Ask the Expert: Getting Spouses Organized

Question: I am getting organized and my husband is not. What should I do? Does getting spouses organized work?


First of all, congratulations on getting organized, that is a huge accomplishment. In my experience, anyone who has created success in their life has done so from a place of clarity and organization. Now, on to your question.

Your question reveals a common theme I’ve encountered in my almost 25 years of couples counseling and relationship coaching. What happens when one partner is “growing” in one area, while the other is not or is more accurately “growing” at a different pace in their own way?

 My answer is mainly about you, not about your husband. Yes, you are growing and becoming organized. You followed your own path, your own journey to expanding this quality of organization in your life.

“What should I do?” was your question. Mine is, what is your motivation to “do” anything?

Of course, you want to support your husband. Yet, is it time for him to create that change in his life? And what is his motivation for change?

When we want someone to “change” whether for our well-being, their well-being or the well-being of the relationship, we invite the presence of the “power struggle” into the relationship.

The dynamics of the power struggle are such that it triggers unresolved childhood issues on both sides of the marriage. Before you know it, you are triggering him, he is triggering you, you both are triggering each other and you forgot that love was the motivation behind it all.

While I’m sure you have many discovered many “tips” for becoming more organized along your journey, my counsel for you would be to first understand YOUR own need to control. You are controlling through organization. This isn’t a bad thing. You may desire to control your husband’s organization or lack of it, which isn’t a good thing. Control issues and power struggles don’t play well together.

My counsel to you, is to lead by example. Be organized and allow him to witness the improvements to your life and to your life together. If you must “do” something, you may certainly initiate a dialogue with him about what YOU are doing, how that serves you and what YOU would like improved in your relationship. However, regarding “getting” someone else to change, well that’s like the old joke:

“How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?”

“Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change.”

‘Nuff said’

Dr. Adam Sheck

dr. Adam

Dr. Adam Sheck, the Passion Doctor, has been supporting committed couples bring back the passion and reignite the spark in their relationships for almost twenty-five years. He supports singles to understand and change their relationship patterns so that they can co-create  healthy, loving relationships, first with themselves, then with others. He combines psychological and spiritual principles with a dash of Tantra to make it interesting. He’s a man in the second half of life who is direct, humorous and has enough Brooklyn in him to get the job done. You may learn more about him at where he blogs about relationships, both personal and professional.

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