In your quest to fix
you may encounter resistance...from your spouse!
Your spouse may dwell
on the 101
reasons why "this just won't work for us" and blame you for everyone.
Or, your spouse may be
"checked-out" of the marriage and not care about your efforts to
improve the situation or be willing to extend any effort of their own.
This, by far, is the
question people ask me: "How do I get my spouse to change? How do I fix
marriage when my spouse won't change?"
Why would your spouse
in your marriage and what should you do about it?
There's a deep-seated
belief in our
culture that people resist change, no matter what. But is this true? Do
really want things to remain status quo? Do we really not want things
change? If you look closely at human nature, it's not change itself we
it's change that's IMPOSED UPON US.
Think about it. We
have no problem
with change that WE INITIATE. But when we feel forced or manipulated to
then we resist with all our might.
Your spouse may not be
change for the sake of your marriage right now, but that's not because
spouse doesn't want to fix the marriage. Everyone wants a great
because if they're going to change, they want the change to be THEIR
I promise you; your
change when they're ready to change and not one second before. And the
push them, urge them, nudge them, ask them, scream at them, or beg
LESS LIKELY they are to change. I know it's hard to wait, but you have
it come from them.
It's possible someone
your spouse to change, but the person LEAST LIKELY to be the
YOU. It's sad but true. A complete stranger is more likely to get
your spouse than you are. A chance experience or encounter is more
shake up your spouse than anything YOU could say.
Mary Ellen (name
the Marriage Fitness Tele Boot Camp. She knew she had to make changes
joined the program with a genuine interest to fix her marriage. She
(her husband) to be part of the process, but he wasn't willing to join
had been asking him to go with her to get help for over a year. But Tom
I spoke with Mary
Ellen during the
boot camp and convinced her to back-off of Tom and just let him be for
I counseled her to make some changes that created a more positive
their relationship. When the time was right, I suggested that Mary
Tom is he would be willing to speak with ME during one of the Q and A
teleconferences. Mary Ellen's timing was good. Tom agreed.
Within 7 minutes of my
with Tom he agreed to join Mary Ellen in the program. Mary Ellen
the Lone Ranger Track to the Duo Track.
Why was I able to get
Tom to agree
to something in 7 minutes that Mary Ellen couldn't get him to do in
year? It's true I know how to fix marriages, but there were 2 other
1. For the first time
in over a
year, Mary Ellen backed-off far enough so that Tom had the space to
2. The inspiration
came from someone
other than his wife. Now HE wanted to know how to fix the marriage too.
Your effort to change
your spouse is
probably COUNTERproductive. The chances are good that you're "in the
way." You need to get out of the way and create the space for your
to CHOOSE to change. That's the only way it'll ever happen.
I can't tell you how
many times a
spouse will say to me that their husband/wife changed for a few days,
returned to their old ways. That's because they never really decided to
They were pressured. They were manipulated. And so it didn't stick.
If you tell your
spouse what to do;
it's a challenge. If THEY decide to do it; it's a great idea. YOU HAVE
IT COME FROM THEM. That's the only way it'll make a difference long
Now you're probably
"Makes sense, but isn't there anything I can do to encourage my
choice?" YES there is! YOU CAN BE AN INSPIRING EXAMPLE and let your
see how the choices YOU'RE making impact how YOU feel about yourself
Resist the urge to
believe that your
marriage won't be fixed until your spouse "gets with the program."
The love YOU feel is much more a result of what YOU DO for your
what your spouse does for it.
We tend to think that the love in our marriage
is in our spouse's hands. But
it's not. Love is a verb. And if we do it - if we love - then we feel
CHOICE IS OURS.
Consider the love you
feel for your
children. Is it because of everything they do for you? Is it because
such angels? Of course not. The love you feel for your children is a
what YOU DO FOR THEM. The love you feel in your marriage is a result of
YOU DO too.
no better way
to inspire your spouse to make the choice to change than to make that
It happens quite often
spouse will register for the Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot Camp in the
Track and then half way through the program they will switch to the Duo
which is designed for couples participating TOGETHER. What caused their
to change their mind? Simple. 2 things. First, they learned to create a
in their relationship for their spouse to make a choice to change.
showed their spouse, through their EXAMPLE, how to make that choice and
impact it could have on their marriage.
Very often one spouse
private sessions with me and ask if it makes sense for them to be
alone. The answer is ABSOLUTELY yes! One spouse can make more than a
difference in a marriage. And that difference is exactly what will get
other spouse to open up to getting advice too. As the saying goes: "You
can lead me a mile, but you can't push me an inch."
So, bottom line - as
said, "You must be the change you wish to see." It's YOU changing
that will have the greatest impact on YOUR EXPERIENCE of your marriage
YOU changing that will be the single most important thing you
can do to
motivate your spouse to change.
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