Behaviors Change but Personalities Remain 

Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations about the changes their partner is going to make. Even if your partner agrees to make some behavioral changes, his personality is going to change. Our personalities are fairly well cemented by the time most people get married. Despite attempts to nag, punish, or beg, his personality is going to remain.

So what’s the difference between behavioral changes and personality changes? Behaviors are what someone actually does. For example, washing the dishes, walking the talk, talking in a calm voice, and going to work on time are all behaviors.

Personality is the core of who you are. It makes up your feelings, thoughts, likes and dislikes. Much of our personality is formed prior to the age of 3 years old. Once people reach their early twenties, a personality is fairly well sealed.

There are lots of different personality types. Some people are introverted and prefer smaller, initimate settings and solitary activities. Other people prefer to the be the life of the party and are much more extroverted. Personality is reflected in someone’s attitude about life and love in general.

So although your spouse may start to do more housework, don’t expect him to like it if cleaning isn’t part of his personality.  Learning how to help your partner make positive behavioral changes is different from trying to change his personality. When your partner makes behavioral changes, understand that his underlying personality hasn’t gone away.

Sometimes people go into a marriage thinking that their partner’s personality and core values will change. It can be dangerous to enter into a relationship where you are only looking at someone’s potential, not who he is today.

Remember that people can make major changes in some circumstances. Life altering experiences, discovering new spiritual beliefs, therapy, and major life events can make people make some big changes in life. However, despite their outward changes, keep in mind their underlying personality is likely to be the same.

Learning how to accept your spouse’s personality can help you love unconditionally. It is healthy to assist your partner in making positive behavioral changes if he’s willing. Trying to change his personality, however, is likely to lead to conflict, resentment, and anger.

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