Change Starts Here
Part 4 of It Takes One to Tango. See others in this series here, here. and here.
All change in our relationships should start with ourselves. While it’s comforting to be able to blame our spouse for the inadequacies of our marriage, expecting them to change to meet our demands is not only ineffective, it’s not a very loving approach.
The truth is, I can’t control my spouse. I may certainly try, but I most likely won’t succeed.
And even if I do manage to coerce my spouse into the behaviour I want, I’ll undermine our trust which will ultimately erode our intimacy. Domination, manipulation, coercion, or any other form of control, really is a losing strategy in any love relationship.
Rather, for effective and powerful change in our relationships, look to ourselves. Our thoughts inform and motivate our actions, so think about how we can change our thinking. For example:
- If we are in the habit of criticising our spouse, we can apply some mental discipline so that whenever we start to think negatively about our spouse, consciously choose to think compassionately.
- Instead of keeping a mental list of our grievances against our spouse, we can make a mental list of our gratefulness.
- If we are in the habit of reacting aggressively when things don’t go the way we want, we can challenge our attitudes of entitlement.
- If we tend to brood on past hurts and disappointments, we can consciously discipline our thinking to dwell on positive memories instead.
- and so on…
Almost every marriage will have periods of disillusionment. If we are of a mind to wait for our spouse to lift their game, we are in danger of slipping into a downward spiral of increasing isolation.
Don’t wait for the other; be the grown-up and make the first move.
Change your thinking and you will change your reactions. And that will change the dynamic of your relationship. It’s that simple.