Human nature is selfish and competitive. We fight for what we want, when and how we want it. If our needs are not met, we tend to blame it on others.
You may ignore the lump in your eye and criticise the speck in your lover’s. If anything goes wrong you tend to blame it on your lover because you think you are always right and your lover is always wrong.
You may see your lover as your problem or solution and think you will be happy if only your lover does what you want.
You may think your lover owes you happiness when in fact no one can make another happy.
Fact is that you can have a fulfilling relationship if only you decide to be the change you want in your relationship.
How to be a change agent
Take responsibility: Accept that any problem in your relationship is shared because you are part of your relationship.
Your problems are not caused by your lover but how you respond to issues in your relationship.
Therefore, if anything goes wrong, find out what you can do differently and better because you cannot do the same thing and expect better results.
Many issues will stop with you if you decide to deal effectively with them.
Cut down complains: If there is anything you are not happy about, choose the right place and time to talk about it.
Brainstorm and make mutual decisions. Set good examples and be encouraging.
Listen to your lover. You may not agree with everything your lover says but give him or her the right to make his or her point so that you can fully understand.
A man must understand that for a woman it is the little things like affection and companionship that are the big things.
Make time for your lover and share activities you enjoy because companionship promotes bonding and builds self-esteem, security and peace of mind.
If there is anything that your woman needs as far as possible just do it. If you want peace, first give your woman her peace.
Love unconditionally: Akans say ‘odo ye wu’ or to love is to die. Love does not seek her own. Instead it is about the sacrifices you make to make your lover better.
Do this irrespective of how your lover treats you. You are one flesh with your lover. If he or she becomes better through your sacrifices you also become better.
Forgive your lover unconditionally: It is impossible to have a relationship without conflicts because conflicts are part of life and therefore part of all relationships.
The fact that you have problems therefore does not mean there is something wrong with your relationship.
See your challenges as a reminder that you have to stand up and work on your relationship. If you work on your relationship it will work.
Be the change agent
The best gift you can give to your relationship is your commitment to do all it takes to make it work.
Put the focus on yourself and take full responsibility for any challenge you face. In almost all the time, it takes one committed partner to make a relationship fulfilling. Let it be you.
All relationships are difficult and prone to failure. In your frustration, failures and disappointments, it becomes easier to shift the blame on your lover and make him or her prime target of blame.
Appreciate however that if you are always blaming your lover for everything that happens in your relationship, chances are that you are the common denominator; you take away yourself from the problem and solution and nothing gets better. Stop the yells, complaints, criticism and name calling.
You must also not wait for your partner to do something before you act. Instead, put the focus on yourself and be the burden bearer and not the burden.
If you want to be happy in your relationship first ‘happy yourself’ because you partner does not owe you and can never give you happiness.
If you show appreciation, respect, support, unconditional love and forgiving spirit, you move your relationship forward irrespective of what your lover does.
The message is simple; do not try to change your lover for your relationship to get better.
It never works because you can never change another person but you can change yourself.
If you want a change in your relationship, first change yourself and be the change you want in your relationship.
By Dr John Boakye
The writer is the Director of Eudoo Counselling Centre, West Legon, Accra. He is also the author of ‘Your Guide To Marriage’, ‘Love Unlimited and ‘The Journey Of Love’.
Mobile: 0208181861, Email: jydboakye02yahoo.com.