How To Get “Him” To Change

Crossed fingers IJanuary signals a fresh start, at least the noble intention of transformation. This kind of change consists of either sweeping resolutions, or small-step evolutions for personal goals.  However, what if the person you live with does not entertain even the slightest thought about change, let alone a glorious transformation?  Many women who read self-help books have absorbed the notion that “if I change my own dynamics, everyone around me will change.” So does this strategy work in reality?

When you change your dynamics, it means that you have tweaked your absolute perceptions towards greater flexibility. For example:

  • You become more positive and forgiving in reframing annoyances, telling yourself a much better story. For instance, he misses the hamper as his socks land on the bathroom floor because he is distracted by stressful work issues and is not taking you for granted.
  • You work on your self-growth and lead by example.  You concentrate on your own stressors rather than shifting to his as the root cause of your unhappiness.
  • You accept him as he is. When you spotlight his strengths, he mirrors himself in you, inspired to keep developing his abilities.  He could potentially fulfill your positive prophecy.
  • You introspect about your “Home Rage.” Why are your buttons being pushed? When he is infuriating, you return to your core feelings asking yourself what you are not seeing about his side.

What not to do:

  • Don’t adopt the dictator to doormat attitude. When you become passionate about your own transformation, resist the temptation to preach and to judge.
  • Don’t make your home an unsafe haven. Do you possess self-doubts which might have led to disliking yourself and could this unhappy self possibly have been transmitted to him causing him to think that you are unhappy with him? Could this conclusion make him feel insecure and anxious about your connection?  Ultimately, would you be able to improve in this anxious environment?
  • Don’t become self-absorbed. It’s not always about you. Self-improvement is not about control, but rather pooling your best resources together: Your spouse, your children, even the in-laws.

If all else fails regarding changing your spouse’s “bad habits,” then you have to speak your honest mind: Say no when you are depleted, communicate clearly and succinctly the chores you need to delegate and ultimately let some tasks fall by the wayside for the sake of fun – the kind of fun the two of you used to have together most of the time.

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photo by: Katie Tegtmeyer

About Debbie Mandel

I'm an author, stress management specialist, and my latest book is "Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life" (Wiley, Sept. 2008). Also, I host a weekly radio show and run an educational site where you can learn more about building immunity to feeling bad: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com