There’s a big difference between trying to make your partner do things you want or show up in a way you’d like him to...
...and creating an environment where those qualities are naturally fostered and brought out in him.
The first approach (which is, unfortunately, the most common approach we tend to take, since it's what we were taught), is very other-focused.
It’s focused on the actions (or lack of them!) your partner is taking.
But focusing on HIM (and what he’s doing or not doing) is never a place we have power.
It leads to trying to control what we cannot control...and all sorts of what I call backfiring tactics that end up leaving you frustrated, deeply disappointed, and powerless to improve things in your marriage.
They also lead to your significant other feeling like he “can’t do anything right,”(heard him say that one before?) — and ultimately to being more shut down and reactive with you (the opposite of what you want, right?!).
The second approach (the one that works 1000% better) is totally self-focused—and it’s all about changing what is actually in your power to change:
Your own self and how you show up in your marriage.
This is actually the only power you’ll ever have in your relationship.
But the great news is that it’s enough.
In fact, it’s more than enough.
It's exactly the path to create the safe, loving environment in your marriage that not only feels wonderful to you, but also has the greatest chance of naturally bringing out the best in this person you’ve chosen as your partner…
When you’ve started with you and lead the way to building this loving culture in your marriage, you don’t need to coax him into doing the things you’d love him to do, and he doesn’t feel like he’s doing them for you as some sort of obligation or duty—but, instead, he does them because he naturally wants to do them:
He learns to communicate better because he wants to.
He helps with the kids more because he likes contributing to all of your happiness.
He holds you through your tears because he loves supporting you and has learned to hold rather than “fix”.
He kisses you on your neck the way you like because he’s noticed you really respond to that, etc.
We NEVER get here in a marriage by focusing on our partner's faults and trying to change them.
We only get here by working on what we have control over: our own personal internal domain…our own thoughts, feelings, and ways of being with ourselves and with our partner.
That is what YOU can change. This is where your power is. And it is everything when it comes to having a marriage you love.