Wright Words: Yes, you should try to change your spouse

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  • Hunam Layton, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 7:20 a.m.

    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 way.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Aug. 13, 2014 5:30 p.m.

    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.

    Aug. 13, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    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.

  • BJ61 South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:48 p.m.

    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 lens.

  • megatron fayetteville, NC
    Aug. 12, 2014 2:56 p.m.

    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.

    Aug. 12, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    Improving yourself is difficult, improving others almost impossible.

    The biggest influence you can have on others is by being an example to them.

  • buckbeaver Lake Forest, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    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.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    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.

  • Nanook of the North Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    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.

  • David Mefford American Fork, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    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.

  • Not Asleep Lewiston, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    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.

  • stikity mick North Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:42 a.m.

    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.

  • pat1 Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    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.

  • Karl (not Marx) WVC, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    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.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    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.

  • BJR Duchesne, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 7:18 a.m.

    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.