Controlling Your Partner Doesn’t Work

When we human beings are unhappy, our first response is to blame whomever seems to be the source of our unhappiness. “He doesn’t pay enough attention to me.” “She cares more about the children than me.” “He doesn’t help me arount the house or with the kids.” “She always seems to be unhappy with me.” “She drinks too much.” “He works such long hours.”

All of those statements and more may be true about your partner. The questions is, are your attempts to force change working? Is your nagging, complaining or silent treatments creating the change in behavior that is your goal? Or can you take responsibility for yourself?

Evaluate the Results of Your Strategy

How many times have you told him what you want from him? Did anything change? What has been the result of your complaints to your wife? Has she changed her behavior toward you?

Rather than blaming your partner for being stubborn or not caring, take a few steps away from the situation and be your own researcher. Examine the results. When you complain, does it improve the energy between you or make it worse? When you blame him for being uncaring, does he move closer to you or emotionally distance himself? Viktor Frankl said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Successful Strategies Increase Emotional Closeness

This week I interviewed Laura Amador, who, when she was unhappy with her marriage, decided to do her own research. She tried communication methods and other behaviors that were recommended by well known marriage counselors. Nothing worked until she found the work of Laura Doyle in her book, The Empowered Wife. By putting the Six Intimacy Skills into practice, without her husband’s knowledge or active participation, she began to see the changes that she’d been longing for.

Now Laura Amador is a trained coach helping thousands of wives create the marriage they want. These courageous wives are getting outstanding results by adopting a few simple strategies that are causing their husbands to want to please them, become more affectionate, help more around the house…even becoming better fathers. This is happening by their willingness to change their own behaviors. It is not manipulation, subtle control or unlimited sex! This is learning what makes the heart of a man turn toward you with love and generosity.

What’s the Magic?

First…SURPRISE!…it’s healthy SELF-Care. You begin taking care of yourself…doing the things that bring you pleasure and joy. Is it craft projects? Reading a book while curled up on the sofa? Taking a bubble-bath? When you promise yourself a mani-pedi you follow through…keep your word to yourself. You assume responsibility for your own happiness in ways that nourish you.

STOP waiting for your husband to make you happy!

Another step may be harder. You begin to notice and verbally acknowledge and appreciate what your husband is doing right. When you are in compaint and blame mode, you tend to only see what you don’t like. Force your brain into some different channels. What is a character trait that you can genuinely appreciate in him? Tell him so. “You are so faithful to go to your job day after day. I love how responsible you are.” If you see him do something kind with one of your children, acknowledge it. “I saw you help Johnny with his bicycle tire. That was really sweet of you.”

MODULE ONE of Millonaire Marriage Club

Module One in Millionaire Marriage Club asks you to force your attention on what is good about your partner, and stop repeating the broken record in your head about all the things that are wrong. When couples I’m coaching take the 5 Love Lanuages Quiz, the majority of men score Words of Affirmation as their primary love language. Many wives resist doing the homework assignment of giving an appreciation to their partner every day. They ask, “Why should I when he won’t do what I ask?” But imagine for a moment than when you take this relatively small step toward pleasing your husband’s need for respect, it opens a door that leads to you getting your needs met!

A therapist I interviewed this morning, Mark Verber, made an important point. He said, “It’s in your own best interests to meet the needs of your spouse because that frequently leads to your spouse being far more willing to meet your needs.” Marriage is a reciprocal partnership. What one does powerfully affects the contribution that the other one makes…or refuses to make.

Husbands, This Concept Works for You, Also!

I’ve had two husbands love their wives back into a loving, healthy marriage when they had already either moved out or asked for a divorce. These husbands were willing to make changes in their own behavior that won back the hearts of their wives. Michelle Weiner Davis has built her whole counseling career on working with only the partner who wants to save the marriage. When nothing else is working, change yourself!

You have my love and support,