How to Fix a Marriage: Accept That You Can Only Change Yourself
You have told your spouse- multiple times- that something they do bothers you but they have yet to change. You are angry at them. You can’t believe they can be so insensitive. Sound familiar?
Well, if you are trying to figure out how to save a marriage, there is one thing you must accept – You can only change yourself. You probably already knew this but have you accepted it? Are you still hoping that your spouse will one day ‘see the light’ and change?
Realizing that you can’t – and probably shouldn’t try – to change your spouse is the easy part. Accepting it and stopping trying to change your partner is much harder.
Marriage Tips: How to Stop Trying to Change Your Partner
Catch your thoughts
If you want to stop trying to change your partner, learn to catch yourself doing it. Since every action begins with a thought, start by catching your thoughts. Any time you find yourself thinking “I can’t believe he/she would do that?”, “I can’t believe he/she thinks that?” or anything of that sort, make a mental note of it. Catching your thoughts stops the cycle which usually goes something like this: You think about it, then you say something to your spouse, then they either don’t listen or don’t change and you are back to square one.
Say no more
While it is better to catch yourself at the thought stage, sometimes, you may not realize what you are doing until after you have said something to your spouse. However, the moment you catch yourself, stop and say no more. Your spouse has probably heard it before and hearing it again isn’t going to magically change their behavior or solve your marital problems.
Is your way really better?
Ask yourself whether your way is necessarily better and whether there are any benefits to doing things your “spouse’s way.” Weighing the pros and cons of both ways can help you realize that your way is not really better; it’s just what you are used to. Once you realize this, you can begin working on a compromise that you are both comfortable with.
Change your thoughts
Your spouse may not change but you can always change the way you react to his/ her behavior. Instead of thinking of your spouse’s behavior as irritating, start thinking of it as different. Also, stop attaching so much meaning to everything your spouse does. Realize that your spouse is probably not trying to hurt you. Bad habits are really hard to break and it can take years of psychotherapy to break them. In fact, your spouse may already be trying to change but there may be no noticeable difference yet.
Figuring out how to fix a marriage isn’t easy. However, secretly hoping that your spouse will one day see the light and suddenly change for the better will only make you more unhappy with your marriage. It’s better to accept that you can only change yourself and focus on doing that.