Have you seen any of the videos on Change Blindness? These show how we can miss significant visual changes in both images and real life interactions. See Colour Changing Card Trick for an example.
I think there’s another form of change blindness that causes us to not see changes in the people around us. I don’t (just) mean failing to notice your wife gets her hair cut; I mean things like less nagging or being more loving. We notice a sudden large change in these things, but I think we’re far less likely to notice gradual changes. Because changes in behaviour are usually gradual and are often a three steps forward, two steps back type of thing, we can miss a change for a good long while.
If your wife is trying to make a change, your failure to see it will be discouraging to her. Likewise, if you’re trying to make changes, her very natural failure to see the changes could be discouraging for you.
Two pieces of advice:
- When you’re making changes, don’t expect her to catch on right away. Don’t tell her, just keep at it; eventually, she should catch on.
- Part of being a student of your wife is looking for changes. From her hairdo to changes in attitudes and actions, be on the lookout for changes. Noticing changes tells her you are aware of her, whichand that will make her feel good.