Change is inevitable in love and those that will make love work must be masters of the art of change. Yesterday, we established that to handle predetermined changes you have to accept them. To handle prejudicial changes, you have to renounce them and to handle principle centered changes, you have to assert them. Today we intend to focus on how to implement changes practically in your love life.
CHANGE IS A PROCESS NOT JUST AN EVENT: Many lovers would sincerely want their partners to change overnight but that is seldom possible. What you must realize is that your partner has been the way they are longer than you have been together. It will take longer than the expression of your grievance, to completely effect the desired change. This is why patience and perseverance is crucial to the change management process in love. I have also noticed that gradual incremental changes are more sustainable than sudden radical ones. This however doesn’t mean that a lover should use the process oriented nature of change as an alibi or excuse for staying the same. Principle oriented changes often require a prompt resolve for transformation backed up by reasonable action.
- VIEW YOUR PARTNER’S STRUGGLE WITH CHANGE THROUGH THE PRISM OF YOUR PERSONAL STRUGGLES WITH CHANGE: How many of us know that we need to change and yet struggle with the implementation of such personal changes in our lives? If it is that difficult to implement personal changes in our lives imposed internally, you can begin to imagine how difficult it would be to facilitate externally imposed changes in our partners. One first century theologian captures this personal struggle with change, when he said “for that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate that do I”. Realizing that change is a process births patience with your partner. Viewing your partner’s weaknesses through the prism of your personal weaknesses births understanding and empathy in you for them
- COMMUNICATE ACCEPTANCE AND NOT REJECTION: When desiring changes in our partners, there is a tendency to communicate rejection instead of acceptance. This rejection is communicated through counter productive behaviors like nagging, complaining, anger, moodiness, and silent treatment. All of such issues are bound to complicate matters without facilitating change. What works is the communication of acceptance. The message here is to let you partner know that you accept their person, without necessarily approving of their negative behavior. This ability to distinguish acceptance from approval is a vital yardstick of maturity in love.
- BE LASER-SPECIFIC ABOUT THE DESIRES CHANGES YOU WANT TO SEE IN YOUR PARTNER: What we often do is hope that our partners get the message of our displeasure through our negative reactions. But reactions my friend, is not communication. One of the signs of babyhood is that a baby’s only mode of communication is reaction. So if a baby wants to eat,he or she cries, if he or she is hot, they cry, if they have defecated, they cry. These sometimes leads to confusion and guess work as to what the problem really is with them. Many couples carry these babyish tendencies into their relationships. Such people won’t articulate the changes they desire in clear words rather, they become reactionary by being moody or silent and the likes. Your moods can’t change anything. You must develop the maturity to communicate intelligently what your grievances are and the specific changes you want to see in your lover,so that you can both arrive at consensus regarding them.
- GIVE CONSTANT ENCOURAGEMENT: It has been proven that encouragement is the enabling environment for speedy change. It is one thing to desire change, it is another thing entirely to create an enabling environment for change. Except we create a loving, trusting and believing environment for change to take place in love, it won’t. Such transformational environments must be criticism free, sarcasm free and condemnation free, for change to take place.
- APPRECIATION: All human beings are like their creator in that, we are all praise sensitive. Years ago, author Kenneth Blanchard recommended the value of catching your partner doing something right vis- a-vis the downside of seeking to catch them doing something wrong. If in the change process you catch you lover making efforts to change and you reward them with praise. They are most likely to repeat such actions. Praise works better and faster than criticism works in changing our lovers. We should master it.
- BE A MODEL OF RAPID CHANGE PERSONALLY: We should almost never let our partner have to correct us twice over a single issue. I often joke that the only reason why an instruction has to be repeated twice or thrice is if the person is suffering from partial or permanent deafness. Since this isn’t the case with most of us, we must be swift to hear, slow to speak,slow to wrath and prompt to change. Our promptness to change is often times a powerful inspiration for change in our partners.
AVOID COMPARISON: We also must avoid the tendency to compare our partners with any other in a bid to provoke change. It will only create rivalry and a determination to stay the same.
All things being equal, the integrated application of these principles will bring about lasting changes in our partners, provided that we made a reasonable choice in love. And if your choice of a lover is unreasonable, hmmm. What can I say?
THE GREATEST IS LOVE!!!
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