A common theme (read more here) in successful marriages is the realization that you cannot change your spouse. This includes trying to change your spouse sweetly, sourly, beggingly, manipulatively, angrily, or any other –ly you can devise.

Researcher Dr. John Gottsman found that 69% of issues that couples disagree on early in marriage are not resolved later in the marriage. Sixty-nine percent! So, don't marry someone and don't pin your happiness in marriage if you have plans to change your spouse, because it usually doesn't work and it'll leave everyone involved feeling unloved, judged and misunderstood. The changeable 31% will be addressed further on.

Often, spouses tell me, "Yes, I understand what you're saying, but what about his socks on the floor?! Why can't he put his socks in the laundry hamper? Is that not a sign of disrespect and inconsideration? ...Does he think I'm his maid?" Or, "Does she really need so much clothing? Doesn't she understand we have bills to pay... how many pairs of shoes does she need?!"

Let me address this issue with another story. After many years living in the Israel countryside, my wife and I were still unable to deal with moths. My wife, Danka, hates those creatures. She hates them so much she lets out a scream if they take her by surprise. This scream is not a one note yelp, but a full-throttled, high octave, Night of the Living Dead shriek. I can handle the moths, but Danka's unexpected screams throw me into the fight-or-flight reaction. Adrenalin pumping, I'd yell at Danka, "Why do you have to petrify me by yelling? It's just a stupid moth!" And she'd reply, "I can't help it. I just react."

It took me a long time to understand her simple words, "I can't." She can't because that is the way she is… the same way he "can't find" the hamper. While it is true that both spouses should change words and actions that cause their spouse discomfort, there are things that people cannot change or can change only with years of slow progress.

Referring back to Dr. Gottsman's research, you cannot decide which category a particular issue falls in, the unchangeable 69% or the changeable 31%. It took me a long time to stop rolling my eyes when my wife said something I thought didn't make sense – and I wanted to stop rolling my eyes - but it is hard to change even with the best intentions.

Will he ever stop sock dropping? Will she ever have enough shoes? Will he ever learn to put away food after eating? Will she ever make a simple request in less than three minutes? Don't pin the meaning and happiness of your marriage on it. Sometimes people just are the way they are – and it is not for you to judge whether they must change. Go to therapy if need be. You might be right, but your love should not depend upon it.

Couples get into the worst fights over perceived insults and hurt feelings based on seemingly little issues: missed or defrosted meals, an empty gas tank, no more toilet paper, crumbs on the table. But these issues do not have be a source of conflict. Just because someone can't stop a certain behavior does not mean it is directed at you. People in difficult marriages often make an art form of taking many things personally.

Don't make your love of your spouse depend on these specific things. Instead, work on learning to love, enjoy and nurture your spouse—just as he or she is.