Kurt was frustrated during the first follow up meeting about two weeks after the Marriage Intensive. “I’ve changed but she doesn’t see it.”
Kurt had settled into a pattern over the six years of marriage that told Maria that she was not very important. He focused on work, leaving the house early without saying goodbye, not texting or calling her during the day and becoming frustrated when she reached out to him, coming home late and expressing his disgust if she asked him to help with chores or the kids, complaining if the house was not picked up or if his laundry was not done, and expressing his displeasure with their sex life.
During the Marriage Intensive, his eyes were opened to all that he was doing that was contributing to them feeling like they had a loveless marriage. He made commitments to connect with her more frequently, communicate his appreciation for her and all she does, touch her in non-sexual ways more frequently, help out with the chores, and spend time connecting with her other than sexually.
In the follow up meeting, they both reported that he was doing all that he committed to do. When he said that he did not feel like she was treating him any differently, she said, “I don’t know if you are doing this because you knew we were going to have another session or if you are doing this because you have really changed.”
The Change Cycle
It is a common complaint we have heard over the years in our work with couples. It is because there is a cycle to the change process that, once you understand, will allow you to give it time to work.
- Someone in your life tells you something about yourself of which you have been totally unaware. You see the need for change in your life. You notice where you are stuck and not Christ-like.
- You embark on learning how to live differently. Sometimes you seek counseling and work on the deepest wounds in your life. You develop a commitment to a plan to move forward in a new way.
- You do what you have committed to do. You begin to change, imperfectly, and notice how much better you are.
- Others still treat you the same way. They treat you the way they have always treated you. You don’t see immediate results in how others treat you. You feel discouraged.
- You persist in being the person God made you to be. Over time, others begin responding to the person you have become instead of the person you have been for so long. It feels as if you have arrived and you are happy.
- You notice something else that you have never noticed before in yourself and you repeat the whole process over again.
Don’t Give Up
Here’s what you need to remember as you make changes in your life.
- The best predictor of behavior is past behavior. Others in your life expect you to continue to act like the old you. The more you live out of the new you, the more others will see that the new you is a pattern of behavior they can expect from you.
- You only change the way they interact with you by being consistent in the new you. If you become inconsistent with the change, they will continue to expect you to behave in the old pattern.
- Persist in the new you to get the results from others you are seeking. Too many people give up before they see the impact of the change in their lives. If you keep being the new you, you will eventually begin receiving a new reaction from others.
- Be the new you regardless of others. If the change you are making is primarily motivated by changing someone else, you will give up before you see the change in them. Be you at your best because you want to be the best you that you can be.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Have you ever made personal changes and had others in your life treat you the same way they have always treated you? Have you ever experienced the change cycle? What has helped you maintain the changes in your life? How have you handled when others have not been supportive of the changes you are making in your life? What other suggestions you would add to this article? Do you know someone you need to forward this article to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.