As a psychotherapist and life coach, hundreds of clients come through my door. They have come to me for coaching or therapy. Most people that come to me in my practice want to change their “significant other” in some way. Even with the most ‘in love’ couples, one or both would like to change a few things about the other. “If only they would change this or that”. “If only they would do this and not do that”. The truth is you are fooling yourself if you really believe that you can change another person. The only person you can change is yourself, your reactions, and that’s hard enough!
We all want to be loved. We want it unconditionally. No one wants to feel that they can only be loved if they change, according to the other people’s desires. We must ‘let go’ of trying to fix the other person as per their need. This formula is doomed to fail.
Most people, that I have come across in my life, and in my and practice, want to change their loved ones, in some way. If only they would change this or that. If only they would do this and not do that. The truth is, you are fooling yourself if you really believe that you can change another person. The only person you can change is yourself, your reactions, and that’s hard enough!
A wonderful and strong relationship is one where we accept the other person the way they are. We give them the freedom to be themselves. A good and healthy relationship can bring out the best in someone, allowing them to grow at their own pace, not ours. In addition, when we focus on a problem, we hold it in mind, and the constant awareness tends to make it persist.
What happens when you let go of controlling your spouse?
When we, ‘let go’ of wanting to control someone, somehow, just in letting go, we give them the freedom to change, if they wish to. They do not feel manipulated or pressured, quite the contrary, they are free to change or not to change. In my experience, when I let go of the desire to control, one of three things happen.
- Sometimes, I see that they really don’t have to change. I can totally accept them the way they are, and, at the same time, feel okay about it.
- I realize that I have the freedom to leave the relationship or to stay, it’s my choice. A person is never really trapped, being trapped can only be a feeling!
- By giving the person the freedom to not change, they sometimes, see something and decide to change it themselves. It’s amazing. By doing this, whatever happens, you know you’re fine.
We must always, even if we don’t agree, see the other person’s point of view. It may be very different from yours, but everyone has a point of view. Be open to the way they see something, and ‘let go ‘of wanting to be right all the time. Sometimes being right can destroy or damage a relationship. In the end, being right does not matter, happiness and love do.
Another thing is to be sure that you, let go of your own negative and limiting thoughts about relationships. Thus, not bringing the past into your present one. The process of ‘Letting go’ is incredible. It can happen automatically and is the most liberating feeling in the world.
To sum up, it’s about acceptance. From there, miracles can happen.
Remember the prayer of Serenity?
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
-The Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr
By ‘letting go’, you have a much better chance of seeing what you can and cannot change and being able to move on if necessary.
My recommendation is to try to laugh more, to love more. Apologize when needed and ‘let go’ of what can’t be changed and accept the person for who they are.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.