It’s possible to get into the habit of having bad habits! As strange as that sounds, it can be easy to sink into a rut. Bad habits tend to come in bunches and it can be hard to get out of them. However, changing your bad habits can help you change your marriage.
How Bad Habits Impact Your Marriage
A handful of bad habits can negatively impact your marriage. An example of this can be seen in Jim’s story. Jim was a 46 year old man who had been married to Katherine for 15 years. Over the years, Jim had developed some bad habits.
Jim worked hard at the office and when he came home, he spent some time with their two children before they went to bed. He then spent the rest of the evening sitting on the couch in front of the television. Over time, weight had crept up on him and he didn’t exercise or eat healthy. He had poor sleeping habits as well. He often fell asleep in front of the television in the evenings and then had difficulty sleeping at night.
Jim felt like his marriage was “good.” It wasn’t great but he felt like he was providing well for his family and the consequence was that he was often tired and lacked quality time with his wife. He accepted this and felt like it was probably as good as it was going to get.
When Jim’s doctor expressed concern about his weight gain, Jim decided to take action. He improved his eating habits greatly. He began to go to the gym early in the morning before he went to work. As a result, he had more energy throughout the day but was tired at bedtime. He spent more time with his wife in the evenings and instead of falling asleep in front of the television, they went to bed together. Jim reported his marriage improved greatly and it motivated him to put more effort into making his marriage the best it could be.
Making a change can often trigger a domino effect. Improving other areas of your life can motivate you to address problems in your relationships. Personal improvements can help you to be a better partner and can make for a happier, healthier marriage.
How to Make Lasting Change
Changing your habits is hard work. It won’t happen overnight. It takes time, patience, and a lot of effort.
It’s important to take a look at your motivation to change. If you are changing only because your spouse wants you to, it’s likely that your efforts won’t lead to long-lasting changes. To make real change, you need to be willing to put in the time and effort for yourself.
Create a plan before just jumping and making changes. Create some action steps for yourself and write them down. For example, don’t just say “I want to be healthier.” Ask yourself, what does that mean? What will I need to start doing differently? Then create a plan for how you can make that happen. For example, if you want to walk for 30 minutes each day, when will you find the time? Find strategies to overcome the obstacles.
Once you have a solid plan in place, then start to make those changes. Expect that there will be some obstacles along the way. When you encounter a problem, don’t give up! Find ways to solve them. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake. If you miss out on exercising for one week, don’t give up. Just get back to it as soon as you can.
Working Together With Your Spouse
Talk to your spouse about the changes you want to make. Gaining support from your spouse can be very helpful. Your spouse can also help you be accountable for following through with your goals.
As you make some changes to improve yourself, it’s likely you’ll see some positive changes in your marriage as well. Changing your habits may also give you new energy and new motivation to try and make your marriage the best you can. Creating change is worth the effort when you see positive outcomes in the end.