RELATIONSHIPS 101: You Are NOT Changing Them!

After almost 30 years of marriage (in May...), I have come about a bit of "wisdom" that I believe is worth passing along to anyone who is in a relationship or contemplating getting into a relationship.  This "wisdom" is not anything new; most of you have even heard it before.  However, just like the parents of Tee Ballers, you "hear what I'm, saying", but you don't think it applies to YOUR kid.

I had a lifelong friend who divorced while we were back in college during our 30's.  After the divorce, she began dating and with each guy she would tell me about, I would ask her one simple question:  "What is his fatal character flaw?"  We laughed about this question a good bit, but I made no bones about it...Go out with him a few times and I guarantee that you will find it.  It wasn't long before she began regularly reporting back to me about all of the "character flaws" she had discovered.  I don't like to gloat (well, maybe sometimes...), but if there is one thing I know, it is this fact:  YOU CANNOT CHANGE A PERSON.  If they indeed have flaws (and they all do...), those are things they will always have and no matter how you try, you will never really be able to change those things.

The advice that I have given to my own children upon dating, getting engaged or ultimately getting married is to look closely at the person you are in a relationship with.  Get to know them (and their family...) well.  Be honest with yourself, because in the end, honestly WILL catch up with you.  So, look at that person realistically and see what  little (or big...) things bug you about them.  OH...you think there are "perfect" marriages out there?!  HA!  That is an oxymoron; using the words "perfect" and "marriage" in the same sentence.  A union (or relationship...) between two imperfect individuals does NOT perfection make.

The problem with entering a relationship with lots of folks these days is the fact that they become enamoured with all of the planning and expectations of life to be a fairy tale.  Well, just remember this:  "All fairy tales have witches, dark forests and wild animals".  Now, I must admit that after almost 30 years of marriage, we must be doing something right.  And one of those things is being able to admit our faults and accept the things we cannot change about one another.  I am the first to admit that I have faults...and believe me; they are plenty!  Now, don't get me wrong; there are definitely some "deal breakers".  I do NOT believe that abuse of any kind or infidelity is excusable.  However, "little" things often times must be overlooked unless you want to fight every day of your lives.  What sort of things am I talking about?  Well, I will just give you a few examples:  How about picking up your mate's dirty clothes and throwing them in the laundry with yours?  Or maybe not saying anything about the fact that they leave their coffee cup sitting on the floor beside their recliner?  Oh...and this is the one that REALLY gets me that young girls often do; how about letting your mate dress themselves!  SERIOUSLY...Is it necessary to dress another adult?!  Poor guys, I feel sorry for them when "wifey" makes them go back in and change their clothes...to match THEIRS!

I realize that some of these things may seem a little silly, but I have seen entire relationships crumble because people harp on "little" things that really do not matter.  HEY!  You knew that person before you decided to get into a relationship with them.  You knew what their faults were.  And I know what you were thinking..."I can change that about them.  I can mold them into what I would like for them be."  But I'm here to let you in on a bit of "wisdom"...YOU ARE NOT EVER GOING TO CHANGE THEM; WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET!  After all, I find that it is easier to overlook "little" things when there is LOVE involved.  You may think this to be somewhat "corny" (but who has been happily married for 30 years here?...), but "TRUE LOVE" overlooks the small stuff and allows one to enjoy life to the fullest. 

                                                    BE YOURSELF AND BE HAPPY!

3 comments

  1. Barbara, so true.... going on 31 years for us. Isn't it wonderful.

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  2. Amen! I would second this with "Don't take your mates crabby behavior personally." This helped me a lot a few years ago when I realized how my hubby was acting had more to do with him than me. It freed me to step into his shoes and see what was stressing him out or how I was behaving and causing his reaction. Now when he's grumpy I don't get so defensive. Oh, we've been married 15 years. :)

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  3. I am so glad that y'all have come to the same "wisdom" that I have...guess that's why we've all been married for so long!

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