I have faith in my spouse that despite her flaws someday she will master all of
them. I try to give her the space and support--and try to stay out of her way or
add to her shame/difficulties--she needs to make changes of her own free will.
If it doesn't happen now I have faith that with eternity, and with the
right conditions and perfect understanding someday it will. And I
suspect she approaches me in the same way... and we both look at our kids that
Husbands should hope their wives will change them, and wives should hope their
husbands will change them. Marriage must be a transforming experience, or it is
a waste of divine potential.
I agree with several other commenters - the author has conflated two different
things. It's beneficial and admirable to support another in making
improvements and even changes that the other person desires to make. It's
entirely another thing, and futile, to try to change someone against their will.
There seems to be more angst in the conversation about the article than is
really necessary. I think the author's description of the fine balance we
need to achieve in growth, improvement, love, and acceptance is rather good. I
especially like the author's blunt rejection of the idea that we are
capable of looking at our spouses and ourselves at all times through a clear
I agree Redshirt1701, I do not think this article is about changing a spouse,
but being supportive and encouraging, and I think that is an important
distinction. It took me over 10 years of marriage to realize the difference (I
was the one trying to change my spouse). I believe the majority of those
5,000,000 google hits are most likely warning against trying to change a spouse
because often it is done in a controlling or manipulative way. If I try to
change my spouse into what I deem to be the perfect person, I am ignoring the
fact that I represent only one point of view and cannot be correct. I have to
respect my wife's opinions and hope she respects mine. If encouragement is
needed, it should be given. If I feel she is in the wrong, I'll express
that opinion but recognize it is just as likely that I'm in the wrong.
Improving yourself is difficult, improving others almost impossible.The biggest influence you can have on others is by being an example to them.
We can spin "change" any way the wind blows. True change comes from from
within, not from without. To imply that another person can change someone else
is misleading and seriously flawed for it implies that we consent to forgo our
free agency. It is one thing to heap praise on someone else because we have
"changed" as the author has done in referencing his wife but it is quite
another, and more satisfying, to recognize we can improve ourselves without
someone else "suggestions" and put in the amount of effort needed to
make that change.
This article is misleading. It isn't about changing your spouse, but is
about how to get good qualities to become better. You are not taking a lazy
slob and turning them into a neat freak go-getter, that cannot be done. This
advice takes the guy who doesn't mind mowing the law and turns him into a
landscaper. The attribute is there, it just has to be cared for and developed.
Dangerous territory here. Let me share what I've learned from a combined
total of almost 29 years in two marriages (first one young and foolish and
short, second one much better and still going strong).You need to be
able to be happy with your spouse AS THEY ARE TODAY. Do NOT marry for "who
he/she will/might become"; that killed my first marriage. If you don't
love that person as they are, right now, warts and all, then don't marry
them. Period. It won't end well. If you go in with EXPECTATIONS of
change, you WILL be disappointed, because we are all human, and we all mess
up.BUT, in an ideal marriage (and especially for LDS who really are
striving for eternal life), you ENCOURAGE your spouse to improve, right along
with you. You HOPE they will keep growing, keep reaching, keep trying to be the
best they can be. And you are willing to do the same, to keep improving and
reaching and trying to be the best that YOU can be. That? That works.Make sure you understand the difference; it really can be the "life or
death" of your marriage.
Jason seems to be saying that "changing your spouse" really means
"improving your spouse". Changing concentrates on the negative things
you want different; improving concentrates on the positive attributes your
spouse already has. As you concentrate on the positive, the negative attributes
will naturally become less and less important or your spouse will tackle them on
their own. Become their cheerleader, the president of their fan club or their
most loyal supporter.
Though a spouse shouldn't have an agenda to change the other person, the
other end of the spectrum "they should just love me for who I am" always
seemed to carry the image of someone out of shape, sitting in front of the TV,
with bon-bons in their lap. My wife and I had a conversation about this before
we got married and we finally agreed that yes we should love each other for who
we were, with an implied component of improvement over time. Isn't that
the essence of the gospel, repentance and improvement as we become more like
Christ? I can honestly say that I agree with the author of this piece and am
glad that my wife dared counsel me and point out when I was wrong or off the
mark-- it has made me a better man after these 20 years. She likewise has
become a better woman.
As far as changing myself because I don't measure up in my wife's
eyes, I got tired of that about 20 years ago. The bitter truth was that I was
never going to become Jesus and it seemed like she was never going to become
Elle MacPherson. The eventual solution was right in front of us and expressed to
us every Sunday by legions of people who were big on commandments but short on
understanding. But finally the message came to me in a form I could grab onto:
-Bring Christ into our family. Have a relationship with him, sacrifice my whims
of the moment to a divine personage who knows me and wants the best for me.
Divine his purpose for me and make it my purpose. Our marriage has blossomed and
grown when formerly it was dying on the vine.
You can't really change another person, and it is also hard to change
yourself. "I love you, you're perfect, now change," has caused a
lot of problems in marriage. We work together, compromise on most things,
overlook others. But have an agenda to change someone else? It doesn't work
and isn't right, either.
Many would have us remain as we are because we "are good enough" but
change is progression. Looking for weakness can be defeating but Jason is right
to look for and accentuate the positive. That is the great agent of change.Now if we could get certain leaders to see that, it might have an effect
on the world where we live.
I think the reason people are discouraged at changing their spouse, is because
the expectation of change breeds discontent when one could be happy if we
accentuate the positives instead of focusing on our partner's flaws. Then again the most effective agents of change do that. They accentuate
the positives in a way that the negatives fall away and mastery of what is best
in us becomes absolute.
Yes I changed my husband and yes he changed me and Heavenly Father helped us
both in the process. We both became better partners,better parents and better
people. I would not like to be the same person I was when we married.