By Ilex Bien -Aime
I have always heard the saying “Men go into marriage expecting their women not to change; women go into marriage expecting that their husbands will”. From the beginning of the marriage, there is already this push and pull. We often walk into marriages with mixed expectations and this makes it harder to become one. Both sides have to realize that they must adjust their perspectives and that there is need for change.
The word change is a very dirty word for most people. Let’s face it, when someone thinks you should change, you feel as if they are telling you that something is wrong with you. It’s hard not to take things personally because you feel that this is the person that your spouse married and that they should have known that this was who/how you were from the beginning. Honestly, this is where the trouble truly begins and where animosity begins.
Everyone is reluctant to change, especially when someone is requiring it of you. When you change on your own, it obviously does not feel forced. When someone else wants you to change, most people fight it tooth and nail. I guess you can say that this is where pride takes over. When that happens, it’s difficult to get through to the other person. Instead of listening to each other, it almost seems as if you begin to try to “one up” the other person.
The problem with most humans is that we know that we are not perfect and yet we act as if we are. Fundamentally we know that we have issues but we don’t like it when other people try to tell us. When our friends tell us that we aren’t perfect, we laugh it off or we tell them where they can go. When our spouses tell us about our imperfections it’s a slap in the face. We expect for them to live with us, flaws and all.
Change is all around us and to tell you the truth, we change all of the time. Sometimes we change by choice and other times out of necessity. When it comes to changing in marriages, our personal feelings get in the way. That seems to be the thing that makes changing so difficult – being personally invested takes over our rational thinking. Change, however, does not need to be as horrible as we make it.
Honestly, I feel that change comes from within. Once your spouse lets you know that there is an issue, you have to decide to change to accommodate them. All too often we expect our spouses to change right on the spot or when we want them to but that can be dangerous. Change isn’t something that happens overnight for most people. Sure, some people can change cold turkey but that is not the norm. Someone who has been a certain way their entire life now has to change – that does not come easily.
I am not going to sit here and act as if I have this change thing down because I do not. Honestly, change is very difficult for me. I am a very analytical person and when I don’t feel like something makes sense, it’s hard for me to change. The thing about change in marriage is that it is a two way street. All parties must be willing to change in order for things to work. No matter how great you think you are, you will need to change. If you can seriously read this and think that you do not need to change, you probably need to change more than you think!
Ilex Bien-Aime is an integral part of the BlackLoveAndMarriage.com team. He lives in Washington, DC with his lovely wife. He writes as a man who has seen women mistreat themselves and who have allowed themselves to be mistreated. He writes as a man who wants to give his future daughters a guideline on how to deal with men. Lastly he writes what he writes because his female friends are always asking his opinion about these situations. Connect with Ilex at Iamsayingit.blogspot.com or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.