Are you “working” on your relationship with someone or are you “working” at changing someone?”
People in relationships often confuse working on a relationship with trying to change or fix the other person. A lot of effort is put into nagging, manipulating and getting mad at them if and when they don’t do what is expected.
Taking this approach will, more often than not, lead to failure and add to the dysfunction. It simply won’t work! Everyone has to choose for themselves if a change is necessary. When I’ve looked back to some of my turning points in life, I was at a crossroads. I could continue to head deeper into darkness or I could take responsibility for my actions and future.
I could never change the people around me to better suit my needs. Instead, I was required to change my attitude and beliefs that weren’t in line with having a healthy relationship with myself, God or others.
For example: If I continue to give my wife a hard time about all the pairs of shoes she has she will eventually resent me, and she will feel guilty when she does decide to buy another pair. The deal is… she can buy all the shoes her heart desires as long as that is what she chooses to spend her disposable money on. It shouldn’t matter to me! Heck, I’m obsessed with SD memory cards, I don’t know why but I can’t get enough of them. The point is; it is much easier to change the way I perceive the things my spouse does than try to change her. Sure I have to bite my tongue from time to time, curb my criticism so not to offend. But it is worth it because I love my spouse and if her actions aren’t affecting me then it shouldn’t be an issue.
Granted, the above example is simple and applies to material possessions. But the same could be said about the person who leaves the cap off the toothpaste or puts the toilet paper roll on backward. These are the types of things that we just deal with and for getting worked up.
There are more severe issues that often need to be addressed, excessive drinking, smoking, and abuse. These are the things that require professional help and even though it would be better for everyone involved if the behavior ceased it isn’t going to happen by nagging or yelling. People need to choose to change, and there are ways to help, and that’s where advice from a professional comes in handy.
One of the highest prices we pay in life is the cost of being right. Some of us will sacrifice almost anything to be the one who says, “I told you so.” Relationships are about given and take, good and bad and now and then sacrifice. Just because we think something our spouse does is wrong or irritating doesn’t necessarily mean they are the ones that need to change. It might be the person you see when standing in front of the mirror.