We women seem to have an insatiable need to fix things that are wrong with our lives. And that goes for our closest relationships too. But if your marriage or relationship is pretty much OK and you love the guy you’re with, you can do more harm than good by trying to improve things.
The problem is, to makes things better you will almost certainly be focusing on what is wrong. And there’s always something, because no relationship is perfect. Perhaps your guy is not demonstrative enough. Perhaps he doesn’t take you out as much as you’d like. Perhaps he has to be right all the time. Perhaps you always have to say “I love you” first before he says it. Perhaps he leaves his dirty socks on the bedroom rug. Who knows. There could be a million and one things that he could do better, that would make you happier, if he did.
But if you focus on those things and try and get him to change, then you’ll probably have a hard job ahead. People don’t change because we want them to change. They change because they want to change. They have to decide that it’s a good idea for themselves. And even then, change is not easy (if you’ve ever been on a diet that hasn’t gone according to plan, you’ll know about that first hand).
So you get annoyed about the thing that’s not good enough. You nag him. He hates that. You appreciate your guy a little less. He feels that he’s not quite good enough and isn’t measuring up in some way because you tried to change him.
If you get that this isn’t a good idea for a happy relationship, you stop trying to change things and accept him just as he is. You appreciate his good points. You show your appreciation. You make him feel like Superman. Sometimes that’s enough to make things better anyway. How ironic is that?
Of course, we’re not talking here about a truly troubled relationship. That’s one where you have stopped appreciating each other at all and fail to see the good in anything he does or says. You’re regularly showing contempt or derision or living separate lives rather than loving each other.
The funny thing here is that holding back on the criticism, seeing the good in him and letting him know is also an antidote for that, though one which takes a long time to take root and have a positive effect. At first, he’d be pretty suspicious of your good intentions (and you’d have to try really hard to find something genuinely good to say when you’re so used to thinking badly of him) but over time it can help enormously.
And what’s at the root of all this?
To change your relationship for the better, even to save your marriage, there’s only one thing you can improve and that’s yourself and especially how loving you are. Don’t worry about his faults. Just worry about your own. Get better at caring, compassion and loving. That’s all it takes to improve your relationship.
But what if you have genuine complaints and grievances – should you just let them ride? Not at all – you can deal with them in a loving way. See healthy conflict resolution
Over to you: Does this post ring true with you? Have you ever tried to change someone else? Did it work? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.