You can't change your partner, but you can help them change themselves.
Making a relationship work is difficult for everyone; people who say that they have the perfect marriage are either delusional, lying or married only in their imagination. The truth is it can be difficult to live and love one person for seven or eight decades. In other words, marriage is hard for everyone, even the couples who make it in the long run.
But, of course, this doesn't mean that making a relationship work is impossible. If it were, marriage would fall by the wayside, going out of style like Beanie Babies or Myspace. It would be something only masochists ever signed up for. Still, making a relationship work isn't a given: it takes effort and perseverance. Above all, it takes the willingness and ability to adapt and change. But how do you instigate this change. In yourself, it's rather easy; you choose to change and you do. Yet, in others, instigating change is much more difficult. You simply can't make someone change unless they're willing. You can't make them, but you can urge them along. In the grand scheme of things, helping someone to change can mean the difference between making a relationship work and watching one fail.
So, how do you do this? There are a few ways such as communicating your needs while staying away from ultimatums. But according to Psychology Today, there are a few keys that can help you along in your journey.
- Be Realistic: The most important thing to be when wanting someone to change is realistic. People have an innate and strong desire to cling to who they are; it's a grip they don't loosen easily. So, understand this, and understand what you're asking isn't something that'll just occur overnight. Change is hard for everyone, even those most willing.
- Lead By Example: One of the biggest mistakes people commit when trying to make a relationship work involves focusing more on the fault of the other person and less on the flaws of themselves. But if you want your partner to change, one of your first steps must be you changing as well. Lead by example, and increase your odds of them following suit.
- Remove The Judgment: Many people refuse to take on new tasks (such as changing this or changing that) because of fear of being judged. So when you ask someone to change who they are, be prepared to do two things: accept downfalls and check your judgments at the door.
- Ignore Behavior That Isn't Conducive: There are certain types of behavior that your partner might exhibit every now and then that do nothing but harm your relationship (such as throwing childlike tantrums). While not always possible, ignoring this behavior can be helpful. If you ignore it long enough, your partner may decide it's not worthy of engaging in.
- Criticize Sparingly: All too often, it seems that marriage and criticizing are indeed a package deal; most of us find ourselves taking life's frustrations out on our spouse every now and then. Still, this isn't an excuse to do it. If you must criticize, be precise and limited. Also refrain from criticizing for things that happened in the past. That doesn't help your future at all.
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