If You Can’t Answer This Question With A Confident Yes, You Shouldn’t Get Married
Out of all the requests I get from couples, most of them have to do with how I can help them get their partner to change some behavior they don't like.
I mean, I get it. Once the honeymoon phase of the relationship is over, the blinders you had that allowed you to gloss over anything your partner could potentially do wrong are snatched away.
You then realize your partner is not the perfect person you thought they were and you want them to change some of the things they do that get on your last nerve.
From how aggressive she gets when you get into a disagreement to how forgetful he is when it comes to things that are important to you. It's inevitable.
Regardless of the issue you take with them, there's one really important thing you need to keep in mind if you're considering staying with this person for the long haul:
You are not entitled to your partner changing to be more like the person you want them to be.
It is not their responsibility to change who they are or how they do things to fit the mold of what would make you feel more comfortable.
It's up to you to realize they will never be the perfect partner. And because they won't be perfect, you have to choose to love not just the parts that make you feel good, but their imperfections as well.
Now, I'm not saying that your partner won't change over the course of time, because they will. I'm also not saying you can't ask them to change, because you can.
What I am saying is that change isn't guaranteed to come solely because you want them to do so. To expect them to change just because it would make you more comfortable is unfair to who they are as an individual.
So for the those who come to see me asking if I can help change their partner's behavior, I always ask, "If your partner never changed at all; if they remained exactly who they are today for the rest of their life, would you be okay with that? Are you willing to commit to your partner as-is?"
If you can't answer that question with a confident yes, you're not yet ready for the responsibilities a long-term commitment requires. One of the main responsibilities is being able to accept the good and the bad of who your partner is.
And this question something every couple should ask themselves before they make any type of commitment.
Unfortunately, a lot of couples are moving in with each other, starting families or getting married with the expectation that once they settle down, their partner will change. But they’re just met with disappointment because over time, they realize they won't.
Realizing your partner won’t change is not your opportunity to hunker down and become manpulative, controlling, nagging or whatever other ways you can think of to try to force them to change.
So how else can you can handle a situation where you're dealing with some less than desirable behavior from your partner?
Learn To Accept Who Your Partner Is, Not Who You Wish They Would Be
Well first, look to be more accepting of who they are. That requires you to enjoy your similarities, but to respect your differences as individuals.
Your partner has their reasons behind their behaviors, just like you do. So being more accepting means you spend a bit more time attempting to see things from their point of view than trying to make them see things from your own.
Be The Change You Want To See Happen
Second, how can you contribute to the change you want to see happen in your relationship? Maybe that means you putting in a bit more effort to pick up the slack. Maybe that means being a bit more forgiving or more patient with them.
At the end of the day, the only control you have over your relationship is what you contribute to it. So put your focus on what you can do to make things better.
Only after taking those two steps would I suggest you go ahead and bring the change you'd like to see in your partner to the table.
That's because when you've already done your part, whether they change or not becomes a good, but not necessary part of the solution. Your happiness at this point isn’t contingent on what your partner does next.
So while change in every relationship is inevitable over time, expecting to change your partner to be more like the person you'd prefer they be is something you should think twice about.
So what are your thoughts? Are you willing to commit to your partner as-is? Or do you feel there are some things they should have to change if you asked them to? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!