Everyone has their own idea of the perfect mate. Physical appearance and personality traits define the initial attraction, but most people enter relationships with partners who fall short of being ideal. Communication and compromise helps overcome differences during the early stages of romance, but at some point, one person in the relationship will expect to see long term change in the person they grow to love.
Few couples fall in love and find that they are the perfect match. Most learn to accept each other as the persons that they are. They fall in love with their partners despite the differences, and often accept those differences as a part of the unique qualities that shape them as individuals.
People have different reasons for wanting to change the person they love. Some focus on encouraging the elimination of bad habits, such as smoking or the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. They may suggest exercise or weight loss programs if they feel their partner could be healthier, or improved hygiene and housekeeping habits if those are areas of concern.
People sometimes want their partners to change because they have experienced change themselves. Those who have recently achieved educational goals may place higher expectations their mates. If one person has broadened their circle of friends or increased their social activities, then they may push for their partner to do the same.
Some couples go through changes together. They embrace growth as a couple, and often find that facing challenges together is easier than going through things alone. They will engage in new or different activities, such as committing themselves to church, or taking ballroom dance classes, and find that pursuing such change together helps them to grow closer together as a couple.
Change is not as easy for some as it is for others. People develop their own process for implementing change, but they must usually be motivated to do so. The greater the motivation, the more likely that change will take place, but the decision to take action is strictly in the hands of that individual.
The bottom line is that most people implement change in their lives on their own terms, and pushing them does more to push them away than lead towards the desired results. Gentle encouragement works better than a nagging, although a good shove might be necessary every now and then.