Changing the Leopard

Try to Understand

Try to Understand

“My husband is left handed and I want him right.”  “My wife has brown eyes and I want them green.”

Outrageous requests, but trying to change your spouse’s temperament ranks just as high on the crazy scale. Temperament is the genetic part of your personality. Think introvert, extrovert, or HSP. Trying to change this part of your spouse launches a losing battle. Rather than change them, follow these steps.

Seek to understand his/her temperament. Ask how they feel about life and daily living. Does work overwhelm him; does she love a busy schedule?

Listen as they describe their world and do not interrupt or correct. Allow him/her to share without reservation or fear of reproach. For example, your spouse may not like surprises. A new restaurant may be exhausting, yet for you it may be thrilling.  Hold back any criticism as they talk. Next, share your world.  Sincerely seek to understand your spouse’s world views and honestly share yours.

Next, compare notes and determine how the differences affect your marriage. Find the friction points and decide how to smooth them.  Your surprise birthday dinner at a new restaurant caused a battle. Maybe next time you research a new restaurant so your spouse can feel familiar with the new eatery.

Learn to trade; how to learn from each other? I am an HSP – Highly Sensitive Person – Laura is not. So I have learned to step out a little more, and she has gleaned some of my sensitivities. Growing together opens the lock, changing each other rusts it shut. We naturally change but not through force, let change be organic as you exchange each other’s world.

Finally, share expectations. This can and should take a while. That’s the fun, sharing your expectations over a long period of time. When you know your spouse’s expectations you better understand and therefore disappoint less. He may expect friends for his birthday. She may expect a quiet dinner followed by a walk.

Trying to change each other based on a fantasy or someone you know fractures a marriage; growing together knits it. Take time to learn about and from each other and you will weave a tapestry of beauty.  CoachOurMarriage

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