When relationship troubles start, we tend to point a finger in another direction, mainly at our spouse. “I’ve tried everything…” (I’ve tried to change him/her, but it doesn’t work.)
We know to the last detail what they would have to do (and then, everything would be fine). We know exactly how they need to change so then we can get our relationship back on track again. The problem is, changing other people is a hard job. Changing your spouse is even harder. And it almost never works. Here’s what you can do instead.
When You Are Stuck
I’ve been there. For too many years my wife and I spent an unbelievable amount of energy trying to change each other. Both of us were so focused to prove we were right, and the other was wrong.
We almost divorced.
If only she would listen.
If only he would understand me.
If only she wouldn’t nag all the time.
If only he wouldn’t come home so late.
If only she wouldn’t be so negative all the time.
If only …(insert your own favorite complaint).
If you are experiencing problems in your relationship, or if you feel you’re in a bad place right now, odds are that some of these phrases might be familiar to you.
The thing is, your partner probably expects and thinks the same, just in another area of your life together. They may be not so vocal about it, but that doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that you both wait for each other to change. And no one does because you both think the other has to change first (because then, everything is going to be all right).
Which means you are stuck.
Take Your Pick
By the same token, let me ask you this:
If changing your partner hasn’t worked by now, why should it all of a sudden start working?
Do you really want to wait for your partner to change first so you can “prove” you are right?
What happens then?
How long are you prepared to wait?
What happens if you wait too long?
What happens when you win (and your spouse loses)?
Will you be satisfied? About what?
Is there a prize you are expecting?
If you go down this path in your quest to change your partner and prove you’re right, you may eventually end up being right … and alone. Yes, you may want to reread that last sentence. By the time you “prove” to your partner that you are right (according to how YOU see things, of course), you might as well be filing papers for divorce.
Do you really, honestly, want to wait for your partner to change, prove you were right, and risk ending up alone?
Or are you prepared to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What can I do to make this relationship work?”
Start With You
The thing is, many of us have a hard time accepting that we have contributed to our relationship troubles, too.
Pay attention to the word contributed. We’re not blaming anyone here.
That’s why it is YOU who should change first.
A good way to start might be here.