ByJenna Cyprus

Oct 19, 2017

If you’re passionate about living an eco-friendly lifestyle that’s free from waste, it can be frustrating when your spouse doesn’t share the same excitement. In fact, it might be tearing your marriage apart. What, if anything, are you doing about it?

4 Ways to Get Your Spouse on Board

Attorney Rowdy G. Williams has found himself in the middle of hundreds of divorce cases over the years — helping clients negotiate and sort through legal issues. And while the circumstances of each case are unique, he sees a common thread in almost every one of them. “The vast majority start with a small argument or isolated issue that, if dealt with correctly on the front end, could have been quickly diffused,” Williams says.

Not to blow this issue out of proportion, but you and your spouse’s opposing viewpoints on the issue of sustainability and eco-friendly living can go from mildly frustrating to enormously aggravating very quickly. You can avoid having this issue blow up in your face by gently coaxing your spouse to get on board.

Here are some methods worth trying:

1. Attempt to Understand Each Other

Instead of taking jabs at your spouse every time he or she leaves a light on, make it a point to understand each other. Explain to your spouse why you have these convictions about living a sustainable lifestyle. Verbalize why it matters to you — not just others.

It’s equally important that you try to understand where your spouse is coming from. What is it that causes them to be wasteful? Do they not believe sustainable actions matter? Are they lazy? Having real conversations about these issues can create some clarity.

2. Make It Simple

Sometimes people don’t make eco-friendly choices because they think it’s too difficult or requires too much effort. If you want to get your spouse on board, make it as simple as possible.

For example, maybe your spouse really frustrates you by eating on paper plates and using plastic utensils at every meal. So, stop buying paper goods. Or perhaps your spouse leaves lights on downstairs every night before going to bed. Installing some timer switches solves this problem.

3. Give Some Ground to Get Some

The couple that recycles together stays together. Photo: Adobe

If you’re expecting your spouse to make key lifestyle changes in order to appease your desire to live sustainably, you’ll have to be willing to make some changes, too. As the saying goes, you have to give some ground if you want to get some.

4. Focus on What You Can Control

When it’s all said and done, you can’t physically force your spouse to make certain choices. Each person has their own individual rights and it’s not up to you to police them or force them into making choices.

Focus on what you can control and you’ll feel much more at peace. This doesn’t mean you agree with your spouse’s decision-making, but at least you can rest easy knowing that you aren’t responsible for everything your husband or wife does.

Know When to Give It Up

Anytime you and your spouse have an ongoing argument or experience a point of friction for an extended period of time, you have to think about whether or not the negative repercussions are worth it. Sometimes it’s healthier for your marriage to agree to disagree — no matter how painful it may be for you.

Feature image courtesy of Adobe

By Jenna Cyprus

Jenna is a freelance writer and business consultant who covers business, technology and entrepreneurship. She's lectured for several universities and worked with more than 100 businesses over the course of the past 15 years. She's a mother of two kids, and loves to go camping, hiking and skiing with her family.