Can a Spouse Actually Change?

A number of things lead to relationship woes. Sometimes a spouse can have bad hygiene, poor habits, or poor relationship skills that can drive the other mad. The frustrated person wishes for change and feels it’s just a dream.

If you are unsure whether change can ever actually become a reality, take comfort in knowing that a spouse can change.

Change is very possible in practically every case imaginable, whether you’re hoping to change a bad habit (knuckle cracking, wet towels on the floor, or passing gas), outlandish actions (exaggerating stories, being drunk, or criticizing others in public), or poor lifestyle decisions (spending too much, using sex as manipulation, or not communicating enough).

As long as both people are fully committed to the relationship, there should be no reason why change cannot become a reality. You don’t have to believe the old saying, ‘you can’t teach an old dog a new trick.’

In fact, have confidence in knowing that change isn’t just possible, but very likely if both members of the marriage are committed to making it happen.

Can a spouse actually change? Here are five methods that say yes and five ways to help you and your spouse create change:

Open Communication

One of the most important aspects of any marriage is open communication. Remember how it all started? One of you approached the other, and then you shared your feelings. You talked a lot and got to know each other. Soon after, you became the best of friends, fell in love with each other, and married.

Do you realize that communication was the foundation on which your relationship started? It should also be the thread that weaves your future together.

So what is open communication? Open communication is when both of you are able to share your thoughts and feelings. it’s when both of you are able to freely give and receive constructive criticism, and it’s when both of you are able to work through problems together until they are resolved.

Willingness to Change

If you aren’t willing to change, then change simply won’t happen. Change has to be a decision, not something forced. One partner can hope for all the change in the world, but unless the other is willing to make it happen, there will be many difficulties to overcome.

Willingness from change begins by realizing there is a problem and taking personal responsibility. Until your partner is able to agree on the problem, it won’t be overcome.

When both partners are willing to accept criticism and work on their flaws, the relationship will benefit. Nobody is perfect, but by making an effort to do better, you can certainly improve your current relationship.

Commitment to the Marriage

Many of the biggest problems in relationships result from a lack of commitment. Being committed to the relationship means more than making dinner, being able to afford necessities, and having a roof over your heads. Being committed to the marriage means that you are willing to do everything it takes to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today.

Sure, there will be setbacks, but if you’re always working towards a brighter future and unsatisfied with staying stagnant, then you will certainly be able to create the change that you want to see.

Positive Attitude

Sheri and Bob Stritof of’s marriage section say that ‘many people find that replacing a bad habit with a positive behaviour is easier than just stopping the bad habit.’

A positive attitude can go a long way towards improving your marriage. I’ve heard people say that smiling is contagious and it’s true. If you are always positive and doing your best to make your spouse happy, then your spouse will be much more inclined to do the same for you.

When both partners are acting in a positive way, the faults become less important and easier to fix. That wet towel on the floor will be picked up without a fight, the bossiness will slow down before dwindling away, and whatever other problems you notice will become much smaller and easier to manage.


Some problems are simply too big to be fixed on their own. Marital abuse, cheating, and other issues can cause severe emotional damage. This type of thing can only be overcome with professional help.

Counsellors are trained to help people with serious problems – it’s what they do. If you or your partner has something that seems impossible to deal with on your own, then don’t try to fix it by yourself get the help you need.

Many issues cause problems in relationships, but if you put the work into making the relationship better, then it will improve. Sure, the little things can add up over time. The first time your partner leaves their laundry on the ground is not such a big deal. When it becomes a habit, it gets more annoying. It all begins by making a decision to be happy together. Without that decision, nothing can happen.

These bad habits will quickly wash away by communicating your feelings, being willing to work on things, being committed to each other, and having a positive attitude. Make a commitment to do everything you can to better your relationship and realize that the little things aren’t such a big deal.

Can a spouse actually change? Absolutely. Change isn’t always an easy thing; in fact, it is often one of the toughest things to ask of a person. But if the relationship is the most important thing in both of your lives, then you will realize that change is worth it in the long run.



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