Want to Stop Arguing and Change Spouse’s Behavior? Start With Mirror

The Wall Street Journal:

Ever want to change something about your partner? Get him or her to eat better or work less? Exercise more? Stop nagging or yelling? Start with a mirror.

Your best chance of transforming someone else—and the dynamic in your relationship—is to demonstrate your willingness to alter your own actions, experts say.

The good news, this kind of change isn’t as hard as you think. Studies show that when a person is motivated to be in a relationship and wants it to work, he or she will readily change to be more like their partner. Often, they don’t even know they are adjusting their own behavior.

When Steve Miksis started dating Lori Bowden four years ago, he told her he was an introvert. He warned her that he hated parties and groups—his online dating profile said, “I don’t dance”—and liked mountain climbing and playing his guitar at home instead.

“This exacerbates their willingness to engage in this change,” says Erica Slotter, the lead researcher and an assistant professor of psychology at Villanova.

Therapists say the most effective change you can make is to the way you react to things that bother you about your partner. We all have “triggers” that prompt us to have outsize negative reactions.

Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal

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