Select Page

What if I am making an effort to improve my personal development but my spouse is not?

Well that’s a tough situation. But, that’s why they call it personal development because you can’t do it for anybody else. This is a huge source of confusion in all kinds of relationships, especially marriages. Polly and I still struggle with this because we all grow at different rates. As human beings, we just grow at different rates, at different times and in different areas of our life. Improving your personal development – you cannot do it for anybody else. And, if you try, it’s going to be kind of a disaster. As adults, there comes a time that we begin to understand you cannot make another human being do something that they just really kind of don’t want to do.

Sometimes people want to do certain things and there are times in their lives that they might be resting or something. I know in my own life, since I was 19 years old, my parents died and I lived on her peer and met the old man, started finding new my way. I can’t tell you from that point it has been a steady up hill climb. I mean, there’ve been times, so I’d like stopped on a ledge and I’ve rested for awhile or I’ve stopped and whined, but in a marriage, in a relationship, when you love somebody, it’s tough not to want the very best for them. And if you feel like you have found the very best, it’s tough not to bug them about it.

And that’s true, honestly, whether it is improving your own personal life, it becoming a bigger, a better person or whether it’s eating broccoli. I mean, I’ve seen people that they just love broccoli and they’d been married for 40 years and the other person hates broccoli, but they’re still married after 40 years, they ask, you sure you don’t want some of this? Are you sure you don’t want some broccoli? And I’m like, God, how many times do I tell you I don’t eat broccoli. Well, when you’re talking about who the person actually is, I mean, not just like a matter of taste. We’re talking about how the person sees themselves. And so a lot of times when we say, come on now,  you need to read this kind of book, you need to do this kind of thing. Sometimes people see that as personal condemnation. And it’s tough to find somebody that has that kind of blue ribbon quality in every part of their life. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. I know in my life, it is not tough to find people that are better than I am in every area of my life. And so I really try to surround myself with those kinds of people. But one of the things that is hard to realize, that sometimes those people who are better than we are at certain areas, we’re married to them.

And so it’s a give and take. In the best marriages have somebody learning from that person. If people learn from each other and those best marriages don’t have somebody who’s like, they’re always the one who is best at everything. Those just aren’t great relationships because people need to have a sense of themselves that they’re at least positive. And if one person is coming across that they are better in every single area and they know more in every single category. I mean, think about it. That’s just not somebody you want to be around, much less married too.  So if you are interested in personal growth and you’re focused on it,  then at any point your spouse has not focused on it, it’s easy to point the finger at them. So remember, even when you are into the personal growth mode, which I again, I’ve never met a single person in my life who has been able to from every single day, from the time they were 18 or 19. People take breaks, people have situations. Use a little wisdom here and if you’re interested in personal growth and your spouse is not right now, remember to look for great things in the in their lives. Remember look for wisdom from them, things that you can learn and make a point of letting them know you are learning.

Okay, one last thing. I have seen the personal growth thing cause some kind of an arrogance in people that they are better than other people and we have to remember that’s not true. We’re learning, we’re growing a, we’re in a period of growth maybe, but we’re not better. So we have to approach, especially a spouse, with a great degree of humility.

Especially about what we’re doing, especially with who we’re becoming. And you know, a lot of times your personal growth will have to do with how you work with people and treat people who are not as committed to something as you are.