the authors have outlined a forty day challenge that begins with you making daily, but small significant changes to “re-kindle the flame” to demonstrating just how much your spouse really means to you. Small acts of kindness, small purchases as a gift, random notes, emails, phones calls, all without any more motive than to say I ‘Hi’ (perhaps “I love You” wouldn’t hurt) and all small and purposeful ways of reaffirming your commitment to your marriage.
Have troubles with your partner? We’ll continue to work on making your marriage healthy, but for today, may I suggest beginning a journey of change – the one that begins with you!