What comes to mind when you think about personal growth? It is usually centered around oneself, which is correct but what if I told you it was so much more. Personal growth is a where a person recognizes themself and continually develops themself to reach their full potential. It refers to various techniques for improving one’s habits, behaviors, actions and reactions. Personal growth is an important part of a person’s growth, maturity, success and happiness.
If your spouse is not growing personally on his own, then he will not be able to understand you or where you are coming from overtime. If he is not open to personal development, you will start to sound strange. If not nurtured you two will eventually start to grow apart from one another. Some are even scared to grow for fear that their partner will either get upset or eventually leave them behind for an upgrade. Personal growth is not the adversary in your relationship. It is a way to enhance your relationship so it can grow even stronger overtime, even if your spouse is not on board.
This is really important. I want to address the fact that some spouse’s will not be on board with your personal development. What they are not realizing is that growth is a personal thing. It is right in the title: personal growth. It is about you becoming the best version of yourself. Your spouse has to make this decision on his own. Personal growth is about you growing. It is about you becoming better. It is about you taking care of you. Yes, your spouse is going to witness you being different, but you have to stay the course if you want to get different results. I always talk about creating the relationship that you want. One of the ways to create the relationship that you want is to develop yourself through personal growth and personal development. These two go hand in hand.
Here is how:
1. Become a leader in this area
One of the things that personal growth does for you and for your relationship is that it helps you to become the leader in order to shift the energy and focus in your relationship. You must lead by example. See, whenever you are staying the course, you are becoming better. You are learning new tools. You are beginning to apply these tools in your relationship. Your spouse will start watching how you are moving now. Your spouse will start watching how you are showing up. Your spouse will start watching the things you say and the things you participate in.
So, maybe the thing you need to work on is holding your tongue, your sharp tongue that cuts everything. Instead of you, spewing out everything that comes to your mind . . . You make a conscious effort to stop. You begin to think how you need to do better in this area. Now, in that very moment is when you have to make the decision to be better with your tongue. By showing up differently, even when your spouse ticked you off, you are showcasing your new found maturity and personal growth in action. It is a choice in the way you respond. Reacting to your spouse does nothing to improve your relationship, it only adds to the complexities and dysfunction of it. When you start to become the change you want to see within your spouse, your spouse will recognize this and will follow suit himself. If you want to make an impact in your relationship. You have to be different; you have to show up differently, you have to do something different. Responding your old way will not get the results you aspire to achieve because we all know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Allow your actions from what you have learned on your personal growth journey to help deepen the connection in your love life.
2. You become more desirable by living the life you want to live
The second way that personal growth helps to strengthen your relationship, is that you become more desirable due to you living life the way you want to live it. Instead of daydreaming about the fantasy, you are bringing it to life. Remember, you probably will mess up sometimes and your old self will surface. Be aware that this is a new habit and a new behavior you are trying to make normal. So, you are going to revert back. You will go backwards sometimes but as long as you catch yourself, you have a chance to go back and say “I’m sorry”, and then do better next time. This is what the process of personal growth is all about. You are in the process of becoming your most authentic self. So, the next time you mess it up and then you catch yourself, apologize. The point is, as long as you are constantly moving forward, then your relationship will become healthier. The growth, the personal development you are doing with yourself will translate into you becoming the leader and more desirable to your spouse. Before you know it, some of the things you do or say will rub off on your spouse and this is how you know they are listening.
This actually happens in my own marriage. Sometimes my husband acts like he is not listening to me. He tells me all the time, “Do not coach me.” But here is the thing, he is listening to what I am saying because some of the things I say and do he will repeat them back to me at a later time when I am doing something he does not like or approves of. Trust me, your spouse is listening and watching you. It is going to work. You have to stay the course.
3. You communicate much better
The third way personal growth helps strengthen and grow your relationship is that you will be a much better communicator with your spouse. Much better communicator, because some of the things you are reading and listening to, are going to start rubbing off on yourself. You are going to start to internalize that stuff. Because you are internalizing the things you hear, the more your belief system increases about the things you are constantly feeding your soul with. You begin believing it more and start to live it. What happens is you will begin seeing some results from the things you are implementing. You realize and think, “Okay, this is good right here. Our relationship is not as stressful as once before but it still needs some work.” You will communicate a lot better. You will be a better active listener; you will be able to articulate the things you want to say much more concisely.
4. You become more aware of your actions and how they affect your spouse
The fourth and final way personal growth helps to strengthen your relationship is that this helps you to become more self-aware of your actions and how they affect you as well as your spouse. As I mentioned before, you might have been the person with a sharp tongue when you get triggered. You say whatever you want because that is what you want to say. This is how you always have done it, but now you are realizing that “I shouldn’t be doing it this way. This is not the most effective way to get my spouse to do what I am trying to say. So, I probably need to stop popping off. I probably need to calm down and allow him to say the things that he needs to say. Let him get out the things that he is feeling. Let me try to dig a little deeper and ask more questions. Let me get down to the ‘why’, the real reason why we are actually arguing. Let me do some self-reflection.” If you want to be heard, lower your voice. Speak calm. Speak directly about the issue. Do not blame your spouse. Only focus on the problem and state a solution or two. In that moment you become more aware, they become more aware, hence you guys are growing together.
Somebody has to start the process. Somebody has to become the adult in the relationship and act as if what you are doing will make a difference. Believe that it will. Continue to stay the course and work on you. This is the beauty of how we get to these relationships we really want to be a part of. What we are really trying to do is go from good relationships to great relationships and from great relationships to extraordinary relationships, so we can be a part of the top 1% of couples that have extraordinary relationships.
Lacking in your personal growth? Sign up for your Free 30-minute coaching conversation here. I am Marshaun Olaniyan. I am a Shift Relationship Strategist. I help Christian women stop feeling disconnected and unloved and shift them to feeling heard, understood and appreciated. Now is your time to shift the trajectory of your relationship around for good.
All the best,