What to Do When Your Spouse Won’t Change

Change - AdobeStock_205289146What do you do if your spouse won’t change? Are you stuck in a holding pattern for the rest of your lives together? Most likely you aren’t.

I have to say that I’m mostly a practical minded person. I love a good “step-by-step” plan to get me going in the right direction. But I also feel that some “to-do lists” fall short of making the lasting change that really need to take place in our hearts.

Today, I’m focusing on the “nuts and bolts” of how to respond differently or more positively towards our mates in times of conflict and hurt.

If there’s one thing that I’ve become convinced of in my 28 years of marriage (gulp! Yes, that number takes my breath away too!), it’s that I am not responsible for my spouse’s right or wrong choices. The moment I feel like I can change him or control what he does, is the moment I’m entering “La-La Land.” I’m heading straight for frustration and disappointment. That’s a place no one wants to stay.

So what’s a spouse to do when her husband or his wife won’t “cooperate” or “get with the program”?

If a Spouse Won’t Change:

Do the next right thing . . . that is OUR own responsibility!

That means we will avoid doing our spouse’s responsibility. Although there may be times when we will have to step in and shoulder this… it’s often much more the exception than the rule.

So today, I’m including a List that considers several challenging scenarios in marriage with specific, measurable ways you can “do your part.” This way you won’t feel helpless when and if your spouse won’t do their part.

I hope you’ll use this to remind yourself of what that next right thing might look like. Or you can copy and paste it and revise it to fit your custom desires and preferences.

Prayerfully review the list [provided in the link above] and then answer the following question:

What makes it hard for you to do the next right thing in marriage or life? 

Beth Steffaniak wrote this blog. Beth is a pastor’s wife, counselor and life coach. She is a wonderful Titus 2 woman of God. Beth generously shares her “messy life” (coming into marriage with “many emotional wounds and unhealthy patterns that left mess after mess”) with those who visit her web site at Messymarriage.com. Thankfully, even though her life is “messy” (as ours is also), she praises God. As Beth says, “That’s not where the story ends!” We encourage you to visit her web site often, because you will be blessed.

— ALSO —

Below are several links to other articles and blogs that we suggest you glean through to see for additional info that will help you in your marriage. We know this is a lot of info to glean through. But it’s well worth the effort.

We want to say though, that if the article is written to wives and you are a husband looking for answers, or the reverse is true, please read the article anyway. Prayerfully see if you can adapt the info to help you:



And Lastly:


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Filed under: Communication and Conflict

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3 responses to “What to Do When Your Spouse Won’t Change

  1. Thank you very much for saving my life. For the past twelve years that I have been in this abusive relationship I know now that my husband is not Bipolar but Narcissist. Again I know that it is not a marital but a Spiritual problem and Personality Disorder. Help me God. I can’t wait for the block.

    1. Tsitsi, it warms our hearts to no end to think that God could use us to help you in the way you describe. Thank you for extending your gratitude. We are grateful to you for letting us know how this article has affected you. I don’t know if the following video and the linked articles within this one will help you further in your situation, but I recommend you go to this link and prayerfully watch, read, glean, and see how God talks to you: https://marriagemissions.com/married-narcissist-jimmy-evans/. I pray the Holy Spirit talks to you individually and guides you in the decisions you need to make to get yourself to a safer place in your life.