Changing a man: helping him to be a better person.

This weekend, I was reading the book: “The wedding” by Nicholas Sparks. If you like romantic novels, this is a good one. One of my friends, had been recommending this book for a while, and finally I started the reading 2 days ago.

Despite of the regular novels, this one gives a good learning about marriage. At least, it’s what I’m getting from it. We have this couple, who had been married for 29 years, and he forgets the Anniversary day. Here is when the novel starts. I’m reading the chapter 8, and so far what I had learn it’s a wonderful lesson for any marriage:  Jane (the wife) NEVER, ever tried to change her husband. Even she wanted him to be more romantic and more expressive, over the 29 years of their marriage, she had loved him the way that HE is. She had loved him because of his Nominal value.

Do you remember this definition? In a man, the nominal value it’s he’s current value, the way that he’s, without ANY change.

It means that we recognize that he’s human, and that like us and all other human beings, he has a personality with strengths and weaknesses. We realize that there are defects, but we do not worry about them because we accept the WHOLE man. If he wants to change by his own, that’s great, but we’re satisfied the way he is.

Acceptance does not mean tolerance, we know his serious faults but we’re willing to tolerate them. Nor does it mean dishonesty on our part: to convince ourselves that he’s perfect, when he’s not. Acceptance does not mean resignation either.

When you accept a man, you’re satisfied with what you see, and you show your love not trying to change him.  Changing a man, just does not work.

Leo Tolstoy, a famous Russian writer and his wife were completely happy in their marriage. Tolstoy was one of the most famous novelists of all time. Two of his masterpieces, War and Peace and Anna Karenina are considered literary treasures. He was so admired by his audience; that they followed him day and night, taking note of every word that came from his lips.

Although he was a rich and famous man, after studying the teachings of Jesus, he gave away all his belongings, worked in the fields chopping wood, stacking hay, made his own shoes and tried to love their enemies . He gave away all rights and profits of his books, and had the courage and conviction necessary to live the life he thought was the best.

But his wife never accepted him, nor his simple philosophy of life. She loved luxury and despised him; she craved fame and estimation of society, which for him meant nothing. She coveted the money and riches, but he considered them wicked. For years, she made every effort to change his ideas. When Tolstoy was the opposite of something, she became hysterical, threatening suicide by jumping into a well.

After forty-eight years, this man who adored his wife when he married her, he could not bear even her presence. One of the most tragic scenes occurred when the Countess Tolstoy distressed and old, eager for a little affection, he knelt at the feet of her husband and begged him to read the exquisite love passages that he had written for her, fifty years back. She wanted to remember those happy days, but they were forever gone. The last request by Tolstoy, before he died was not to allow his wife to be present.

Why women try to change their husbands?

In many cases it is because they are dissatisfied or angry with them. They have not accepted his real value; therefore it is difficult to accept his faults. But more often (and especially trained women) do “for his own good.” The argument its: “If you really love someone, it is very important to make sure you get the best that life can offer. So should I change my husband, for his own good? ”

If a man is blind to his own faults and difficulties this causes blindness or loss of success, it is important that his wife mention something about it. But while he realizes his mistake, and still persists in committing it again, she should not insist more on the topic.

And yes, we can think: “But, those defects in my husband are stopping him to be more successful, therefore I need to change him, so he can be happy” This sounds like a noble endeavor, but there are four reasons why women should not try to change men, and are as follows:

1. Cause problems in marriage.

2. It can destroy love.

3. Does not work.

4. May cause rebellion in man.

Let’s see the main areas where a woman tries to change in her husband:

1. Personal habits. Things such as bad habits of food from the nutritional point of view, bad manners of civility, neglect of appearance, bad grammar and spelling, bad temper, nervous breakdown, car handling, disorder (especially in letting their belongings lying around the house). Also by their lack of courtesy, foul language, his excesses in smoking or drinking, etc.

 2. The way he uses his time: Many women make an effort to try to change the use of free time with her husband, and use it to their advantage. They complain that he spends too much time away from home in the company of his friends, sporting events, obligations or duties of his church, or other outdoor activities, watching television or sleeping on the couch. Others say they do not come home early or not let them know when they will be delayed.

3. Duties: Many women make an appeal to their husbands when they do not fulfill their duties in the home (such as repairs, painting, gardening, etc.). Complain they do not meet at work, not paying bills, abandon their religious or other similar duties, or are lazy and sloppy, which is why they fail.

 4. Social behavior: Another group of women complain that their husbands boast much in public, talk too much or too little, and do not say what they should, or are careless in their conversation. Others do not have good manners in public, are rude, and so on.

5. Aspirations and dreams: The fifth group is complaining that their husbands have no ambition, no joy of life; they look down on themselves, or have no desire to improve their conditions. Some do not know what they want in life, others have no imagination and let pass the opportunity. Some people have dreams, impossible to carry out.

6. Men’s achievements: There are women who try to push their husbands to success. Some complain that they do not take the reins at home and guide them well, who are undecided, they worry too much about past mistakes, judge without knowing all the circumstances or never have good ideas.

 7. Money: The most wives complain that their spouses do not manage money well; that they wasted on nonsense, are greedy or spend large amounts without consulting them.

 8. Neglect to kids: In this group there are the men whose wives are asked to assume more responsibility in the care and education of their children.

9. Religion: Many complain that they never attend church, pay no heed to the religious beliefs of them or are not interested in religion. Where can we find Mr. Right?

Does it sound familiar?

Changing a man, does not work. And the consequences of trying are not always the best. Accepting him for his real value gives him freedom, and there is when he’ll see his faults. Then, the real changes will come.

Source:  “Fascinating womanhood” by Helen Andelin