Unless you’re a brain surgeon, a highly trained psychotherapist, or the Holy Spirit Himself, you won’t be able to change your spouse.
The hard reality about people is this: no one person can change another.
Too many of us get married thinking our spouse will change here and there, and then we’ll be happy. When they don’t change, the behavior becomes a source of aggravation and frustration.
Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t behaviors that need to be changed.
So, what are we supposed to do?
First, talk about it.
Say something like, “It would help me…” This phrase invites your spouse into the conversation. Phrases such as, “You make me so mad,” obviously shut the conversation down.
Second, reward approximate behavior.
In other words, your spouse doesn’t have to get it right—just get close.
If your husband is a slob and he picks up a pair of socks, celebrate! He’ll know what you’re doing, but it feels so good, he won’t mind.
If your wife has a habit of leaving the car empty of gas, but pulls in with half a tank, tell her how proud you are of her. Again, she’ll know what you’re doing, but it’ll feel so good, she won’t mind.
In the end, you—and only you—will have to decide if this is something you can live with. And most of the time, you’ll find out you can.
Just learn to keep your eyes on the rose and not the thorns.