Deciding What to Work On In Yourself and Criteria
- List 3-4 things your spouse complains about in you.
- Focus on how you are in the relationship—rather than just specific behaviors. (e.g., not considerate rather than “sloppy.)
- Look at the kernel of truth in each of these complaints, again, focusing on the relationship parts, not just your behavioral quirks.
- Add anything else you would put on the list of potential areas of improvement in yourself as a spouse.
Criteria for choosing your personal agenda for change
- Meaningful to both partners
- It’s meaningful enough for me to take personal ownership
- I have reason to believe that my changing here would be good for my spouse—would help him/her feel more loved, respected, or like a full partner
- I think it’s something I could improve in myself
- I would benefit personally from making this change—shouldn’t be just “complying” with the spouse’s expectation
- The relationship would likely benefit
- Involves positive behavior and not only the absence of negative
- Doing more of something he/she likes
- Trying a new behavior
- Substituting a positive behavior for a negative one
- Practicing a new attitude (e.g., gratitude) rather than just trying not to be negative
- It’s about my changing, not my spouse changing
- Progress in the sort run on my end would not require spouse to shift behavior
- My effort would not require the spouse to notice and praise
- Small changes could make a difference
- A trajectory of change rather than an immediate transformation