Part 4 of It Takes One to Tango
All change in our relationships should start with ourself. 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 ineffectual, 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 them 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 ourself. Our thoughts inform and motivate our actions, so think about how you can change your thinking. For example:
- If you are in the habit of criticising your spouse, apply some mental discipline so that whenever you start to think negatively about your spouse, consciously choose to think compassionately. Instead of keeping a mental list of your grievances against your spouse, make a mental list of your gratefulness.
- If you are in the habit of reacting aggressively when things don’t go the way you want, challenge your attitudes of entitlement.
- If you tend to brood on past hurts and disappointments consciously discipline your thinking to dwell on positive memories instead.
Almost every marriage will have periods of disillusionment. If you are of a mind to wait for your spouse to lift their game, you 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.