Recently I have been making a turn around a corner in my marriage. Things aren’t perfect, I am not perfect, he IS NOT perfect. I have found that I am not getting all that I want out of the relationship and I have been focused on what he is not doing and what I want him to do differently. It has been a few months of this and, in a way, I have felt lost in my focusing on what HE needs to do to make things better. Suddenly, I realized that it is not him that I need to worry about changing, it is me that needs to find a new way to do things.
Almost 20 years ago after too many relationships with people that really did not have what I wanted I wrote a list of “prerequisites”, this list was 87 things that I wanted out of a person that I was with in a relationship. After completing the list and reading it over I realized that these are the same things that I expected of myself and what I expected of friends. It was an interesting thing to notice and I came to find that if I am coming to the table with these “prerequisites” I could ask for them in return and if I wasn’t offering those things then how could I expect someone else to offer them to me. When I met my husband I was amazed at how easily, willingly and wonderfully he met all of my “prerequisites” and I came to find that he offered me so much more than what I had asked for.
After 13 years of marriage life has become more routine and we both have fallen into taking each other for granted. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that he could change. There are ways he can act sometimes that I am not ok with. His side of the street is not clean and I have come to see that I need to worry about cleaning my side of the street before telling him about his side of the street.
So I am asking myself “What can I do different?”, “Am I offering the same things I am asking for?”. You can’t force someone else to change and you can’t really make them do something they don’t want to do. Each individual needs to make the choice to change. So if I can’t make my husband change I need to look at what I can do. I can take the first step. I can reach out to him. I can take the initiative to fix what isn’t working. If I want more connection with him and I leave it to him then I may never get what I want. If I take steps to increase connection I can reach my goal and both him and I will benefit from the connection.
I have also been asking myself how often I push myself out of my comfort zone to do something for him or for the relationship. The answer (don’t tell anyone) is not very often. As time has gone by I find myself being complacent in the upkeep and growing of the relationship. I am luckier today than I was the day I met my husband and as we both insist on being human we will have struggles and every time I ask myself what I can do I am taking steps to our future and my own personal growth.
Here are 6 steps we can take to change dynamics in relationships:
- Ask what can I do differently
- Allow the other person to be their own individual.
- Stretch out of my comfort zone.
- Allow myself to be vulnerable.
- Take ownership of my mistakes.
- Always remember to come back to the center of love.
I want to be sure that I am clear that I am not talking about accepting and overlooking truly unacceptable behaviors. I am talking about a relationship where there is a solid foundation of respect and love. Also I apply this to all of my relationships and friendships.
What can you do differently today? How can you be the change you want to see? Take the leap, your happiness is waiting!