Trying to change your partner is a recipe for hurt, both for you and for him. If you've come to realize that you're trying to change him unsuccessfully, you can change yourself and change the situation for the better by turning your behavior around. Learn how to stop pressuring him to be different and how to be happy with him, yourself and your relationship.
1. The Importance of Acceptance
One key to giving up on trying to change your husband is to understand how painful it is when a spouse can't accept you for who you are. Trying to change him sends him the message that who he is isn't good enough, maybe even that he isn't lovable to you. Attempts to control him are not only hurtful, they may inspire him to act in ways that are the opposite of what you want in defiance of your judgment -- in essence, forcing you to accept him the way he is. On the other hand, if you accept him the way he is, this acceptance can give him a secure connection from which to grow and change in ways that are important to him.
2. Changes You Want vs. Changes He Wants
Change isn't always a bad thing...as long as it's change you both agree on. Let him take the reins regarding the things he wants to change in himself, and have a conversation about what those things are. At the same time, take control over and talk about things you'd like to change in yourself. This way, you and your husband can shift into a new gear as you grow and change with each other's help, rather than trying to change and control each other.
3. Look at Yourself
It's easy to want to change things in others in a way that reflects a change that you would really like to see in yourself. Alternately, you might be trying to change him so that he can fulfill some emotional need of yours. At any rate, when you focus on the changes you can't make in him, you're neglecting the changes that you could be making in yourself, changes that could make you feel happier. Ask yourself how many of your judgments reflect a standard that you feel you are struggling to live up to, or that you feel you've sacrificed a lot in order to live up to. You may find that you're jealous that he's “allowed” to display certain flaws that you don't feel you're allowed to show.
4. Getting What You Need
If some of your attempts to change your husband have to do with trying to turn him into someone who can give you what you need emotionally, acknowledge your unmet needs and think about what you can do to get them met. Look to friends and hobbies to fulfill your life in the ways that you've been hoping your husband will.
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images