We’ve all been there: You want to make a change or implement a set of healthy habits and your spouse isn’t 100% on board. It can be one of the more common issues in relationships. After all, most relationships are made up of one side doing a lot of the pushing and suggesting and the other side standing firm to their comfort level. It’s the beauty of how relationships have a way of balancing us out.
But what happens when you’re really trying to implement either a healthy habit or make a toxin free change to your home, and you get side eye from your spouse? Our house has gone through these same situations, and while I don’t know that there’s one right way to go about it, there are a lot of ways to make it easier on everybody in the family.
This is one of the reasons we’ve been slow to change things over in our house. I feel like everyone has to be at least okay with the healthy habit or change, even if they aren’t completely on board.
After all, if you want a healthy habit or other change to go well, it must first be well received so that everyone is on board with the change. If there’s a lot of friction and generally unsupported, the healthy habit or change will likely peter out and die.
The great thing is, when an idea is embraced by the family as a whole, most of the time it’s a really smooth, positive transition to a healthy habit, healthy way of life or change to your environment. This doesn’t mean the best route is badgering and coercing your partner, spouse or family to make the change you want. On the contrary, sometimes individuals need to come to the decision on their own and in their own time in order to make healthy habits a permanent change.
Let’s look at a few of the ways you can really work through creating a healthy habit for your home when your spouse isn’t necessarily on board.
OPEN COMMUNICATION ABOUT THE NEED FOR HEALTHY HABITS & POSITIVE CHANGES
I think being really open about healthy habits you may want to implement is key. And for those of you who have a spouse who doesn’t always speak the same “language” as you, it may mean describing changes and timelines more than you originally thought.
If you’re like me, you’ve had these ideas rolling around in your head and these healthy habits planted inside you for a while before you begin to implement them. While you’ve had time to process what a change like this entails, your spouse is hearing it for the first time. It may take a while for them to be completely on board.
Being open and communicating with your spouse, partner or family at the inception of your idea, can help give them a long window to get on board. Explaining reasons WHY the healthy habit or change is so important to you is a great start. My husband is a lover of the TRUE facts and research, so that’s where I start. I offer information based on a research study or test that was done regarding the change I’m trying to implement.
You can also offer information as to how it might not necessarily have a huge impact on your current lifestyle. In other words, the healthy habit or change you’re making may have a huge impact on your health, but it might not be THAT grand of a change to make that you’ll really notice it’s different. Cleaning products are a GREAT example of that change.
SAY IT ONCE AND LET IT GO
Badgering and coercing your spouse into a healthy habit or change will get you nowhere. I think it actually has the opposite effect on people. It starts to make them dig in their heels more and resist change.
A better option is to offer the suggestion once. However, I also think it’s important to note that offering the suggestion in a logical way and at an interrupted time is best. It may not resonate with your spouse how important this healthy habit or change is to you if it’s in the middle of a chaotic moment with your kids or while you’re rushing out the door.
I also think it’s important to make the request out of logic, not pure emotion. Most of us respond best to a thought-through plan rather than an emotional whim for change. Think it through before you lay it out and then leave it alone. Give your spouse time to process the change and offer their opinions.
There will be some healthy habit changes and product changes that may be difficult to change. That’s okay. I’ve always said: change what you can and don’t worry about the rest. There’s no use in trying to win someone over when you can leave it alone and make different healthy habits change instead.
Or, perhaps your partner or spouse is willing to meet you halfway. We did this in our own house with cleaning products. I originally started using vinegar for cleaning, and my husband just couldn’t get on board with the smell or the idea of it. The great thing is, he was willing to change to a green cleaner we could buy. There were many possibilities, even though my original switch wasn’t a change we could make.
If I had been stuck on the vinegar solution for cleaning, I think we would have had a constant irritation present and it would have had a negative affect on our family dynamic. The fact that both of us were willing to be flexible and change means we came to a positive solution for our family that cut out chemicals and created a healthier space.
Think of a secondary plan in case your spouse or partner just can’t get on board with your original healthy habits or changes.
ONE CHANGE AT A TIME
Sometimes we get wrapped up in changing our entire life and house to be healthier and we try to change too many habits at once. Making your healthy habits and changes slowly, and layering them on once at a time will help with making them stick. It will also ensure you aren’t overwhelming your spouse with too many changes at one time.
This is particularly true if you are trying to get your whole family on board with healthy changes and healthy habits. Making each change and letting it turn into a healthy habit one at a time is really the best way to make a change.