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    • I find myself talking a lot about the strong genetic influences on intelligence, personality and behaviour but I'm often struck by how my girlfriends over the years have shaped things I say and do. Most experts would recommend you don't expect your significant other to change much despite your best efforts. My question is: how much influence do these people really have on us? How much can a person really be changed by another? How much can we even be changed from within?

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    • I am not sure how much I can answer your question, but I am interested in this. My opinion is that sure we do change with and because of some of the partners, over the course of our lives.. I recently found interesting, and you might view as helpful perhaps, some of the psychological analysis of relationship related topics described in the clips below.

    • 👆 That TED talk was great. She is fascinating, respected and that video got 2.8 million views.

      Me and my wife have changed each other dramatically over the years. Sometimes I see pairings like I perceive Barack & Michelle Obama to be where I think despite genetics, nurture, and intelligence, they are both greater than they would have been without each other. It seems to me that happens in a lot of relationships, like business, and the inverse is true: one partner can drag the other down.

    • Her understanding and down to earth style of conveying ideas, gathered from evidently allot of real life work with cases of couples counseling, truly fascinates me. I spent several hours, over few evenings, watching all her you tube presentations. And there is more - there are some of her podcasts that are available. To my mind, this woman is one of the first psychologists who really convinced me of the amazing depth of observation and analysis skills she has. She's no fake, and extremely passionate of her work too.

    • It's a fascinating question. I've been married 14 years and I can't really imagine myself at this point without my spouse's influence on me. I was married young and have had lots of personal growth since. How would I have weathered life's storms without my husband? He's an incredible encourager and sounding board. I think I'm a much better person for having him by my side and on my side.

      11 years ago:

    • I do think it's a poor idea to try to change your spouse. The only control we are meant to have in this life is self-control. However, I think we inevitably DO change our spouses, hopefully in positive ways through our constant support and positive example.

      One story from our early marriage:

      My husband and I are both religious and we were both in the habit praying before bed. I noticed that he prayed on his knees before getting in bed. I was accustomed to praying in a more perfunctory way after my head hit the pillow.

      He never said a word to me about it, just continued to pray the way he always had. It made me restless, though, seeing him on his knees in apparent devotion and reflection. I itched to do the same. At first I tried it when he wasn't watching (like when I went to bed first). I found it to be a much better approach for me that drew me closer to God and helped me be more focused and alert in my prayers, and before long he and I were both on our knees every night. It's been that way ever since. He changed the way I pray, which in turn changed me... but without saying a word. I'm sure something similar has played out in many ways I'm unaware of as well as the things I've observed.

      Some things, of course, never change. He still rinses dishes and doesn't load them in the dishwasher. I still shake my head at it. :) We each do things the other one doesn't love, and I'm sure our imperfections have had their effects on the other one as well.

      Certainly our relationship has deepened my joys and at times exposed me to deep hurt as well. I think every relationship brings those possibilities and intense emotions shape us as well.

      Here's a more recent picture of us: