Read the following thought that many people have had at one time or another. You may have had this thought too!

"My spouse is the one with most of the issues, and as soon as they get to work on fixing their issues, our marriage will be better."

Honestly, if I had a dollar for every time a well-meaning husband or wife said something similar to the quote above, Tami and I would be writing from our million-dollar sailboat off the coast of Bali. But we do not get a dollar each time a well-meaning husband or wife believes in something so utterly self-defeating; instead, we simply write about it. 

The Elephant

Let's start with "the elephant in the. room," – everybody has the ability to change, but most people don't like to change unless the benefit of the change is very obvious. And, when it comes to marriage, the benefit of making changes is typically not very obvious. Why is that the case?

Our brains are highly complex. When it comes to making changes, our brains often do a very quick "cost vs. benefit" analysis. Even though your brain completes this analysis subconsciously and you are not aware of it, it usually looks something like this: [this is what your brain is doing] 1. My spouse would like me to leave work on time more regularly. 2. The cost to me is the freedom that I lose which will be replaced with an expectation that I will do what I say. 3. This is a high cost to me. 4. The benefit will be that my spouse won't nag me as much. 5. I can handle some nagging, so the resulting benefit is not great. 6. Therefore, I will not change.

Here’s the translation – the message that makes its way to your consciousness; this change is not worth the effort. And, here is the implication because of my unwillingness to change, my spouse must change because I refuse to do so. It sounds pretty tragic and selfish when stated in that way, doesn't it?

Change is Possible

Our brains are wired, quite literally, with the ability to change; we just don't like to do so. We often prefer the lazy way, which requires others around us to change instead of us changing ourselves. Expecting others around you, especially your spouse, to do all of the changing is most likely rooted in you submitting to one of the following frames of mind:

  • "I am too lazy to make change." 
  • "I am too prideful to make change."
  • "I  think of myself as a victim and believe I have no control over any change in my life."
  • "I am too __________ to make change."

Our brains have the ability to rewire themselves for the purpose of facilitating immediate change as well as ongoing change. Now that you are able to identify what is likely holding you back from positive changes and may be causing you to feel stuck where you are, are you ready to do something different? Are you ready to change?

"Everyone FEELS stuck at times, but the truth is the only people that STAY stuck are the ones that CHOOSE to stay stuck." ~ Brad Miller

Let me clearly state this right up front:

  • Everyone has the ability to change.
  • Everyone needs to change.
  • Everyone would be better off if you and I changed in positive ways.
  • Nobody benefits, not even me, if I refuse to change.

I know that was difficult to read and believe, but it is true, and the sooner you understand this, the sooner you can start having a better marriage because a better marriage starts with change – your change.

To me, it is a sad thing to witness someone convincing themselves that they don't need to make needed and positive changes. I have seen this in friends and family members. I have seen this in co-workers. I have seen this in the couples that we work with. And I have seen it in myself. This is why I wrote the following statement:

"The most unlikely people to change in healthy, positive ways are the ones who have convinced themselves that they don’t need to."

Do you want your marriage to improve? Look for positive changes that you can make. Are you having trouble finding anything that you can change? Ask your spouse since they might be able to lovingly articulate a needed change or two. Or, you could just stay stuck — but please don't. The world needs you to be the best version of yourself – and that happens to be what you and your spouse need as well.

In closing, here is another way to look at all of this: God either created humans perfectly with no need for us to change, or he created us with the ability to change so we can overcome things and grow over the course of our lifetimes. We do have the ability to change, and what a blessing that ability is!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. Do you believe that you have the ability to change? If so, what is your reason for resisting change most of the time?

2. Do you want to improve at things in your life? Is change required for improving?

3. Have I resisted change in the past and put my spouse in an awkward position because resistance to change? If so, this is a great reason to be humble and apologize.

4. In the future, how will you keep yourself from believing that you don't need to change?

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By Brad & Tami Miller. Copyright © 2023 

Link to: https://TandemMarriage.com/post/change