Change! That might be the scariest word in the English language, at least for some of us. But… in order to work your way to a better marriage, change has to take place. It doesn’t mean that the change has to be life-shattering, earth-moving, make-over-your-whole-life kinda change. A little change goes a long way. Many little steps of change will lead you in the right direction until you have the marriage you have longed for.
So many people thing change is an impossible thing. Or just too big of an obstacle to even give something a try. We often let the thought of change keep us from our dreams and goals. Don’t let something that is doable stop you from having the marriage you want. Or stop you from accomplishing your dreams.
I recently had someone buy one of my Marriage Study Journals and said it’s nice, but what good would it do? He’s not going to change anyways. I was so sad because she wasn’t even willing to look into the journal full-heartily and see that the journal wasn’t asking her to change everything about her and the way she does things. It was just asking her to observe him. Observe her. Observe where some changes might need to take place. But because she was so afraid of change, she chose to keep-on-keeping-on in the same-old miserable marriage that she has had for forty years. I was heart-broken.
Why does change have to be so scary? Why do we resist change so much? What is it about change that makes you want to run and hide? It doesn’t have to be scary, especially if you take it in small steps.
4 Types of Change for Your Marriage
What kind of change are we talking about anyways? What does it take to make your marriage better. Who is the one that has to change? Is it me or him? Because it shouldn’t have to be me!
Do you ever have any of those thoughts or questions? I sure did.
I never thought it should be me that needed to change, until I actually started working on our marriage. I began reading books on relationships and they told me (in their own unique way), that it was me that needed to make a change. The books told me that I wasn’t going to be able to change my husband, and honestly, it wasn’t my job to try. So what type of changes did I have to make? What type of changes will YOU have to make?
Attitude can be one of the most transformative changes in a marriage. Often it’s our attitudes that determine how our marriage and life is going. If we tend to be on the negative side of thinking, then our marriage and family life will suffer. You may have heard of the term and saying PMA, Positive Mental Attitude, and ignored it thinking that is some far-fetched idea that some over-the-top person came up with. It’s not! Many successful people have a PMA. It’s very rare to find a successful person in business, marriage, church, or school that has a negative attitude. Success and negativity just don’t go together!
If your attitude is a little on the “stinky” side (like mine was), that may be the area that you need to focus on. Changing your thinking from negative to positive will take a decision. Then you will have to work on it daily, stopping yourself from thinking and speaking negatively about a situation, someone or something. In time you will see a turn-around in yourself. You will feel better about many things in your life.
Making an attitude change not only happens when you decide to quit being negative, but you will need to have positive input to help you stay on the positive side of life. That may mean turning off negative television. Staying away from negative friends and family members. Reading or listening to positive authors and speakers.
If you put good in, good will come out. If you continue putting negative in, then negative out. Like the saying “Garbage In – Garbage Out.”
Physical changes can be one of the hardest changes in our lives. Our physical habits and lives may be the problem behind some of our marriage problems. If you notice your husband complaining or mentioning physical types of things, then you may want to consider them, without being offended.
Physical changes can include diet, activities, self-care, who you are spending time with.
If our diet is compromising our health and our husband is truly concerned, then we should be too. One of the purposes of marriage and finding that forever companion, is to be with them for a long time. If they are worried that you are cutting your life short, that can put much strain on a relationship.
If we become too busy in outside actives such as the community, the kid’s school, church or work, then our marriages will suffer. If you are like me, it’s easy to get lost in doing everything. When I do that, our family suffers because I’m not spending time with them. Our marriages and family should be our number one priority, not the PTA or latest church group.
Often, in our busy, hectic lives, we let ourselves go. We forget to make the time to take care of ourselves. Your husband married a women that took care of herself and took effort to look good for him. Even if you can’t manage it everyday, you try to look good for him as often as possible. After all, if he works with women at his job, they are making the effort. Don’t let him be at work all day long with those women and come home to you in pj’s and a frazzled mess everyday. Show him you care about him. Even if you are putting on clothes, putting your hair up and putting on a little makeup 5 minutes before he walks in the door (that is me sometimes!!!).
If you’re environment is putting a strain on your marriage it may be time change it. It can be anything from tidying up the house to putting a stop to hanging around toxic people and toxic relationship.
Is your time management out of control? Are you spending too much time on other things besides your husband? Get a notebook out and evaluate your time. Where are you spending it? Is it with your bff? Is it on social media? Maybe with your favorite family member. Marriage needs time invested in it to succeed. If you are non-existent in your husband’s life, your marriage will surely suffer.
Things I had to Change
- Making a decision to make small changes
- Listening (with my full attention)
- Thinking about the situation before I spoke with my full emotions in play.
- Take some time to cool off when an argument spiraled out of control.
- Observe him and what was going on in our marriage.
- Be kind and considerate with my words. (It’s hard to take back mean and harsh words).
- Consider his side.
- Take time for him
- Ask him his opinion and really consider it.
- Let him have his guy time
- Forgive (and Forget!)
- Become compassionate
- Let him have his own opinion without getting offended.
- Let him be right (that’s still one I work on often!)
8 Steps to Change
1. Decision to work on marriage
The first step is to make a decision to work on your marriage and do what you can to improve it. With this decision comes knowing that YOU are the one making the change. That this is about you. It’s not about trying to change him, yet again. Did you notice, that never works anyways!
Observe you and how you treat your husband. Observe what is going on in your relationship. Study your marriage. Watch what your husband is doing and listen to what he asks of you. Listen when he talks.
3. Notice what needs to be worked on
Take notice of where the problems are. Is it communication? Is it a negative attitude? Did you notice you are ignoring him? It could be anything. Write it down!
4. Make a plan on what you would like to work on, to change
Once you determine what area needs work, only choose one thing at a time to work on. Make a plan on how you will begin to change and turn the problem into a solution. Decide what you will do each day to make that change and stick to it.
5. Take Action
Now it’s time to put into action what you planned. Without putting action to your plan, it’s just a hope and a wish.
After a few weeks of consistent work, evaluate what you have been doing. Are you making a true effort or just wishful thinking about the situation. Tweak what you have been doing to make the situation even a little better.
7. Keep working on the new changes
Keep working on that area until you feel that you are happy with what you have been working on and have accomplished your goal.
8. Repeat at #2
Don’t stop at #6, keep going. What’s the next area you would like to work on and see improved?
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