With a new year, the expectation of renewal resurfaces in many couples.
How many times, hoping for a change in your spouse, do you say things like, “Couldn’t you take a little time off and spend it with your family?” Or, “When will you realize that I often need to talk about us, our relationship, our problems?” When you first met, you perhaps could see your spouse’s faults but thought they would change. You could now endlessly scroll through the long list of unfulfilled desires in your marriage — desires that naturally come up against the prodigious force of the other’s inertia, while he or she considers themselves a victim of unfounded harassment.
But then, should the disappointed spouse stop hoping for a change in behavior? Should they resign themselves to living with someone who is immutable? No, as this would imply that we think human beings are incapable of evolving.
Wishes should not be perceived as orders in disguise
On the other hand, there are attitudes that produce the opposite effect of what we are looking for. Thus, wanting to change the other person at any cost, by any means (as happens with the adolescent we want to raise), inevitably leads to “resistance.” Consequently, it is important to first accept the other person as they are. It is perhaps paradoxical, but one becomes capable of evolution when they are first accepted and loved as they are. As proof, a woman once said: “For 20 years, I tried to change my husband. I finally gave up and then he changed!”
Does this mean that you have to bury your desires? Certainly not. What is important is that they should not be perceived as disguised orders, which is too often the case, but as a non-binding invitation that means: “I would like you to heed my request, but I will love you just as much if you don’t. You are free, and if you do, it is not out of obligation, it is a gift, a gift of the love you have for me.”