How Do I Get My Partner to Change? – Top Ten #8
Greg answers the question, "How do I get my partner to change the things that are hurting our relationship?"
Two Most Common Questions from Partners
After counseling with thousands of individuals and couples, these are two of the most common questions I hear: first, how do I get my partner to stop whatever some behavior that the person finds annoying, and second, how do I get my partner to start doing again?—whatever some behavior that the person would like but isn't getting. The answer to both questions is the same. You don't. A healthy relationship is a natural result of people making independent choices.
Notice the phrase independent choices. If you make your own choices completely independent of me and I make my own choices independent of you, then we have the possibility of a genuine or real relationship. But if I manipulate you through guilt, intimidation, nagging, anger, whatever, to pretty much do whatever I tell you to do, now what do we have? It's not a relationship.
Controlling Your Partner is Not Loving
No, it's more like you being my hostage. Worse than that, you've become little more than an object or tool for me to use much like a shoe or a hammer. And you know when I'm with my shoes or a hammer, I'm still alone. I can never feel unconditionally loved by my shoes or by my hammer because I control them. Nor can I feel loved by you if I control you. Nor can you feel loved by anybody in your life if you control them. We sometimes think we want to control the behavior of other people, but in the end that approach makes us feel more alone and eliminates any possibility of feeling unconditionally loved.
So, what can you do when your partner is doing something you don't like? Easy. Love them, love him, love her. And after you have consistently communicated Real Love to your partner, maybe you can make requests that they modify their behavior in small ways. Maybe. It's always About Real Love first.
What does it look like to love a partner? A real partner? We'll discuss that more in question nine and also in many, many other examples on RealLove.com and in the many educational materials available on this website. You'll be amazed at how relationships can change with the introduction of that one thing, Real Love.
Find genuine happiness now and forever.
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