Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trying to change your spouse...

I have been reading, again, the book written by Dr. John Gray, entitled, "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". It's good to be reminded of what I need work on and what my guy and I can work on together. But it also has good ideas for topics on this blog! :)

On page 146 it states, "The secret of empowering a man is never to try to change him or improve him." and then on the next page 147 it continues, "The best way to help a man grow is to let go of trying to change him in any way."

This is the core reason I feel that we have ever argued. I expect him to do one thing knowing that it wasn't him, knowing that I wanted it to be HIM, but I knew that it ultimately WASN'T. Do you understand?

For example, my guy hates to sell things. HATES IT. Yet, when I wanted to get rid of our first vehicle to get another one I told him that we could just sell it and then go look for another car for me. He said, "You are going to have to sell it because I don't like doing that, it makes me feel uncomfortable". I told him, "No worries baby, I'll do all the talking, I just need you to stand behind me for support when they come to test drive and ask questions." Yet in my mind I was thinking, he's the guy, he'll naturally just take over the sell because the people will want to talk with him! Sure he'll feel uncomfortable for a bit, but once he gets going he'll be all good.

I was trying to change him, help him to step out of his comfort zone.

When time came to sell the car I forced him to talk to the people and we argued about it later. Him telling me NOT to put him in that situation again!

So what do you guys think? Do you think this is true? Or do you think that helping your partner try things that make them uncomfortable might actually be good for them maybe even make them better as a person? Guys what do you think? Is this a true statement?


CaJoh said...

Everyone changes. We are all striving toward some inner goal that we set for ourselves. Any time someone tries to force us in a direction (even if that direction is the way we want to go), it is most likely handled with mistrust. Encouragement is a good thing, but only when they are led to believe that it is through support and not through correction.

I get it on the other side of the fence as well. Anytime I try to be what I believe is encouraging, I wind up only correcting my wife and she becomes defensive. So often we think we know what's best, but in actuality do we really know what's right.

H.K. said...

I think as couples we should always encourage each other to go beyond our comfort zone, but if there is something that my husband absolutely feels strongly about, I don't push him and he does the same with me.

It's one of those things that you have to pick your battles and ask yourself if it's really worth getting into.

side note: The author John Gray shortly got a divorce after the book was published. I guess he wasn't reading his own advice! (lol!)

Missty said...

I agree you shouldn't try and change someone.

I have a relative, she pretty much has changed her husband in a TON of ways. Now he is the way she wanted... and guess what she doesn't like him. They have nothing in common, etc. Years ago (about 20) She said she didn't like glasses on guys, ok her dh had glasses, he did when he met her. He got contacts, and had a ton of problems. He had very thin hair, she said she didn't like it he got a hair piece. She said she liked facial hair, he was shaven, he grew a beard. They both had the same religion, she no longer believed he changed. Now after all these years, she tells me "he is different, I don't know who he is." LOL I TOLD her - YOU changed him. He did everything you wanted. You got what you always wanted. Its not what you married, or what interested you from the get go. He did what ever she wanted, and she still isn't happy.

Sorry so long. But this is close to home.

Great post!

Chief said...

I completely agree, at least in my case. The first few years were rocky for us...I read the "book" and when I realized I couldn't change him and I shouldn't and he realized that he didn't have to help me, just listen....or marriage smoothed right out!

Missty said...

You know I also think. I don't want YOU changing me. So WHY do so many women think we should change our man? Seriously, we are the first ones to get bent if someone is telling us we need to change or aren't doing something right. kwim? But we want to fix or change everyone around us - our spouse our kids, etc.

My way or the highway.

So I guess the Golden Rule is best.

ZenMom said...

I've never understood the mentality of women (and yes, it's usually women) who marry someone thinking they will change them. Why did you marry them in the FIRST place?

Of course, I also don't understand the women who are attracted to and marry the "bad boys" and then are surprised when they don't "settle down". Duh.

so, no. Not trying to change anybody over here. Missty's right: The golden rule is a good one.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

It's all about knowing when to nudge and when to realize that this is something that is never going to change.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Cajoh--it is so true! Its human nature to resist change when suggested by someone else, even if it is what we really want for ourselves!

H.K. Encouraging is one thing if the idea starts with them, but I kinda threw him off the cliff to fend for himself! My bad!

Just because they didn't necessarily practice what he preached, him and his wife, doesn't mean they aren't true...right? :)

Missty--that is so true! We have this ideal of what we think we want but we come to find it was those differences that we loved in the first place!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Chief-it totally is how we were! When we and when I say we I mean I figured out it wasn't in my best interest to force what I wanted him to be like and realized to learn to love him despite what irritates me about him...it went a lot smoother!

Missty-- I know its because I feel like I want to be in control! So change to adapt to ME! Is that to much to ask? Hehehehe

ZenMom--its true its mostly the mentality of women and not feeling insignificant! But controlling men do it also! Want to change or control the one they love its odd really! I married a good guy but had my fun with a bad one, they just aren't as trust worthy! In my case :)

DGB-- that is so true and I have fine tuned that! :)

Hubman said...

I always thought John Gray was a fuck-tard and I never read his book...

OF COURSE we change our spouses! Not always intentionally, but we do. To think that spouses don't cause some degree of change in each other is foolish.

I'm a better person because of my relationship with Veronica!

ZenMom said...

Hubman: Don't you think, though, that there's a difference between "natural" change as a couple grows and relationship matures and the "un-natural" change of one spouse trying to "fix" the other?

I'd like to think the best marriages are the ones that bring out the best in each partner - but in cooperation, not by force.

That's the difference I see, anyway. :)

Missty said...

Hubman, lol. so funny. Is there any guy that likes him. lol

I do think we all change, over time, thats what makes life so great. As we are married longer we all adapt and change... some relationships get better and some get worst.

For me - I think "changing someone" Is more like, Shelle said, she wanted her dh to be a salesman, HE said no way. Thats not him. She thought she knew better and decided yes he was... later she realized - he wasn't a salesman. Now she knows not to try that again.

Or like my relative who CHANGED everything about her husband. And who knows why he did... well I know why. lol (Thats for another post) And now she has changed him so much she doesn't "know him"

Life would be boring without change, but it has to be on each persons terms, don't you think?

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Hubman, tell us how you really feel... no really don't hold back :)

If you read more of the chapter and what I got out of it, he's not saying that you DON'T change as your relationship progresses, he's saying that you shouldn't force change, or guilt someone into change.

A lot of times for me, I would see a guy who is REALLY good at selling. Like a Realtor. They were making money... I would think, WOW! My guy is a people person, he would be GREAT at selling... and then I wanted him to be salesman. So in my own subconscious way I was trying to SHOW him that he would be a good salesman, trying to change or convince him that our lifes answers would be better if he would just be a Realtor!!! Which is just silly I know, but in my mind it all was worked out and then I pushed to change him into something he would never be or never be happy with.

My husband does NOT like the aspect of pushing someone to buy something, or trying to convince, or whatever that special knack is that a salesman has.
i don't think I'm the only one that did this?

Those kind of books to me are the kind that you take what applies to you and you look past the stuff that doesn't.

But of course we change and mold into different people over time because of our experiences. Some relationships grow stronger because they grow together and pick up many of each others characteristics and habits... but some relationships grow apart because individuals do change and want and need different things.

Ultimately... forcing someone to be what you think is best for them won't work, common sense, and something Dr. John Gray was pointing out. For some women, like my younger self, that was an eye opener! :)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

hahaha Zenmom and Missty! Ditto and Ditto!

Devri said...

ok you twisted my arm, I am here.


why do you want to change the man you marry? you marry the man you want, not marry the man you want him to be.

my hubby is Tongan, I am white, cultures are a big difference in our life, but I would never take the tongan out of my husband, that is who he is and that is who I love.. I say this because my friend is in love with someone, but does not want his culture.. foolish I think..

ok ok off to do something....

Hubman said...

Ya'll make good points. Shelle especially, I know what you're saying.

I don't really have anything useful to contribute, but wanted to comment somewhere and check out my new avatar. What do you think, ZenMom? ;-)

Southern Sage said...

One of the oldest adages ever is "women get married hoping he will change, men get married hoping she doesn't!"

ZenMom said...

@hubman LOL. Perfect. ;P

VENUS vs. MARS said...

Hubman--very snazzy... yes very snazzy in deed!

But now I know who you are!!! ;)