No one said creating successful personal change in our lives is easy. Even when we want to change personally, professionally, and in our relationships, fear often prevents us from acting. Peering into the future can even be daunting, making us even more resistant to change. But the good news is that we all have the capacity to grow and develop — and it comes down to how we think.

As we learned in last week’s post, change is a process that takes a healthy combination of time, patience, and intentionality. So, rather than bite off too big of a chunk all at once, start slow, be methodical, and think in terms of small steps.

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

— Confucius

How can you create successful personal change and be the best version of YOU in your marriage?

Define your personal change goal —

Put a “face” on your “change.” For example, “I want to be more confident,” or “I want to be more social and cultivate friends.” You can also think in terms of being a better parent, losing 20 pounds, getting a new job, being secure in who you are, and being a better Christian. Whatever your change goal is, name it — define it. Doing so helps you focus on putting the necessary steps in place to achieve it.

After that, you should …

List your strengths, attributes, abilities, and characteristics —

This isn’t for other people. You don’t have to broadcast it to the world. But it’s an important step when thinking about change. If you have problems verbalizing those strengths, ask friends, coworkers, and family what they see in you. Essentially, you are training your brain to be aware of what you know is your positive traits and strengths. That way, you can use them to your advantage as you create change.

Then …

Think through your beliefs and values —

These are key components you’ll need to help you achieve your change goal. It could be as simple as your beliefs about God, positive self-statements, scriptures, etc.

Could changing the way you talk about fear change your belief about who you are? Read this blog post to find out.

“Our lives are shaped by the things we desire.” — Thomas Merton

Desires of Everyone’s Heart

Another aspect of creating successful change is thinking about what your heart desires. Having our desires fulfilled validates our existence. In other words, the depth of who we really are. When our desires are fulfilled, we enjoy better, more intimate relationships with God, ourselves, and others. Understanding our desires also helps us connect with others and discover our true need for God. Remember, God is the only one who can truly satisfy the deepest desires of our soul.

To be:

  • Heard and Understood
  • Affirmed
  • Blessed
  • Safe
  • Touched
  • Chosen
  • Included

These desires are way down deep within us. We don’t necessarily understand them on a conscious level, but we definitely FEEL them and ACHE for them to be fulfilled. When our desires are not met or fulfilled, we feel pain, loneliness, rejection, frustration, and anger. And then, we act out behaviors that may not be healthy or may have negative consequences.

It is not wrong to want our friends, family, and loved ones to fulfill these needs, but it can become troublesome when too much is asked from these relationships or expect all our needs to be fulfilled by our closest relationships. When we look first to friends, family, and loved ones to meet our needs, it can lead to disappointment. Offering our desires first to God frees us also to have our desires met by other people and to meet their desires, too.

The truth about you and your desires is that God made you a unique person in his own image. He loves you and intends for your desires to be fulfilled. He is the source of that fulfillment (although he often will work through other healthy people to do so). Seek to know Him.

All we are saying here is that change doesn’t have to happen overnight. It’s an intentional process that takes time, patience, and the realization that we have the capacity to grow and develop. Change is what God wants for us. And the quicker we open ourselves up and make change happen in our lives, the more connected marriage we will have.


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