Yes… within reason. Change is inevitable, desirable for you, for “Brad” and for your marriage. It’s all a matter of degree, I told “Melissa.” It does need to go both ways; your husband has to be willing to bend some, too.

Changing small things about yourself to please your partner is part of succeeding in any loving relationship.

 Melissa, challenged me:

“But in your last blog post, Dr. Linda, you wrote about how important it is for love-partners to have personal boundaries.”

It’s all a matter of compromise, I explained.

“Brad’s changed… I don’t think I can do anythingto please him any more.

“He criticizes me for being late, doesn’t like that I cut my hair short and then has the nerve to refuse to shave off his own facial hair. Now he says he’s now a vegetarian and he hates my cooking.

“Compromise? He doesn’t know about that.”

Brad turned fifty this year, an “uh-oh” time for many men. He admits he’s not the man he was… and says he doesn’t ever want to be that guy anymore.

“I have changed,” he says, “and she hasn’t.”

But, Melissa and Brad agree that they have been “mostly happy” for thirteen years, together.

They have a wide network of friends and family, are part of a spiritual community and share two beautiful kids.



This marriage needs a swift re-boot.

They care enough to face their fear of what it would mean to lose each other, which is why they say they’ve come for counseling.

“I do want things to be different for us,” says Melissa.

Her words are music to my professional ears.

Each, in their own way, seems capable of embracing the concept and value of “change”.

Many sessions and serious soul searching later, Melissa and Brad face their personal change-challenge, head-on.




They’ve come to understand:

  • how letting go of some complaints and imperfections in each other, may allow joy and laughter back into their home.
  • that real change happens when you change yourself… not others.



If you want a change from your spouse, make sure that you, yourself are clear about what exactly it is that you want. And then ask for “whatever” simply and directly.


(This next part may be the hardest challenge.)


Your goal is to be certain that your partner understands how important… and why… “whatever” is so important to you.

Then when you lover counters, (unless you want him to be your ex- lover), check your anger. Take a time-out and tell him you will think about the requests he’s making.

Be honest with yourself. Are you willing to make the change he is asking for? You’ll need to avoid editorializing about the unreasonableness of his requests.


Save your power for bigger issues. Let go of the small stuffy annoyances in your relationship.

(Melissa, if you consider letting you hair grow to please him, Brad may be inspired to shave.)

That’s just an example, of course.

Is he lovable enough to compromise? Is she valuable enough to you, to hold on tight and make some changes yourself?

You know better than I do.



Thanks For Visiting,

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