Relationships all have ups and downs. There are things we love and things we tend to, well… not love. And wanting things to change is a normal feeling many men and women have in the midst of their relationships. And some people even try to make change happen – usually for the better.


But too often they give up prematurely because they don’t see the changes they expect right away. But the truth is change takes time – especially if it’s big change.


Even if you think something can’t change or is too far gone, there’s still hope. But only if both people are willing to 1) work at it and 2) wait for it.

At PsychologyToday, Rob Pascale and Lou Primavera write:


It requires a lot of work to establish better patterns in your relationship, yet it isn’t just the work. It’s also important to understand how change actually occurs. Here we are referring to being aware of what’s realistic and possible. When people try to change, they usually keep track of their success by monitoring the behavior or emotion they want to change.


We might think that we’ve failed, and that may lead us to give up trying. - Rob Pascale and Lou Primavera

They go on to describe that many people, when trying to change, often feel like they’ve failed if the trait/action/habit shows up again.

But that’s not the case at all.


This is an example of all or none, or dichotomous thinking. It’s a very unrealistic view of how change actually takes place, and can work against achieving our goal of improvement. We might think that we’ve failed, and that may lead us to give up trying. We can also come away with a sense of powerlessness, thinking things cannot be changed or that we don’t have what it takes to make changes, and so we are destined to live with the sorry state of our marriage forever.


But in reality, change is a fluid “up-and-down” process. There are ebbs and flows. And it’s important to realize this if you truly hope to change yourself or your relationship.


Darren Wilk, Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) and Co-founder of, has been working with marriages and families since 1988.   This includes being a foster parent providing care as a professional parent loving and inspiring children with various challenges.

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