How can this program help if my partner doesn’t participate?

You may be in a marriage or relationship in which your partner has no interest in marriage therapy or actively changing thing to improve the relationship. Or worse, your partner SAYS he will change things but nothing ever happens- things stay the same.

What can you do? Fact is, if your marriage has a good foundation, and you basically still love each other, there is a lot you can do before pulling the plug- even if your partner doesn’t join the dance.

Try not to lose hope even though you feel alone in trying to fix the relationship. I have had many cases where much more progress was made working with one partner than seeing them as a couple.

Why, you may ask, should you do it all? Shouldn’t it be 50-50?

Not necessarily, it depends on lots of things, but here are some important points to consider:

  • 1. Maybe you are more capable of change than your partner is. For instance, Your partner may have OCD which limits how flexible they can be in certain situations – like insisting that he kitchen be sanitized after cooking. You, on the other hand, can freely choose to be cleaner or not.
  • 2. Maybe your partner feels they compromised already to you on another issue- and now it is your turn (in their eyes). For instance, maybe she agreed to to limit spending on Ebay and now it is your turn to concede that your college age daughter can now leave him and live in a sorority.
  • 3. All partners must decide if the anger and resentment build up over an issue is worth the death of the marriage. If you decide that it is not worth it anymore, you should consider using a different approach to influence your partner to change.

I know you probably feel you have indeed tried everything and nothing works, but I am willing to bet you that that is not true

So, let’s experiment.

For the next 30 days pretend that you are an experimental psychologist who is going to do an experiment on your partner to see if you can influence him/her enough to change/modify a behavior that really bothers you about them.

Let’s use the example of your partner spending too much money and refusing to stick to a budget that you have both agreed upon. You have tried for 10 years to get him/her to spend less money but they are almost addicted to that ATM machine. You are always broke at the end of the mmonth even though the family income is extremely high and you should have plenty of money.

Let’s suppose you have tried “everything”- reason, budgets, shaming, yelling, insulting, lecturing, threats to leave, overspending yourself to get even, etc.

These tactics have not worked for you. In fact, thingshav egotten worse because now there is a “critical-parent” “defiant child” thing going on where you feel like his/her parent instead of an equal spouse.

These tactics don;t work because they are based on trying to CONTROL your partner instead of INFLUENCING them. That is, you are trying to make them do what you want them to do without their permission to make that change. And, when people feel controlled, they tend to rebel, be defiant, and exert their own autonomy.

Back to our experiment……

For the next 30 days