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11 Smart Ways to Get Your Spouse to Change

Updated on June 4, 2017

How to Get Your Spouse to Change

Appreciating your spouse's efforts can help to get your spouse to change.
Appreciating your spouse's efforts can help to get your spouse to change. | Source

Your Husband, or Wife, Has Changed

You may have been married for some years now. You may have enjoyed the early years of your marriage because your spouse behaved like an “angel.”

However, recently, you may have noticed a negative change in the behavior of your spouse.

Or over the years, the attitude of your spouse towards the marriage may have changed, making you feel miserable. He or she may not be as loving as they used to be, or they are exhibiting bad habits which you hate.

How do you get your spouse to change so that you can experience the bliss again?

I will show you how using the eleven steps I have outlined below.

Point Out the Behavior to Your Wife, or Husband

Do not assume that your spouse knows he or she is irritating you, or annoying you because of what they are doing, especially when it concerns little things such as leaving clothes around, slurping whilst eating and drinking, or not making time to talk to you.

Therefore, be direct with your spouse and make your feelings known to him or her, if you want to get your spouse to change their mind about their bad behavior.

Find an opportune time and then talk to your spouse about the behavior or habit. You could say, “Darling, there is something you do that bothers me. I have tried my best to stomach it, but it keeps bothering me, so I have to tell you. Honestly, I do not like the way you leave your clothes lying about in the bedroom when you come home from work. It gives me more work to do. I would appreciate it if you made the effort to put them in the laundry basket. I don’t think it will cost you anything just to walk to the laundry basket to deposit them there.”

When you create the awareness that he or she is bothering you because of the way they are acting, which they may think is not such a big deal because you may not have complained, they may respond positively and make adjustments to make you feel happy. This is one way to get your spouse to change their attitude.

Change Yourself

Your husband, or wife, may be acting the way they are in reaction to how you behave. For example, your husband may not be spending a lot of time at home because you are always grumbling and complaining about everything he does when he is in the house. When you stop grumbling constantly, you can get your husband to change his ways and stay at home.

Or, your wife may always look moody in the house because you look down on her and make her feel she is not your life partner, but a servant. Consequently, she may not feel happy in the marriage, and may be expressing her disapproval of your behavior by being moody.

Therefore, if you want to make your spouse change their behavior, do introspection, do an honest evaluation of yourself and your own behavior, and ask yourself whether you could be the cause of his or her bad attitude.

On the other hand, you could ask him or her if you are the reason why they are behaving the way they are. When the feedback indicates that you are part of the problem, work on yourself. Your spouse is more likely to respond accordingly and also make changes to their behavior. This is one of the surest ways you can get your spouse to change.

Let Your Spouse Know They Stand to Benefit in the End

One thing you can do to get your spouse to change is to make your spouse see that he or she stands to gain in the end if they make efforts to change their behavior, or stop a bad habit.

  • You could say, “Kofi, don’t you think that you will have peace of mind if you stop sleeping around? Don’t you think it will save you a lot of energy which you need to be productive at work? You will be able to focus better on your work if you stop having this affair with Adwoa, since you will save time and energy, which you can use to rest and refresh yourself for work? Can’t you see you will save yourself a lot of money which you can use to buy new clothes, or buy your dream car, if you stop wasting your money on that woman?”
  • When you remind your spouse that he or she can get some benefits when they stop the bad behavior or habit, he or she may think about it, and may see sense in what you are saying, which cloud influence them to want to turn over a new leaf.

Let Your Spouse Know He, or She, is Losing

Let your spouse see ways in which he or she is losing value, especially in the eyes of others. Everyone wants to look good in the eyes of others, and so when you remind him or her of what they are losing, their ego will be hurt, and it may cause them to reconsider their behavior.

You could say something such as, “Kofi, don’t you see what you are doing to yourself? Can’t you see you are losing the respect of your work colleagues? They laugh at you behind your back and call you all sorts of derogatory names. And people in this neighborhood are making fun of you.” If he or she values the respect they receive from friends, neighbors, and colleagues at work, they will think twice about his behavior and make the necessary changes.

Punish Him or Her

A person is likely to check his or her attitude when they are punished, or deprived of some benefits. Depriving the person of privileges can make the person come to the full realization that they are behaving terribly. This will make them pause to think and realize that their habit or behavior is really affecting the other person.

So, if you want your spouse to change, you must deprive him or her of some privileges they are enjoying, making them understand that you will restore those privileges when you see them making efforts to do something about their behavior.

Here are a few ways you can punish your wife, or husband:

  1. Sleep at your friend’s house for some of the days in a week as a sign of protest at your spouse’s behavior. This will show them you are very angry about the situation, and your wife or husband will take you seriously.
  2. Refuse to show any sign of affection for them until you see that they are taking practical steps to do something about their behavior. Don’t allow them to kiss, hug, or hold hands.

Encourage Your Spouse

If the behavior of your spouse which you want them to change is one that may take some considerable amount of time to bring an attitudinal change, you will need to be patient and make things easier for your spouse.

For example, if the problem is that your husband does not make time for you, tell him that he does not need to spend one hour with you before you will be happy. Tell him he can start with just five minutes a day, and then increase it to ten minutes a day, later.

Let your spouse see that you want to make it easier for him or her to effect the change you desire.

Some people will do nothing about a problem when they think it is an insurmountable task, or when they feel the other person expects so much from them.

But when they are made to see that they only have to make little efforts, or just make little changes to be appreciated, they are encouraged to take the first step, and then another step, and soon they are working very hard to tackle their bad behavior.

Therefore, you break down the problem for them, and make them take it on little by little. They will see that it is doable and make efforts to change.

For example, a husband who is a workaholic may not have a problem spending just five minutes with his wife, but may refuse to spend thirty minutes with her. And when he spends that five minutes with you and you make him enjoy the time, he may want to spend a longer time with you subsequently.

Appreciate Your Spouse's Efforts

When your spouse starts making efforts to change, let him know that you appreciate it. For example, if he starts spending more time with you, say something such as, “Kofi, I am happy that you sacrifice to talk ten minutes with me nowadays. You are a great husband. Thank you,” or “I see all the efforts you are making for me, darling. These days, you are very considerate. You do not leave your clothes about. Congratulations for deciding to become a better person.” This will motivate him or her to continue to work on themselves, and you will see the change you desire so much in no time.

Give Rewards

When you see your spouse genuinely trying to work on their bad attitude or behavior, give them rewards.

Begin with small rewards, and let them know they will receive greater rewards if they continue to work on themselves.

You can say something such as, “It is good to see you did not get angry when you saw me talking to Ama. I have this reward for you.” Then, kiss your wife and hug her.

Then, say something such as, “The next time you see me talking to a woman and don’t get jealous, I will pay for three nights’ supper at Freakies Restaurant to save you the trouble of cooking supper at home for those three nights.”

When she shows improved behavior, and continues to restrain herself from confronting and embarrassing you when she sees you talking to another woman, you can say, “You have done well. I will take you on vacation to Polynesia this summer, or I will buy you jewelry, if you continue in this manner.”

In other words, when your spouse makes an effort to change their behavior, increase the value of the reward you give to him or her as they overcome hurdles and make progress. It will inspire them, and they will persevere till there is a total turnaround in their attitudes so that they can enjoy the rewards.

Support Your Spouse

Let your spouse feel he or she will not be trying to make the change all by themselves, but that you will stand by them and support them. When he or she knows you care, they will not want to disappoint you, and so will work harder so that the trust you repose in them will not be destroyed by their behavior.

  • You could show your support by saying something like, “Akosua, I want you to know that I don’t hate you for cheating. I still love you, and because of that I feel it is my duty to help you. We are in this together. I will do my best to help you overcome this behavior. I don’t want you to be too hard on yourself. I understand you are human, and that is why you cheated. I will not judge you. What I want to do is support you to change. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I won’t give up on you because I know your worth. I know you can change if I stand by you, and that is what I am going to do. I will stand by you all the way until, together, we overcome this problem.”
  • You will have to exercise a lot of patience because your spouse may fail at times. But when you show consistent support, and your spouse sees you believe in him or her, they will strive to meet your expectations.

Mind Your Emotions

You need to be very mindful of the words you use when you want your spouse to change, and also how you react emotionally to the situation.

  • Do not use that habit, or behavior, to insult them otherwise, it may make them resolve to continue that behavior when they feel you are not respecting them—they may use it to get back at you for not respecting them as a sort of revenge.
  • Don’t say, “You are a womanizer!” Instead say, “Kofi, you have a problem. I know you can be a faithful husband, because you have been faithful before. I want to be a good wife, and a good wife helps her husband when he is weak. I will help you to overcome this habit of cheating, if you are willing to co-operate.”
  • Try not to get angry. Instead, see your spouse as someone who needs help, not as someone who is tormenting your life with their behavior.
  • Do not hate him, or her, for his or her behavior, but hate the behavior. Restrain your anger. When there is less anger in the home, there will be less recrimination, increasing the chances that your spouse can stand back and see what he or she is doing to himself or herself, and to the children.

Cry to God

God has got the track record of helping people to change their behavior.

  • He helped the woman who was caught in adultery, in the Bible, to turn her life around when He gave her a second chance when she was facing death. She stopped living that promiscuous kind of life and started following Jesus.
  • He helped Zacchaeus to change his behavior towards money. Zacchaeus changed from being a tax collector who cheated people, into a generous man who was willing to give half of his wealth to the poor, after he heard the Word of God.
  • God can help your spouse to change, if you believe He can do it, and if you place the situation in His hands. All you need to do is pray a simple prayer such as, “Dear God, I thank you for bringing Yaw into my life. However, of late he has not been as loving as he should be. Please help me. I know you are able to change the hearts of men, because you changed the heart of the woman who was caught in adultery, and also the heart of Zacchaeus. God, please help me in that same manner. Help Yaw to change, and we will give you the glory. Amen.” Keep on having faith. In His time (the change may not come immediately), you will see changes in the behavior of your spouse.


It is not so difficult to do, is it?

The more you can practice these things, the better the co-operation you will get from your spouse.

Gradually, you will see that you can get your spouse to change their behavior.

Such a change will make it easier for you to continue loving your spouse, help you to maintain your affection for him or her, or help you to restore your affection for your spouse.

It will also help you to improve your relationship with your spouse.

So, use these tips and you will be able to enjoy your marriage again.

How to Get Your Spouse to Change

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© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio


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