Do you regularly dwell on your partner’s shortcomings?


How much time and energy have you spent in fruitless attempts to transform your spouse?


Does it seem that when you approach your significant other about making changes, (s)he becomes defensive and distant?


Too many partners are stuck in this futile pattern of seeking more attention, affection, time, or devotion from their loved ones. Trying to weigh your words and calculate every action to get what you want out of your significant other is a pointless endeavor. No amount of manipulation will compel lasting reform in our loved ones- even if it would be for their good or the health of the relationship. At the end of the day, the only person that you have control over is you.


Consider the tactics you rely on to force your loved one’s hand. Do you enable poor behavior? Do you become sullen and distant? Do you complain and lecture endlessly, longing to be heard? Do you react in frustration or accusations? These are usually wounded responses, intended to protect your heart by controlling others. In all actuality, these behaviors only place a further strain on your shoulders and the relationship.


Rather than making efforts trying to control others, why not redirect that energy to showing greater love and care for yourself? 


Ask yourself: Assuming my partner never changes, what do I need to do for my mental, physical, and emotional health? 


  • Demonstrate self-care by tuning into your emotions and taking responsibility for them. Stop concentrating the unhappiness you feel on your partner and identify the needs you want to be met. If you desire more compassion, honesty, and connection, begin to show yourself that kindness. Learn to identify your emotions and the cause of them, then accept them without placing blame. Search for healthier methods of coping and invest in fulfilling friendships. As you gain inner strength, share the same compassion and honesty with your partner without demanding any favor in return. 


  • Demonstrate self-care by finding solutions to common conflicts. Whether you frequently feel upset over financial decisions or late arrivals to various commitments, how can you take responsibility and find empowerment? Take steps on behalf of yourself out of love, to eliminate a victim mentality and reduce frustration. 


  • Demonstrate self-care by communicating better. Are you willing to explore the root causes behind some of your relational issues? Are you ready to have difficult discussions, not to get your way but to gain a greater understanding of your partner? Choosing to listen rather than explain and defend may uncover common ground and the intimacy you have desired. Even if your significant other isn’t in a place to learn more, taking the initiative to do so yourself is likely to give you a sense of freedom and strength. 


When you reframe your focus, the dynamics of the relationship have room to change for the better. Often ongoing conflict stems from two partners simply fighting for control. Stop trying to control your partner and turn that attention on yourself. Caring for your mental, physical, and emotional well-being and opening your mind to better understand your spouse may be the key to a healthy transformation for both of you. 


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