In this episode, we discuss some things regarding change. Can people change? How long does it take to change? What if I change but my spouse doesn't?
We believe change is possible.
Change is possible but focus is required. - Mike Ashcroft
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Do you Want to Change?
Welcome to Episode 16 of amplified marriage. Today we are talking about and people change.
Welcome to another fantastic episode of amplified marriage. My name is Brian, my name is Natalie, so glad that you can join us wherever you are. Whatever you're doing. grab a coffee. Have a seat with your headphones. Today we're going to talk about Can people change?
Now? I'm just kidding. Yes. Wow, yes, they can
just do like the whole episode would have been shot, right? They're like, No, we don't believe that they can
later. We do believe that people can change.
Yeah. And we are living proof
think living proof. Yeah, absolutely. You've heard some of our story. If you listen to our podcast, if not, I would encourage you to go back and listen.
Oh, we actually lost one one of the things that we should actually dive into sort of what went wrong. Right after we got married, that'll be another podcast. That's a good idea where we actually go into our story of what went wrong. Instead of giving you a little snippets.
Good thought good thought actually would be really good episode. Do we really want to rehash all of that stuff? Yeah, we do. Okay, so I didn't
know other people's benefit. Because you know, what, when we were going through
those challenges in those difficulties, we felt like we were the only ones Yeah.
That were going through it. No other church people know, their church. No
one was talking about relational issues. And if if there was it always boil down to you don't load Jesus enough, right. Or you're not having enough sex like those. Those two, there seem to be the two topics. That's right.
Yeah. Oddly enough. So Well, back to our regular scheduled programming, we do believe that people can change, I think there's this assumption that, especially in marriages, will say, especially in marriages, because even in our case that we're gonna kiss and make up and also you're gonna snap your fingers. And all of a sudden life is different. And it was a magic, African abracadabra and your suppose is different.
Yeah, that's, that's disappointing when you're faced with the reality that that's not.
And then the thing is, is that you're trying to snap your fingers to well established well built over time, well reinforced bad patterns. Yes. In some cases.
That's true. And well, in my case, I was trying to wave the magic wand to change you. Yeah. And was incredibly frustrated when you wouldn't change but had nothing to do with the fact that I needed to change you need to start with me.
Well, and and even if we think back to it, we hear all the time you hear in movies that people get hurt, and you see the relationships fail, and the marriages fail, or someone pulls the same shenanigans that they always have done. And they always say in the movies, people can't change. That's actually kind of what tweaked us to this particular topic is people can't change and I was actually I am who I am and I'm never going to change which I think is malarkey. See good word use. Yeah, malarkey. I heard this actually from my mother. She actually is reading a book by Mike Ashcroft and it's called my one word. And it says this change is possible. But focus is required. If you want to change, have any kind of change really is possible. Yeah. But you really have to focus and you really have to put effort into doing what you do need to do to change.
That's right. And focus on what you contribute to the situation, right, you contribute to the falling apart?
Because it's really one sided.
Absolutely. And there's a little story that we found on on john Gottman website, and he's a really famous and well regarded marriage counselor, him and his wife. And they said, there's a little story said, Billy and Mary are both waiting for the other person to change. And it says, Billy says this, I've been miserable. For years, I've asked Mary to give me my space. But things don't appear to be changing. It feels like I can't breathe. Billy has some friends over every weekend. Mary says he doesn't consider my knees and I feel so alone. Oh, and something that we've heard all through our times that we've coached couples over the last few years, is that he's not the man or the woman that I married.
Yep. I said that. Yeah.
You said like immediately after the honeymoon or onset honeymoon,
and we'll dive deeper into that topic when we actually go into our story. But he's not the man I married.
Oh, that's a good one and such a good one. Some of the ones that another one is he didn't change, or he didn't change. And I did.
Exactly. And I think,
again, there, you have to both want the relationship to work. Yeah. It can't be it's not gonna work. If it's one sided, I mean, one will grow, right? And the other won't necessarily and then and then re like, you're not you're not any better. If you're both not wanting it to work, and you're both not choosing to grow,
grow in your own.
of like, taking responsibility for your issues. Yeah.
But growing together,
yeah, with both that same goal
in mind, I hope that makes sense.
Which leads to the next one, there's the no fault version of why it's not working as we grew apart,
right, which is just, that's just sloughing it off. It's just sweeping it under the rug. We just grew apart. No, people just don't grow apart. It takes effort to not communicate,
oh, man, it's the same house, it takes
effort to communicate well, but it also requires energy to choose not to communicate again, it's a choice, right, so
much work to ignore the other person in the house.
It is Yeah, especially when they want to talk to you.
Right. And there's something else is that we do realize that people can change when they really feel like their people can change when they feel like they're accepted, or they're loved or liked or cared for. Yeah, but when when people are feeling the pressure, of, of not have like your spouse, and you're insulting them or you're criticizing and the feedback is never positive feedback, no more unlikely that when they're under that kind of pressure, they're not going to change because you're not telling them what they can do better. You're pounding into them that they're terrible at what they're doing.
remember, it's not a business transaction,
right? It's coming. So
if I'm constantly nitpicking you, and nagging you for every little thing that you do wrong, that's not going to facilitate a healthy, vulnerable environment where you're going to be more apt to hearing Yeah, my concerns mean, like, I had no idea that I that I do that or that you felt like that, when I say that, or that you felt like that, when I do that. If it's if you've not created that healthy, a safe space, in order to have those conversations where, you know, I've affirmed you or whenever you're critiquing. There's the sandwich effect that we've done in ministry where, you know, you start off with with, man, your positive things, and then you kind of go into the Yeah, the issue maybe, and then you end on a positive note, right. And I think the same thing works. Like if, if you're coming at me from from sort of that approach,
I'm more apt to wanting to hear you out, and it will still sting. But
if you're doing it in with the attitude of I'm right, and you're wrong. People tend to just they feel like they're under attack or under siege, and they hide themselves. Yes,
I think to over the years, my approach to you
Sure change. But at the beginning, though, I think like you just dug your heels in and you fought back in
And the more that you pushed back, the more stubborn I got. And so it wasn't like, we were like two bulls. Neither one was going to give any ground was any ground, right? And we're just standstill. You're
Yes, I do have moments do
have moments. And here's something that is just as a side thing, instead of criticizing your spouse all the time, or enforcing the change or blaming them for everything. Maybe you should remind yourself of all the reasons why you appreciate them, or why you fell in love with them or why they make you smile and actually go to them and share that with them.
That's right. I it took me 12 years, it took me 12 years to the night. Well, I think it was 12 years. It was 10 between 10 and 12 years. Before I had an epiphany about that in my own marriage. And I wish that I would have maybe listened to the Holy Spirit earlier than that, because I'm sure he was speaking about my part to play in sort of why we were communicating so poorly. Yeah. Please don't wait 12 years. And if you're at that mark, then there's still time for and
reach out and ask for help. Yeah, reach out to us. And we would love to be able to walk you through that and coach you through that we've been there. It's not easy and we'd love to be able to help you
right like ladies, I just want to shout out there's club 31 ministries and proverbs 31 ministries that They've got blogs, they have YouTube videos, they are on Instagram. It's just an incredible ministry for women on how to love our husbands. Well. So Lisa Jacobsen she is the club 31 women, wife and she just her content has been absolutely influential in helping me come out of that rut and, and really looking at my spouse. Yeah, with new eyes.
Absolutely. Remember that.
vulnerability and intimacy go hand in hand. And I just want to kind of go back to the story a billion Mary. What they didn't really realize in that moment is they were weren't arguing about the time that they were spending together, is that they were they were not expressing their needs in a non blame full way. So instead of just, like coming to each other and saying, this is how I'm feeling, and this is what's going on, they were never making space, they never talking about it, they never communicating when they did it was like, hey, you're doing this wrong, and they're blaming each other. They never discussed what quality time actually meant, or what alone time or time together actually meant.
Exactly. I remember in our early years, you, you being the more social? Well, the more you absolutely being the more social of the two of us, in general, would always want to have people over. And I could never
by a romantic night in or whatever, because I could never be sure that you were coming home without without Craig or other friends or things like that, where you were gaming, or whatever it was that you were.
And the truth is, is I was doing that to hide having to spend that quality time with you. Because all we did was fight.
What, you know, this is news to me, I think it was kidding.
Well, it's kind of it was kind of an epiphany as to why I was doing it. At the time. I don't know that I was thinking about that. I'm like, if someone's there, she'll be nice. And we won't fight,
right. Except that when someone's there, then I'm in my room on my own.
You were you weren't always in your room. But yeah, the majority of the time because we were turtling. And we didn't want to have to spend time with each other.
Oh, man. And the real truth is, is here's just a few, a few things that we learned along the way. We're talking about change, and not trying to change your spouse.
No. And I think that was like, the head like the bulls that
was banging up against
each other just, um, came from that whole thing of like, I was so frustrated with Why aren't you changing? And then I would say or do things in order to modify or hope that you would get the hint, right? and modify the behavior, except that we don't want our spouses to modify their behavior. We want there to be a hard truth heart. 100%. Right.
You can and here's the truth. There's many times in our relationship that I was able to modify, said behaviors for for bursts. And then you go back to it, and then there was no forgiveness from you. Yeah. And then we just ended up falling back into the same pattern. So maybe it takes you two months, if you're that kind of person, or three months, or six months or a year. But if it's not a true heart transformation, and you're doing it out of a place of love and respect, and honor and integrity, and you're doing it just to make the other person Shut up. Yeah, you're never gonna get you're never going to change permanently. And yeah, and the truth is, sometimes we make a change, and it just sticks. Yeah, like that can happen. Yeah, it's less frequent. And it's not as obvious. And that may not, but oftentimes, if you're just doing a change for the sake of getting them off your back, it's not because you want to, it's because you want them to stop badgering you or stop talking or just leave me be
and that's not healthy. No. If you're not, if you're wanting to avoid a confrontation, because you're tired of it sort of going in circles, right? At some point, you're going to have to own the feeling behind it, and have that awkward conversation as difficult as it might be. Because the more that you keep sweeping it under the rug is just going to grow. Yeah. And oh boy is gonna turn into something that it you probably never intended it to turn into.
Because it's undealt. With
Yep. And all that to say is that change really starts with you. Yeah, if you're looking at your partner and blaming them for everything, without actually examining your own motives, or sometimes people just need to learn EQ emotional quotient, like how, like how much EQ Do you have, like, sometimes they're just not feeling that are not doing any self examination. They're not looking back, they're just blaming the other person and from a Like a man who's coached a lot of marriages, we've coached some really tough marriages over the years. I can tell you, a lot of times not all the time, but a lot of times this is a man's response to his wife. If we can link Think back to some relationships that we've coached. Yes, I can. I did the same thing. I blamed it all on Natalie. And I will tell you some of the hardest relationships to help bring back to a unity and harmony are the ones in particular what he says he wants to change. And I actually believe that he does, but he is so in the pattern of blaming the spouse for absolutely everything, even if she wasn't even present. For that situation. Yeah, she did something to me three weeks ago, and I communicated this way because of that, and they're holding on to this thing, and they're blaming the other person. And for those kind of guys, I have so little patience, no, I have to be direct and tell them you can need to man up, go straight. Go hard. Figure out your stuff, figure out why you can't take responsibility for your actions, stop blaming your parents and stop blaming your dog from five years ago, but step up and do the right thing by your your wife. So you can make that change.
And if it means seeking out professionals, then do it and seek professionals. Right. So
just before we go on on the other side of that is that those particular types of guys never want to seek other people's hope. Because they think that what they're doing is a Okay,
that's right. Yes. Because you don't know, let's just get down to it. No one wants to be wrong. ever change requires work? Oh, boy, change requires a sort of being honest with oneself know, where, where am I going wrong? Is it in my thoughts? Is it in my words? Is it an idea? Is it my past? Is it baggage that I've not? Is it is it a is a trauma from my childhood? There are multiple layers of why we find ourselves in the situation that we're in, right? So whatever it is, um, there has to be an owning or, or recognizing where it started. Yeah. And if you need a counselor to help you process, those kinds of issues to determine what the root is then do it like it's worth it? It's priceless. I'm better for it. Yeah. Because I sought out counseling to help me process.
And the thing is, is if you say, with your mouth, men, you say with your mouth, you say I value my marriage. But by your actions, you've refused to do anything that shows and shows your wife and by your actions refuse to do anything that actually shows them shows them that you value the marriage, right? They see through your facade so fast.
Oh, absolutely. And then what we've seen this to where, and we've lived it to where. So the pattern has been in just negative, a negative pattern after negative pattern. And then the one time that you demonstrated that things were different,
I wanted a gold star
and you wanted a gold star. And I was like, and I think I even said as much like what you want around you.
You You stepped up in this way, like big man.
That's one time. And so there had
been some trust issues. Yeah, right, you set a pattern for me not to be able to trust that you would follow through with your word. And then you'd get angry with me when I didn't validate or affirm your progress. Yeah, except, that's what it takes. It's not just a, an instantaneous, all of a sudden, now we just eliminate the last, in our case, two and a half years. And we just start from square one. Like there's there's a lot of things that we had to work through. It takes
time. Yeah. And it takes effort
on both parts. And part of a part of this is I blame makes you feel like you're good in those moments. But it does lead to long term resentment and long term anger. Yep. Just like we're not snapping your fingers in the marriage is better. What you're doing is by setting proper communication in place, you're setting up systems and habits that build your relationships, so you can deal with those issues and resentment and anger aren't the permanent setting of your relationship. Exactly.
And it's creating a safe space for you to come to me if you're well, now we're at that place where you can come to me in a safe place where I'm not just going to like tear you apart. Yeah, and vice versa. And then we've created the safe environment for our kids now. Yeah, where they see that that you know, Mom and Dad are gonna freak out about every little thing even though my face might look like I will in the moment but really making a conscious effort to not respond in a way that will force them
What's the word? Like? go inward?
Yeah. Just look inward. Yeah. And conflict is good. Good conflict, good, healthy conflict, good, proper, healthy, non critical not blaming problem solving conflict is not bad.
That's right. And I think it's important for your kids to see, you resolve conflicts in a healthy way. And
here's just a few things, just a few things that you can do to help you and you're supposed to change yourself before you try and change your spouse. And number one is,
be a better spouse. Don't don't write take this,
take the high road, this isn't one of those things like, maybe it is maybe I'm gonna say, work harder and suck less. Right? Is that one of those things, you taking responsibility for your actions, for your behavior for your tone of voice for the way you responded, and anger, that's you being a better spouse,
right, because I spent, we'll just go with 12 years, because I'm pretty sure it was the 12 year mark, of just kind of like, holding you responsible for everything for even though I might not have articulated verbally, I certainly felt it and thought it was a heart and in my mind, and it was embedded there. And it wasn't until I had a revelation about my own self, where I really started to see a change
an actual physical change. So
what you're saying is, is that when you took responsibility for your actions, yes. In our relationship, yes. Things changed for the relationship. That's
right. And it took a huge load of humble pie. For me to come to that place in my own heart where I was being honest with myself, and how nasty I had been, in my words towards you where it was not honoring and it was not esteeming you as my husband and and and who God created you to be right. It wasn't it was a double edged sword that was, you know, two sides. The double edged was poisonous, and it rained, it was not life giving it all but it took that huge moment where I needed to apologize. Right. After that, I noticed a change in my own heart toward you.
Yeah. And then. Yeah, and in that in though in in this same vein, there's a Dr. Harriet Lerner says in her marriage rules book. If you don't change your part in a stuck pattern, no change will ever occur. Oh, Lady Lou. Yeah, I'm worried doctor haircut that well said.
Number two, focus on the issues at hand. And I would love Natalie to explain this one.
Well, when we're talking about this,
ultimately, the goal is if if, as you know life is going on, and we're going on through our day, yeah, if there's a situation that arises to deal with it in a prompt manner, whether it be a misunderstanding or an unmet expectation, or just, I don't know, you irritated me, for whatever reason, to be able to say, hey, it really bothers me or I feel unheard, or whatever the dialogue might be in that specific moment so that we can deal with it. And then problem solve together and then move on. That's good, rather than, you know, the real issue at hand was six months ago. And a lot of things have compiled in six months, and then I just lose my cool over the fact that you didn't fill up the car with gas. Well, the issue wasn't really that Do you know what I mean? Like
it was six months and things you never communicated about?
focus on the issues as they come up. That's fine. Don't sweep them under the rug.
No. And it's your spouse. And if you're having trouble communicating, then that's something that maybe you too need to sit down and talk about, Hey, I feel like I feel like we were not on the same page. We're not really communicating. I feel in a healthy manner and what can How can I How can I help this? Yeah, that's right. Right. And make it a joint
effort. That's really good. Yeah. Number three is you hear about we set at all take responsibility for your actions. We are responsible for our words and our actions, period, dot stop
and have discussion and discussion.
We are not responsible for how other people receive that. But we are absolutely responsible to make sure that we're not delivering our woes in a nasty way. Like the we are responsible way to deliver the
way to deliver Bible says when when you're gonna when you're gonna communicate an issue. You do things in love. That's right. There's a way to communicate.
And in the moment, I might, I might have to take, you know, 20 minutes to gather my thoughts so that I'm in that headspace where I'm not gonna say the first thing that comes out of my mouth because 99.99% of the time, it's not kind, and
not the friendliest when we're in a no.
And I know that about myself. So I mean, knowing your spouse where, you know, Brian knows that, if I'm really upset, probably not a good idea to poke the bear in that moment.
I have done so you
have done so and it's not, it's not gone? Well, right. And so, I mean, I'm still responsible to, I chose to respond to such right. I didn't have to, I could have chosen not to. Again, I'm responsible for what comes
out of my mouth. You can't, I don't ever understand. When I hear people say, Oh, they made me so angry. I lost it. And violence happened. No, like I understand being pushed. And I think we're talking but that's a different thing. Where if you're, there's an addiction, or there's abuse, and physical abuse, or you need to seek help and get out. We're gonna keep saying that until the end of time. I'm talking about sure pushing me so far. And I lost my cool. I didn't exhibit self control. No, I didn't. And so I did something wrong. And I sin towards her by responding in violence, or a push or shove or using my size to intimidate her. That's on me because I lost self control,
right? And let the record show he has never ever, ever been physically violent. Ever. She scares me. I think one time, the one time, the whole thing we'll get into that when we talk about our story where you tried it, I just puffed up like a bird. I'm a girl, I'm gonna guess. And then I laughed out loud. But we'll get into that in a different. That's for next time podcast, apologizing to your spouse means that you're taking responsibility for the problem, even even if it's just a small amount of the problem. Not generalizing a Hey, I'm sorry for whatever I did last week, right? It's not gonna cut it. Yeah. And that's not that's not going to change the situation. That's just like, Oh, I did my duty. And yeah, let's move on. Because I don't really want to get to the nitty gritty of what actually happened.
And actually, I've started with the feelings and the emotions,
all the stuff that happy specific, yeah, hey, I'm sorry that I called you a dumb head. Or whatever. You know, it might be You're so insulting. I'm being game team. Right? I'm sorry, that I named called I, that was really immature of me. And you cannot take words back. That's the thing. Yeah, you can apologize for them in the most heartfelt way. But words hurt words cut deep. So I would rather look at you and choose in the moment to take, you know, 1015 minutes and have, you know, go for a walk or something like that. So that my words coming out of my mouth towards you can be life giving.
And our next one is complain without blame. A criticism attacks the court or a person with a complaint focus on very specific thing about the other that you do not like right
focuses on a behavior. Wow. Yeah. Um, and I feel like we've done both.
Yep. I'm sorry,
19 years, I feel like we've tried the criticism route. And it never really got us anywhere other than further in a rut?
I think, as we've sort of focused, we made the decision to stay together. And we made the decision that at all, whatever it cost, and there's a cost, there's a cost in your pride. There might be a financial cost with, like getting marriage counseling and things like that. But what is it worth? Right. And so to me, it was priceless. How, yeah, choosing a better way.
Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. And consider the other end, maybe consider maybe consider guys and girls, maybe consider that your spouse is doing the very best that they can in that moment. That's right. And that maybe they at that time, they don't know what they don't know. They may just not know and they're learning how to be better at what they're doing.
That's right and getting upset about a specific pattern of behavior. If you've never articulated Hey, that really hurts. How are they going to know? Yeah, and then how does that facilitate a healthy place for one to change? Absolutely. If you're holding things over their head that they have no idea,
they're holding on to so can change happen? Yes, we are living proof. change can happen. But it takes a personal ownership.
Absolutely in the hair just as a quick quick going back. He said Be A Better spouse. You can be a better suppose you take your responsibility for your actions, focus on the issues. Don't bring up stuff that happened six months ago that you didn't communicate with your spouse, and an argument that's happening at the present. Yeah, take responsibility for your actions and complain without blame. Just we can we can work things out. Just by not criticizing the other person's personal character about who they are but attack the the actual issue
that's right in that whole complaint without blame for every negative comment, it's right, that I say to my spouse or that you say to your spouse requires seven positive comments to counter that one negative,
absolutely. So that a lot of work on that we got a lot of work to do.
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recharged. Thanks for listening.