One of the truest quotes I ever heard regarding marriage was told to me by a friend’s father. “Women marry men hoping to change them. Men marry women hoping they won’t change”. Coming from a man who is happily married for over 25 years, I really couldn’t dispute this quote. The more I thought about it, I realized there is a lot of truth to this statement. Why do women feel that they can change people? Why can’t we just leave well enough alone?
It’s easy for me to ask such bold questions. I do not claim to be removed from this statement. I too, feel the need to adapt, tweak and modify people in my life. Throughout our relationship, I have taught my boyfriend to be more assertive, confident and stylish. I am not as bad as some girls..mainly because he does stand up to me. For some reason, women don’t always accept people for who they are, rather, they fall in love or friendship with people for who they could be. This rule doesn’t apply to all situations or all relationships. However, I do think there is a difference between men and women when it comes to this matter. Most men become involved in relationships with people for who they are. When asked for advice or guidance from a friend, most men are reluctant to say much at all. My boyfriend has had a positive impact on me. In a lot of ways over the past 3 or so years, I have become a better person while knowing him. I have to say, his greatest impact on my life, has been instilling confidence in me for who I am, right now.
Sometimes I wonder if we are setting ourselves up for disappointment or failure when we seek to change others. When I look at the people in my life, I automatically think of ways I could help them. Often my motives are altruistic, wanting to make them smarter, more attractive or more employable. For a long time, I thought I could boost the confidence of my roommate, increase her self pride, and have her choice in partners reflect that. What was I thinking? I am not that smart. I am not that influential. I am not her and I am not you.
I have wasted a lot of effort over the past years trying to help the helpless. I now realize they weren’t so helpless. They were just content. What’s wrong with that? The next time you are out with your partner, your family or friends, think about why you ever wanted to change them in the first place? Were you really looking for that change within yourself?