Albert Einstein once said, ” Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed.”
I grew up in a conservative Catholic home. For the better part of my life, I based my values and beliefs accordingly. I remember once when I was about twelve years old, I was riding with my mom in the car. I saw a group of kids standing in the alley. One of them stood out to me, he had a purple mohawk, was dressed in all-black and was smoking. I said to my mom,” If I ever date someone like that, I know I could help him be a better person.” Taking this opportunity to teach her child a very important life lesson, my mom turned to me and said, “Kari, don’t ever be with a man you think you can change.”
She said this with such simple conviction, I knew it was not only true, but spoken from experience. Time and time again I see couples struggling because one wants the other to be something he or she isn’t.
In an article from Psychology Today, titled, “Can your Partner Change, Believe it Even if You Don’t See It,” says that if we believe our partners can change, even if we don’t see it right away, they have a better chance at being able to. It is important that both partners be open to change and when a request is made, the one who is making it needs to be patient and appreciate even the small steps that are taken.
I think the key to success here is to pick your battles. The article says couples often get so caught up in the negative perception of each other, they don’t see the small gestures that it often takes to change. It doesn’t happen overnight.
When Mike and I first moved in together, he always left the toilet seat up. This would drive me crazy. As much as I would remind him, he would remind me that it’s a habit and he can’t break it over night.
I tried leaving sticky notes: Morning, please put the GODDAMN SEAT DOWN! I wrote poems: Help me avoid the porcelain splash, on my ass. Apparently, not as impressive as I thought. I decided to have faith in the fact that he was acknowledging my frustration. It took some time, but eventually, he changed his habit from leaving it up, to putting it down.
When I do things that drive Mike crazy: leave dishes out, forget to eat the doggy-bag leftovers, don’t screw the cap on all the way, don’t give enough blow jobs, he seems to get just as frustrated. I too, remind him how hard it is to change a habit. After time, I now either eat my leftovers right away or throw them out and I’ve become a cleaner person, oh, and I’m even better at screwing; the cap on! (still gotta to work on those bjs.)
All I’m saying is for someone to be able to change, they have to have the will to do so. And, if you want to be in a happy relationship, you kind of have to have that will.
As far as the kid with the mohawk, he was probably happy being who he was and most likely wasn’t looking to be rescued. My freckled faced, pig-tailed, ribbon wearing self would have been his worst nightmare.