Changing Your Description of Your Spouse 

What adjectives would you use to describe your spouse? How would you describe his personality? His behaviors? His attitude and outlook on life? The way you view your partner can have a big impact on the marriage.

Carl and Ashley had been married for four years. Carl liked things to be neat and orderly, while Ashley didn’t mind clutter. Carl always liked to be on time, but Ashley didn’t mind being fashionably late. Carl worked hard seeking new opportunities at work while Ashley focused more on enjoying her current position rather than trying to climb the corporate ladder. 

Carl began to view Ashley as lazy. He thought she didn’t clean the house well and lacked the drive necessary to advance her career. He viewed her as irresponsible as she would arrive places late, even when he thought it was important to be on time. He started to become quite frustrated with her and began to think she clearly lacked intelligence and common sense. He worried that she lacked goals and he viewed her as a failure for not advancing in her career.

Carl could benefit from changing the way he views his wife. Many of her friends and family found the same qualities he found to be annoying to be endearing. In fact, many of these qualities are what initially attracted him to her. Carl worked on re-framing some of the ways he viewed his wife. He was able to recognize that her carefree ways were not necessarily wrong, but just different. He started to think of her as laid back rather than lazy. He focused on the fact that she was able to live in the moment rather than always worrying about the future. By changing the adjectives he used to describe her, Carl felt more positive about his wife.

Sometimes just re-framing how you label your spouse can make a big difference in how you feel. The things you don’t like about your spouse may be a strength when you look at it from another way. See if you can find new ways to appreciate your spouse by changing your description.

One Response to “Changing Your Description of Your Spouse”

  1. I don’t agree with this assessment. It is true that the way one spouse is wired shouldn’t cause them to snap-judge the other as lazy and irresponsible. I am in a similar situation to Carl.
    You advice about him “reframing” how he defines Ashley’s qualities is all well and good. But in the end, where does that leave him? The house is dirty and cluttered, they are often late, and Ashley will coast through her job while he works to advance himself.

    Letting her off the hook because she is a “free spirit” isn’t good enough. It is true that he was probably very much attracted to her as a mate because of that quality. I know that feeling. The same is true for me.

    Doesn’t she have to give a little too? Is it really okay for her to clutter up the house and drive him crazy? I don’t think so. The very essence of marriage is compromise. If your solution to this problem is that Carl just has to shut up and live with it, that sounds like no compromise at all.

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