Stop Smoking : How to Help My Spouse Quit Smoking
How to Get Your Spouse to Stop a Bad Habit
Helping your spouse break a bad habit can be difficult. To get started, ensure that you and your spouse are on the same page by talking with them in a respectful and honest way about your concerns. Help your spouse see that they have this habit and that you want to help them stop it. To that end, do what you can to prevent the habit and encourage your spouse to replace it with a good habit. Be patient and understanding with your spouse, and offer them continual encouragement until they no longer engage in the habit.
Drawing Attention to Your Spouse’s Habit
Choose the right moment to draw attention to your spouse’s habit.Don’t try to describe the problem to your spouse when both of you are rushed and heading out the door to work in the morning. Similarly, don’t try to have a serious conversation with your partner when you are trying to cook dinner, dress your child, or watch TV.
- Avoid having a conversation about your partner’s habit in public or at their place of work.
Bring up the subject of the habit in a gentle way.Do not surprise your spouse or put them on defense by starting the conversation with a statement like, “You have a bad habit.” Instead, bring the subject into focus for your spouse by focusing on your feelings. For instance, you might say, “There’s something I want to talk about” or “Can we talk about something?”
- You might also have success by using a formulation like, “I want to talk about my feelings concerning…” or “I feel that…”
Describe the problem.In order to get your spouse to stop a habit, they must admit that they have a habit that ought to stop. When identifying your spouse’s habit, it is important to be polite and thoughtful but honest. Do not use accusatory language like, “You left the lights on again!” Instead use “I”-centered language in the form of “I dislike it when you leave the cap off the toothpaste.”
Stay focused on the issue at hand.Do not use the conversation about your spouse’s habit to discuss every little thing that irritates you about your spouse. For instance, if your spouse has a habit of leaving the door unlocked when they get home at night, do not use the discussion to talk about their failure to pay bills in a timely manner. Save that conversation for another day.
- Additionally, do not use the conversation about your spouse’s habit to bring them down. Make the conversation about the habit, not the person. For instance, instead of saying, “You always throw away my leftovers! You’re wasteful!” say “I noticed you threw away my leftovers. Can we talk about that?”
- It’s okay to admit your mistakes, but do not let your partner move the discussion away from their habit and toward your habits to avoid blame.For instance, when they bring up your habits, say, “That may be so, but I want to focus on your habit for a moment.”
- If your spouse does try to steer the conversation toward your faults and away from their own to avoid responsibility, they are exhibiting a classic sign of narcissism which should be taken seriously.
Do not use generalizations.Avoid describing your spouse’s behavior in terms of absolutes like “always” or “never.” For instance, avoid a sentence like “You never leave enough parking space for me.” Instead, be specific about occasions in which your spouse did not leave enough parking space for you.
- For instance, you might say, “Yesterday, the day before, and last Wednesday, you did not leave enough parking space for me. This makes it quite impossible for me to park in the driveway.”
- Other absolutist words and phrases to avoid when drawing attention to your spouse’s habit include phrases like “all the time,” “every time,” “everybody,” and “nobody.”
Stay calm when discussing the habit.When communicating with your spouse about their habit, do not yell or get angry at them. Simply sit down and have a rational, reasoned conversation about the habit. Do not use foul language, threats, or intimidation. These behaviors will not make your spouse conducive to stopping their habit.
Making a Change
Help your spouse engage in positive behavior.Getting your spouse to stop a habit often means replacing it with a different habit. Identify things you can do – for example, giving your partner cues or reminders – that encourage good behavior.
- For instance, if your spouse has a habit of not picking up the mail from the post office, talk to them about finding a solution to the problem.
- You might suggest that your partner program reminders into their phone, or get in the habit yourself of shooting them a text message at around the time they get out of work.
- Encourage your spouse to come up with ways to break the habit. If they come up with it themselves they will be more likely to make the change.
- After your partner has received the cues that encourage a new habit for long enough, they will be fully broken of the habit and will no longer need the cues.
Remove opportunities to engage in a habit.For instance, if your spouse’s habit is eating too much junk food, stop buying junk food. Instead of loading up on cake, candy, and chips at the grocery store, pick up healthy snacks like carrot sticks, trail mix, and apples. This will help your spouse manage their temptations.
- If your spouse tends to engage in their habit during a certain activity, encourage them to limit engaging in that activity. For instance, if your spouse tends to drink too much when watching football with their friends, encourage them to watch football less frequently.
Ask for help.Talk to other family members and friends about helping your spouse break their habit. For instance, if your spouse has a habit of being constantly late, you might encourage your child to remind your spouse that they need to meet you at such-and-such a time. The more people you and your spouse can enlist to help your spouse break the habit, the better.
- If your spouse has a habit of leaving the car windows down during summer months, you could encourage neighbors to let one of you know by saying, “My spouse tends to leave the windows of their car down when it’s hot. Please let one of us know if you see the car windows down.”
Provide positive reinforcement.To motivate your spouse to break the habit and engage in a different one, provide them with some enticements.For instance, if you’re trying to get your spouse to stop their habit of not putting their dishes in the sink after dining, you could give them a kiss on the cheek each time they put their dishes in the sink after a meal.
- Other spouses might respond better to verbal praise. For instance, using the dishes example again, you might say, “Thank you for putting your dishes in the sink” when your spouse puts their dishes in the sink.
- You and your spouse could celebrate together when your spouse meets certain milestones. For instance, if your spouse has a habit of forgetting to check the post office box, the two of you could enjoy dinner at a nice restaurant when they have successfully checked the post office box daily for one week.
- Experiment with a variety of positive reinforcement measures to discover what works best with your spouse.
Adopting a Helpful Attitude
Reframe the way you think about your spouse’s habits.Many people think that their spouses are deliberately trying to irritate them or cause problems when they engage in a habit time and again. However, this is likely not the case. The truth is probably that your spouse simply has a habit that developed over many years. They just need help seeing their habit and getting some motivation to change it.
- For instance, if your spouse has a habit of using all the toilet paper and not replacing it, you might think they are insensitive to your needs or don’t love you.
- Think about your own habits that bother your spouse. Reflect on these behaviors and ask yourself about your motivations.
- You’ll find that you do not go out of your way to upset the person you love and cherish more than anyone in the world, yet your spouse still gets frustrated occasionally by your faults. Likewise, you will then realize, your spouse is only human, and has their own flaws – as do we all.
- Don’t take your spouse’s habits personally.
Be patient with your spouse.Bad habits – like good habits – take time to form and time to break. If your spouse is not making as much progress toward breaking their habits as you’d like, try to be patient. Offer helpful reminders and continue to encourage your partner as they work to stop their habits.
Focus your attention on one habit at a time.If you want your spouse to change many habits all at once, they might be resistant and resentful. This will make it even harder to change your partner’s habits. Instead, choose one habit, and after solving it, move on to another habit.
- Start with one your spouse’s habits and then work on changing one of your habits. Enlist your spouse's help to help you change your habits as well.
Video: – This is how you stop your partner from cheating | Esther Perel | SVT/NRK/Skavlan
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