Want to Stop Arguing and Change Spouse's Behavior? Start With Mirror

Posted on January 17, 2014

lIlustrations by Tanya Lam. wsj

Ever want to change something about your partner? Get him or her to eat better or work less? Exercise more? Stop nagging or yelling? Start with a mirror.

Your best chance of transforming someone else—and the dynamic in your relationship—is to demonstrate your willingness to alter your own actions, experts say.

The good news, this kind of change isn't as hard as you think. Studies show that when a person is motivated to be in a relationship and wants it to work, he or she will readily change to be more like their partner. Often, they don't even know they are adjusting their own behavior.

Therapists say the most effective change you can make is to the way you react to things that bother you about your partner. We all have "triggers" that prompt us to have outsize negative reactions.

The emotional response usually has very little to do with the trigger itself. "This is where the stupidity comes in," says Jessica Gelson, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. "He left his sock on the floor, therefore he doesn't care about me. I don't matter." It's important to understand what triggers you and why, and to change your response.

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Category(s):Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions, Relationships & Marriage

Source material from Wall Street Journal