What would you guess is the number one cause of divorce or break-ups in relationships? Affairs? Money issues? Boredom? Let me give you a hint:
Albert Einstein said, “Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”
Expectations Regarding Change
If you read that quote carefully, you will see the ticking time bomb that is vibrating beneath 85% of today’s relationships. Let’s break it down.
“Men marry women with the hope they will never change.” Why? Because once a man gives up his precious and hard-won freedom for a woman and asks her to share his world with him, he has decided this is the person who fills his life. She brings to him something he can’t get on his own. He pictures a lifetime of love, support, and joy with this woman. He is probably physically attracted to her. His hope is all these factors never change.
“Women marry men with the hope they will change.” Let’s face it, ladies. We are sooo guilty of this trait. We see a man’s potential. Does he have a beer gut? We will encourage him to hit the gym once the ring is on our finger. He’s not making six figures? With our encouragement and support he soon will be. His mother is too involved in his life?
Once the honeymoon is over… so is Mother’s visits. We don’t like his haircut, choice of golf shirts, time with the boys, TV shows… the list goes on and on. With a little help, spit and polish, this guy could be quite a catch. Do you see the difference between the two quotes?
I’ve worked with women for over 30 years. I’ve interviewed over 2,000 men. I know that the previous statements are true. And if you can’t discern where that ticking noise is coming from, let me clue you in.
When a person is constantly put under a microscope to see all his faults, flaws and shortcomings, that person begins to diminish. His life is now one of constant criticism, hints, silent treatments, rages and picking apart his dreams. I’ve seen it so many times. It starts out as what the woman perceives as harmless suggestions about his hygiene, fashion sense, choice of friends, etc. Her intentions are honourable, right? I mean, she is only trying to help the poor guy have a better life, correct?
If you look deeper at the real motivation behind women trying to “better” their partners, you will see the real impetus. It’s her own feelings of low self-esteem. She needs the world, especially her friends and family, to see her with someone amazing.
This human being she married is a reflection of what she was able to capture and in a sense, is a yardstick of how she “measures up.” His annoying traits may be mirroring ones in herself she is not happy with. On a subconscious level, she feels by “straightening” him out, she has addressed her own issues.
Consequences of Underestimating
The reason belittling, undermining, insulting and undervaluing your mate is so dangerous and harmful is that it will eventually erode his feelings for you and himself. Affairs are usually started due to a person’s need to feel loved and admired at any cost. We shut down the very person we chose to love and be with. Why is it so important to us to now pick them apart? Seriously, who gave you the right or the power to take another person’s self-esteem and stomp it into the ground?
You can defuse the bomb with a straightforward trick: Start looking at him with eyes of love and appreciation. He is human. He is going to screw up on occasion, just like you do. The next time you feel tempted to point out something he did wrong, think about your last mistake. Did you spill the milk? Break a dish? Run late for work? Lose the car keys?
We become so accustomed to ignoring our own flaws as we go about with a magnifying glass and a sniper gun waiting for our loved one to mess up. Nothing… and I mean NOTHING will kill a relationship faster.
Please… let him breathe. Let him be human. When you start appreciating him for all he does for you, how hard he tries to do the best he can with what he’s got, you will begin to lose the habit of blame and belittling. You will see this guy blossom before your eyes as he feels loved and admired.
The men I surveyed listed being admired and appreciated as the top two things they craved from their women. Take it from them, and you will see someone who has become a shell of his former self.
If you continue to feel the need to be in control and hurt others, you need to address your low feelings of self-worth. You can only give away what you have inside. If you can’t give love, appreciation and support, then there is a hole inside you that needs to be addressed.
Dr. Wayne Dyer has a favourite quote of mine: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Believe me–when you change how you see him and view him only through eyes of love and appreciation, he will change. But not for the self-serving reasons we listed earlier. Instead, he will become the man HE always wanted to be, and you will have a relationship fairy tales were built upon.