Yorba Linda Counseling, Irvine Psychologist, Anaheim Therapist in Yorba Linda, CA, California - Dr. Sherrie Campbell, Ph.D.
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Don’t Change Your Spouse, Change Yourself

Most people read self-improvement to improve the other people in their lives. We all need to be reading or searching self-improvement to change ourselves, look at ourselves and better love ourselves so that we can be better for those in our lives.  If we want to influence change in our spouse we must first begin to change our own negative patterns which may contribute to the relationship problems. 

Seven Self-Loving Skills to Practice

1) Resist complaining: Complaining is really a child’s behavior and unattractive when it is coming from an adult. If there are things you are not happy about in the relationship have a serious discussion about them and make it clear that you are willing to love yourself enough to leave the relationship if these issues cannot be worked upon.   

2) Listen: Try not to interrupt or correct when your partner speaks. Each person has the right to their own perception.  We cannot truly know another person’s perception if we are too busy defending our own and needing to have the last word. The definition of defensive is being closed to new information. Connection and understanding can only come from listening. When we truly listen we will better know where we can be more flexible and where we need to hold our limits.

3) State your wants:  Instead of expressing dissatisfaction and starting the conversation out of a negative place, start by expressing how you want things to be.  When we are clear about what we want this keeps things moving forward into a new solution and a new direction. There is nothing more off putting than constantly hearing how unhappy someone is. It is much better to hear what someone wants. 

4) Give space when necessary: If your partner has become quiet, take notice of it and respect their space. It is nonproductive to try and pull it out of them. Further, you give them the space to take responsibility for what they are feeling. If you pull away a little in response to your partner pulling away it can be an effective tactic to get them to talk.

5) Respect the integrity of your relationship:  Maintain the privacy and confidentiality of what your partner shares with you and refrain from sharing all your issues with friends and family. When nothing is private it allows other people’s opinions to effect and damage our own perception of our relationships and it can serve to make others not like your partner. 

6) Quality time: Give your partner undivided attention and love. We need to put down the phone or magazine and turn off the TV. Intimacy can only happen when people are taking time to genuinely connect and love each other. Talking, playing, being sexual and spending uninterrupted time is often all the relationship needs to repair and enliven.

7) Love each other: Make an effort to consistently show your partner what they have to say is of great importance to you. To be acknowledged, heard, loved, recognized and understood are the basic things we all need from those we love. It is easy to get lazy when we are in love but it is the last thing we should do. It shows a lack of gratitude for this great love we have in our life. 

Many of us are so focused on our partner being our ‘enemy’ because they are not perfectly meeting our needs that we create unnecessary chaos to actually feel something. If we are doing this, then we are not anchored enough in loving ourselves. If we truly love ourselves we will be less needy of our partners and have less of a need to pick at them to change. The best gift you give to any relationship is to take full responsibility for loving yourself. In this way, you will have the ability to practice loving someone else in a more mature and independent way.

Little life message:  All positive relationships are born out of the love you have for yourself.

Posted in Articles | 1 Comment

One response to “Don’t Change Your Spouse, Change Yourself”

  1. Eva Nelsen says:

    Thank you for writing this piece on how to change myself. My relationship with my fiancee has been stressed lately and I just realized that my behavior in the past month or so has been childish and now I see why Juan has been distancing himself trying to so much to have time away from me.
    I lost myself and in order for my relationship to get better I need to take a step or two back and find me again. I’m taking action now and realize it will take time and patience within myself.
    I’m very happy to have found your website and blogs and after reading this one I know I can see turn my relationship around and make it much happier and exciting again.

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Dr. Sherrie Campbell is a licensed counselor, psychologist, and marriage and family therapist in Yorba Linda, CA,
providing counseling and psychotherapy services to residents of Yorba Linda, Irvine, Anaheim, Fullerton and Brea, California.

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