It Takes One to Tango
We’ve all heard the saying: it takes two to tango. But is it true that the only way to improve a marriage is if both husband and wife co-operate? Marriage is like a dance. If one spouse changes his or her steps, that changes the dance. The truth is, it only takes one spouse to tango.
Many people believe that a good relationship requires equal effort from both husband and wife. And so, if your spouse is unwilling to change or invest more in the marriage, then the relationship is doomed to lack-lustre intimacy, or even steady deterioration.
While it is certainly the ideal is to have both husband and wife fully invested and contributing to the marriage, it is not necessary for a positive and substantial improvement. You can make a difference on your own.
How does this work? On this simple principle: if one person changes, they change the dynamic of the relationship and this spontaneously leads the other person to also change.
Actually, everybody knows this principle. We just don’t access its power to make positive change.
Let’s say your spouse comes home in an upbeat mood and is loving and attentive towards you. Instead of responding warmly, you react by criticising, ignoring them or bringing up a touchy subject.
We all know how easy it is to sour the positive mood of the other. In fact, this happens all too often; we start out well, but then one of us strikes a small but fatal blow and all of sudden, the good will and positive vibes vanish. In a flash that warm, romantic atmosphere turns into an icy wind.
The interaction between husband and wife is like a dance. When things are good between us, we move together and it can be a lot of fun. Or we can be out of step and our relationship becomes discordant and unpleasant.
But if one person changes the steps, that changes the dance. And that change can move in either direction. From good to bad, or from ok to better.
One person can most definitely influence the relationship and do so very effectively!
Change for the better
Equally so, this principle applies in the positive as well. When your spouse is narky or withdrawn, don’t react with your typical comeback. Nagging, criticising or shutting down yourself only perpetuates the cycle of moodiness and diminishes your intimacy.
Rather, try responding with a more loving gesture. Think about what would help your narky or withdrawn spouse feel loved and do that instead.
Perhaps a sympathetic “I can see you’ve had a bad day; is there anything I can do to help?” or “You look like you need some time to yourself right now; why don’t you take some time out and I’ll handle things here?”
Maybe your spouse needs to hear your affirmation and appreciation. Maybe no words are necessary, just silent companionship while you each read the paper or watch a TV show.
Whatever way you choose to respond in love, be assured: you can change your marriage for the better with the simple act of changing yourself.
All change starts from within. So before we say “why must I change first”, remind yourself: the only person holding you back from changing is yourself!
Recipe for Marriage Decline