You’ve had revelations about yourself and your life in the recent past whether it’s months or years and have transformed.
You so desperately want to share this journey with your partner.
They are simply not on the same train as you, and while you don’t want to say it’s heartbreaking because you still have hope, you can’t help but feel a little sad about the whole situation.
How do you talk your partner into self-improvement?
You’re not pointing fingers or placing blame, but rather, you have taken responsibility and you can see where maybe you haven’t always done what’s best for the relationship.
You own that.
And the last thing you want to do is twist your partner’s arm into doing something they don’t really want, but you can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want to improve themselves since once you get on that path of self-growth and development, you know you’ll never get off.
You’d love to have them walking beside you.
When you grow and transform, and upgrade yourself and your life in general, you want your partner to come along with you.
So what do you do?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Be mindful of the likelihood that you may start to sound condescending (and try not to).
Even the title of this post is condescending. See how easy it is to sound like an arrogant jerk?
Suddenly you’re this enlightened being and are telling them how they need to join you as you walk the path!!??
It’s tricky territory.
Don’t say how “it would be good for you to be more self-aware,” or any of that because they will likely feel not good enough according to your standards, rejected, insulted and most likely quite angry!
Make sense? So be mindful of the tone and how easily you can slip into condescending territory even if you don’t mean it that way.
What’s the alternative?
2. Get vulnerable + honest
In other words: get selfish.
What!? Since when has being vulnerable and honest been selfish?
When you are honest and up front about what’s important to you and your needs (from a genuine place), this is kind of like being selfish, right?
Why do you want your partner to jump on the self-improvement train with you?
Some reasons may be:
- You care about them and want them to be happy
- You don’t want to be around someone negative or irritable all the time
- You’re scared you’re outgrowing your relationship
Underneath it all, it’s probably because you’re feeling disconnected and simply wish to reconnect.
And You 2.0 only want the best for yourself which includes a deeply connected and quality relationship.
So you need your partner to get on board.
When it comes down to it, you care deeply about them, your relationship, and want more for both of you.
Something feels like it’s lacking or missing, and you know you can do better together.
You love your partner and want them close to you.
A part of you is deeply sad for what you feel you’ve lost together, and feels badly for what you’ve done to contribute to decay of your connection. You’re willing to do whatever you need to recreate a strong foundation together, but you can’t do it alone.
They have to be willing.
In other words:
You’re asking for their help.
If that’s how you feel, you have to say it. With humility, and from your heart, not from a perfectly thought out script you wrote in your head.
Selfish, I know.
I also know you don’t want to strong arm them into anything, you want them to want to improve themselves and your relationship too.
But here’s the problem with that:
A part of them may have given up, a part of them may not be able to fathom putting their heart back into the game, a part of them may be terrified.
And it’s easier to just stay in the same old comfort zone than to risk being vulnerable and getting hurt all over again. So they may not show any desire or interest in self-improvement.
So what else you need to do is:
3. Take a stand
In other words, don’t allow their doubt and self-protection to be a wall between the two of you and the two-of-you-2.0. Don’t let that fear stop you from taking your stand and making your case, ripping your heart out of your chest and handing it to them, even though they may not be ginger or sweet with it, saying “here’s what I need from you to be open to.”
Just because they aren’t skipping their way off to couples therapy doesn’t mean there isn’t a part of them that’s willing to give it a shot.
And speaking of couples therapy, make sure that they understand what that’s all about in case that’s part of the ideal plan (and honestly, it should be part of the plan if you are struggling in your relationship).
Make sure they aren’t buying into any of the many myths that exist about couples therapy (and here’s a post on 10 of the most common myths about couples therapy, debunked.)
—> Quick note, I’ve been seeing online sites lately that say “traditional marriage counseling doesn’t work,” so that they can sell you their relationship programs. If you do the right kind of marriage counseling, that has been rigorously tested and scientifically proven to help couples (unlike many of the online relationship programs that are claiming it doesn’t work), it has the power to completely transform your relationship in ways that no information product could ever touch.
I’m not necessarily dissing on any of these relationship programs online because I am not familiar with them, and I think there are countless resources online and offline that are extremely helpful, but I am dissing the false claims they are using to help them sell their products. I saw this 2X in 2 days so I have to say something about it! *** OK OFF MY SOAPBOX 🙂
Couples therapy isn’t your only option by far, but I know it can help, and doing something together might be far more powerful than doing it alone.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments and what worked for you to get your partner on board.
Remember, you can’t change anyone, but you can effect people in wildly different ways based on your approach.
To your best relationship,
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