Single Women: Do Not Try To Change Him

A bit more on the general subject touched upon with yesterday’s, “Stop Wasting Time Looking for Mr. Right.

If you’re a single woman, a good thing to understand about any man with whom you’re thinking about getting more deeply involved or even married is that men don’t change. They are who they are. Love and accept the man you’re interested in as he is, or move on.

If your potential life-mate possesses a quality that you don’t like—a habit, personality quirk, major behavior tendency, political philosophy, whatever—then you need to ask yourself whether you can live with that quality, or not. If not, then move on to bachelor number two; bachelor number one isn’t your guy.

When it comes to figuring out if you can live with your man’s problematic quality, ask yourself this: Does that quality offend your values, or your taste? If stuff he does, says, or thinks run contrary to your values, then that’s a serious issue. But if what he offends is your taste—if in effect he simply does things differently than you’d prefer him to—then probably not so much.

A value difference could be a deal breaker. But a style difference shouldn’t be.

Let’s say you love a man who is a motorcycle enthusiast. You’d rather he didn’t ride a motorcycle, because it’s dangerous. But is riding a motorcycle a values issue, or a style issue? Though a case can be made for it being a values issue (since for the sake of our loved ones we should all remain as safe as possible), it’s primarily a matter of style, insofar as knowing that a person drives a motorcycle tells you nothing about that person’s character; it’s something they do, and no indicator at all of who they are. So as a problem, you’re going to have to let go the fact that your man drives a motorcycle—or you should at least be a lot more willing to let that go, to accept that quality of his. Because the bottom line is that he does ride a motorcycle. That’s who he is. There isn’t a different man inside of him who doesn’t ride a motorcycle, a man that you can somehow get to replace the man you know. Though it may sound harsh, that your man rides a motorcycle is your problem, not his.

You can’t change that about him. Your choice is to either leave him over the fact that he rides a motorcycle, or embrace it as part of what makes you love him so.

The choice you don’t want to make is to try to change whatever problem you have with your man into his problem, by complaining about it, or trying to make him feel guilty about it, or (even) crying about it. Sure, at the time you do those things, a guy may respond to the emotionality of the moment by saying (and perhaps even believing) that he will change. But he won’t. Because once the drama has cleared, the truth of who he really is will begin to reassert itself, and he will begin to think that you don’t actually have a right to tell him who or how he should be. And as sure as one day follows the next, he’s then going to start resenting you for trying to make your own will his own.

And as likely as not, he’ll then start lying to you. He’ll start sneaking doing whatever it is he does that you don’t like. And then you’ll “catch” him doing that thing.

And there you’ll be, stuck in that nasty little loop in which so many couples do get stuck, where the woman’s either constantly nagging at her man to stop doing something he keeps doing anyway, or is deeply upset at discovering that her man’s been lying to her about something he’s been doing all along that he’s not “supposed” to be doing at all.

Avoid that trap forever, going in, by realizing that you’re supposed to love your partner for who they are, not for who you want them to become.

The thing is, persisting in trying to change your man is guaranteed to transmogrify you something much more akin to his mother than his wife. And then he will turn into a bastardized version of your son. Tell your man he needs to eat more vegetables, and as sure as the day is long he’ll start sneaking pizza.

Yech.

Life’s too short. You want a man, not a boy. Successful relationships are built on mutual respect, not the kind of co-dependent, mutually dysfunctional craziness that necessarily develops whenever one person in a relationship is convinced that they know what’s best for the other.

Be prepared to take and love him as he is, or move on to someone you can.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Esther

    Hi John,

    Very good reminder for women, not only for singles.

    I very much agree with your point, and start to realize that I might had never been in love, as what a person did and said did bother me (not for motorbike, but core values), so….they were my exs. I know there are men out there that fixed their issues inside out, they initiated the changes, and do what they say, they are adorable.

    There is one thing I don't understand, can you elaborate further?

    Why 'love means never having to say they're sorry'? Thanks!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    It's a play on the saying, "Love means never having to say you're sorry." But maybe you've not heard that before?? It's, like, the tag line from this massively popular movie from, like, 1972 or so, called "Love Story." It starred Ali McGraw and … Tatum O'Neil's dad. (Bob O'Neil? Arnie O'Neil? Anyway, that guy. RYAN! Ryan O'Neil.)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Greta: You're talking about men into online porn? Man, that's a whoooole other topic. If a guy is habitually staying up too late, or in any way compromising his family or wife's experience because of the degree to which he's wrapped up in online porn, there's a LOT going on there. Too much for one pat answer. Is he exchaning notes or emails with a real, living person? Is he engaging in Actual Sexual Conduct in sync with a women he's instant messaging? Is he "only" looking at pictures and movies? How's his wife feel about that? Some women don't think it's that big a deal; some lose their minds over it. If the woman is really upset about it, WHY is she upset? If the man is hiding it, WHY is he hiding it?

    As I said in my last post (or in the comment chain of my last post), sex makes people insane. A man whacking off to porn in the middle of the night while his family and wife sleep is a scenario that automatically sweeps through EVERYTHING having to do with sex in that house. And that's … one big, moving kettle of fish.

    Men (duh) are attracted to porn. No question about that. Some of the reason behind that is natural, some is unnatural. Everyone's job is to be very clear on which is which, and what that means they should do about it. And, of course, it tends to be a pretty central challenge for just about anyone with a computer.

    Hjordes: You said it: Premarital counseling is a wonderful thing. I mean, it can be. Bottom line is you have no IDEA what it is to live with someone–much less someone you're newly MARRIED to–until you've done it, and no amount of pre-advice can change the dynamics of that very intense drama.

    Your values vs. taste example doesn't seem fuzzy to me: Expecting someone to clean up after you (asssuming that's not part of your prior understanding) is manifestly disrespectful to that person. Needing to be respectful to your spouse is a value pretty much anyone would agree is a good one. A husband who won't stop being a slob and who expects his wife to clean up after him is royally screwing up. If he won't acknowledge that, then that marriage has problems way beyond that someone's leaving their dirty socks around. (But you knew that.)

  • http://www.sheppardministries.com Greta Sheppard

    John, in this one particular case of the male porn addict, the wife is no slouch when it comes to needing and wanting her husband's lovemaking. To put it bluntly, 'nothing wrong with her sex-drive".

    She found his addiction when he inadvertently forgot to lock/hide his computer program one day. When she went in to do her office work, these women were on the screen. Upon going deeper she was shocked beyond belief. Needless to say, there was much interrogation that night when he walked in the door from work. He just shrugged and laughed it off and told her never to bring it up again and he promised not to do it again. DUH! She has left him because he rarely comes to bed. Naturally, she's suspicious and rightly so, that he's getting his 'fix' from 'someone else'.

    Lots of broken hearted women out there, John! I know most guys think it's a big joke when married women cry 'foul' over on-screen porn. (it's on-par with drug addicton!). Anyways I am off to the airport, flying over the water to speak to 500 ladies at a Women's Conference on subjects such as this. Fixing The Soul is my topic.

    Have a good day…Greta

  • http://www.thriven.org jonathanbrink

    John…love story? You're dating yourself big time. ;-P

  • http://www.thriven.org jonathanbrink

    Greta,

    Read the post that talks about just what you said. It's sad in a funny kind of way…or is it funny in a sad kind of way?

    http://www.flowerdust.net/?p=571

  • Billy B

    There is a major difference between annoying habits and sin issues. I bite my nails, always have, probably always will. I'd expect someone to deal with that, as I'd have to deal with someone else's flaws. Fair enough. But if a potential mate has serious sin issues, then that should be a deal breaker. When you marry someone their problems become your problems, especially this time of the year when in-laws come into the picture. Mine are all naturally dead so that is a plus in my column :-)

  • Vivian

    John,

    Great Article. Alot of nice points. I women have eyes as well and can see. We are attracted to men just as women are attracted to men. I think it is a big excuse that men are such visual creatures that they cant help but be attracted to these things (porn). Well I have a computer and I dont find myself going off to these sites. So why is it a problem for almost everyone that has a computer that is not true. I myself have also been affected by this issue in my relationshp and I think that there are too many excuses made for men that allow them to feel that these things are acceptable and that a women just does not understand because they were made in the image of God and this would mean that there is a problem with God. There was only one women in the garden when adam as there not a whole bunch. How should a women feel about this? Do you not think that it takes a mans affections away from his relationship and attention as well.

  • Arnette

    Okay…so…this is REAL good for those very honest men and women who enter into relationships very honestly telling their very honest feelings about what they honestly want and don't want and honestly like and don't like in each other. If I could just get my hands on one 'o them, that'd be SOOOO cool. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten that so far. Now that I'm all old and crusty (read, "seasoned") I can sort of spot the wrong characteristics and listen for the key words and peep out the bad body language. But the poor babies out there being told what they want to hear…like I was. Or telling somebody what you like or don't like and having them act the part until the veneer falls off. What about that John?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Jonathon: Of course, I started this post by saying I'm 49. Pretty hard to NOT date yourself after that….

    Billy B: Um … NOT sorry to hear about your in-laws?

    Vivian: No offense, but I don't believe women are attracted to porn with anywhere near the frequency or intensity men are. I don't think it's an excuse; I KNOW it's a fact. I mean, it just … is. Like a well, long-established, well-researched fact. But I know what you're saying: Women, too, have Major Sex Drives. As I say, I've known lots of relationships where the women don't trip about their men looking at porn, and lots where it's a huge problem between the couple. So it just depends on the psychological reality of the couple. At least, that's been my experience with everyone I know. But over the course of my life I've known a more–or known more about, anyway–non-Christian couples, than I have Christian. It's been my experience, for sure, that non-Christians are a lot more open to talking about this stuff than Christians are, is why. I don't know if that's good or bad, but I know it's true. On the other hand, Christians WRITE about porn a lot, so … there's that. Anyway. Seems to be an issue with people. As sex invariably is, with everyone. No escaping that, that's for sure.

    Arnette: It's funny you said what you did, because my next post I'm thinking about doing one about how, once you THINK you know the man you want to marry, you can find out for SURE if he's the guy. But, yeah, people are … people. You know what I think? I think one of the big reasons people so often seem not to be honest is because THEY don't even know what they think about things. People are good at a lot of things, but drawing firm, fast conclusions about stuff is NOT one of them. We are, by nature, wafflers.

  • Michele

    He who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery in his heart.

    It doesn't matter if you are a man or woman, gay or straight, or if your desires are "natural" or "unnatural"

    (Not everything that is natural is good. Look up the word natural in the KJV Bible – not all references are positve. We all "naturally" have a sin nature, and this effects our sexuality)

    It also does not matter whether your spouse has a problem with your behavior or not, or if you are married or not.

    The only appropriate object of desire is your spouse. "Take EVERY thought captive…"

    These commands are really hard for ALL of us to obey, man or woman.

    But I don't get to pick the rules based on whether they are easy for me to obey or whether or not I've blown it.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Yeah, Hjordes.

  • Michele

    Uh-Oh.

    Someone posted on John's previous blog post with the exact same spelling of my first name.

    I posted the post above. It was my first post on this blog. This is my second post.

    I Shall be known as the second Michele.

    I huge shout-out to the First Michele. MicheleS with our spelling our few and far between.

  • http://blueraindrop.wordpress.com blueraindrop

    my problem is not the quirks i cant live with originally. its that the same things that are adorable during the swooning stage tend to change into things that drive me nuts later on. the same sporty motorcycle that seems adventurous and exciting can later end up seeming childish and immature after time has passed.

  • http://www.sheppardministries.com Greta Sheppard

    Some good points made! I could love a man who rides a motorcycle if that were his passion in life! I was raised with a father with similar passion. No problem. But what about the woman who loves a man whose passion is the computer? Not for work, but in the wee hours of the night, after she has fallen asleep and the kids are all tucked in their beds? Need I say more?

    I counsel these women who married for love, and now find out their man has a secret life. Can that man change his ways? Which of course leads us to the old adage: “Can a leopard change it’s spots?”

    I think you are onto something good here, John. You have touched a raw societal nerve. Sadly, these women are getting no help whatsoever from male counsellors. What advice would you, a man, give a woman who lives in a crowded marriage. Does she stay with the guy even if he has this lifestyle that he can’t live without?

    In a way you have already answered it…”Is that thing a matter of values, or taste? Relative to whatever it is about any given guy that you think is a problem, ask yourself this question: If he’s behaving in a way that runs contrary to your values, then that’s a serious issue. But if it’s only a matter of taste–or preference…..”.

    John, with these guys it’s values, taste and preference! They indulge their taste deceitfully. Trouble is…their teenage son’s are into it too. Good homes are falling apart……all because of values, taste and preference……help! Have you any words for the guys out there who are willing to sacrifice a good woman for someone in cyberspace who tintilates their values, taste and preferences? My feelings run deep on this because much of my time is taken up with good women’s cries for help……is there any hope?

    Greta

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Yeah–but, you know: WHY? Why did you change? You were either too shallow going in, or too critical later. (No offense to you personally!! What you describe is such a common dynamic. I'm only meaning to address that dynamic GENERALLY, not to you personally.) But do you think that's fair to say? Isn't it your fault for acting like something was at first okay, when, really, it wasn't?

  • Hjordes

    Great blog. I love this line:

    “And one of the ways you know you’re in love with someone is that nothing that person does or says ever really bothers you at all.”

    Things are often more complex, though, when you’re talking values vs. taste. How about when personal taste – like being a slob – becomes a value issue since it reflects on your lack of respect for the partner that you are expecting will clean up after you?

    The point – premarital counseling is awesome and important.

  • http://blueraindrop.wordpress.com blueraindrop

    i don't think its that it wasn't ok originally…. most cases i dont think are a situation of acting, just a situation where things don't always stay the same.

    i guess interests just change. things lose their newness maybe? or maybe they just shift as time passes like interests in other things. the color of paint that i adored for my walls 3 years ago can drive me nuts today, so the quirks i loved and thought were positive points back then may have become annoying to me as well given more time and exposure.

    and in a couple cases personally, i'd say it was an instance where the thing i'd wish they would change was something that wasn't as obvious originally and came out more over time, as we gradually let more of our bad sides become exposed that we wished we didnt have. trivial things acceptable while dating may end up being just the small visible part of a much larger and less tolerable issue.

  • Terri

    Oh My Goodness… this is the same thing that me and my friends have been talking about for the past couple of weeks… i mean the whole fact that we are single and that we have to realize that men or gonna be men no matter what and we cant change that is something that we have all been trying to grasp for a while now. Im just really happy to know that our realization is headed towards the right direction…

  • Rebecca

    Can't even begin to tell you how much the article did for me. (It was like a truck between the eyes. BAM!) I personally have really been a "yo-yo", up and down, about a particular man. So many people say we are a great match, and try to set things up, and while I have no bitterness towards them (I know they mean well) I just have a strange feeling about him. (A bad one.) It's not that he's a bad guy-he really has a lot going for him. But I just don't think he's right for me. And I believe the reason I've been doing the "back and forth" game is because of the whole "nobody's perfect" line. "Are my expectations too idealistic or am I seeing red flags?" One of my pastors joked about how you don't notice the faults until AFTER you're married and say, "Dear Lord, You said this was a good idea!" LOL. I'm thinking, "Well, either I have a seriously critical nature or this guy just isn't it." I realize I certainly have my own set of faults, so I realize he'll have his own. But I like how you said (John) how when you love someone that rarely anything they say or do bothers you; you love them for who they are…everything included (paraphrase). That was just a very timely, very straight-forward article, and I appreciated it greatly. (I'm not getting married to babysit; I want a leader on a great journey. There's a huge difference.) :) Thanks John! Good one! :D

  • David

    I have learned the hard way that you cannot change another person. Several times a day I ask God to grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, give me the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. The only person I can change is me. It took attending several CoDA meetings to come to that realization. I have noticed a remarkable change for the good in all my relationships since I started making the changes in myself.

  • Ann

    John,

    This is an important point. I saw the link from christian singles. I have always wanted to be married but am not yet. The guys I meet who ride motorcycles,dive,surf whatever aren’t christians. ( I do those things -work in parks and rec/ EMS ) so I am always stuck. I have no problem at all with activities like that as long as its done responsibly. Its character issues that get my attention. I feel bad but I feel like I have to investigate every thing about them first so I can judge where they are going to end up.

    There are christian movements within mens groups that tell men they have to give all that up… women,forget it. Even if they wanted to try those activities their husband if they are married would never tolerate it. ( patriarchial types ) All my women frends who are christians are fat and stay at home.

    I like the topic but it opens a whole can of worms,mostly for married people. Prevention and waiting is where its at if your single,but it is very difficult.

  • Sheryl

    John, thanks for the greatly worded advice. I have recently started a new relationship which I believe will mature to marriage. What is so different about this relationship is that the little things do not bother me. They are things we laugh at and that is really cool. I will be sure to be conscious of loving who he is, not who I want him to be. Thanks again!

  • Karen

    I have struggled with understanding what it means to be in love versus loving someone. I think being in love is more of the chemistry side. But you say that when you’re in love nothing the other person says or does ever bothers you. Is that true? Or do things bother you a little but you want to overlook them and work through them with this person. Whereas with other people, they might say or do something that bothers you and you have no desire to work through it but are perfectly fine to limit your interaction with that person? I’m just curious. I’ve polled people about how they “knew” they were in love and the answer always comes back “you just do” which is not helpful.

  • Nyanso

    Thanks John,

    Its really true, trying changing someone is the hard thing, and can lead to trouble.

    Its important to pray, as PRAYERS CHANGES THINGS!

    God bless you all

  • Diane Craig

    Love IS saying I am sorry.

  • Serena

    To Karen:

    I recently met a wonderful man (I know, cliche) with whom I hope to spend the rest of my life. I met him on a singles site, and we communicated for a few weeks, then decided to meet. The very first time I met him in person, I knew that he was the one person I have been waiting for. And it’s true, you just ‘know’ when you meet that person. And as for the little things that he does that may or may not bother me..I really don’t think you have to try to overlook them. He and I connect so well, that little things aren’t a problem. I believe that when you do meet the person you will commit to for life, that he/she will not have any of those little habits/quirks that drive you crazy, because he/she was created for you, and why would God create someone for you who will do those things that drive you crazy?

    He is definitely not perfect…he leaves the toilet lid up, which is one thing that I don’t like. But he loves me, honors me, and that in return makes me want to serve him. And if that means that I have to lower the toilet lid, the I’ll be happy to oblige!

    Just thoughts.

  • Bobby Cates

    Well done Daine!!!… how then are we to begin to grow in loving each other for a life time if, LOVE DOES NOT REQUIRE HAVING TO SAY I’M SORRY???… Surely if you are saying i’m sorry in a meaningful way it means …I’ve taken the time to hear and listen to you…I understand what this means to you…and I’m thinking about possibly learning from this so not to repeat the offence… isn’t that the difference loving someone should make???

  • Sandra Johnson

    suggestions please?

    i have recently been ‘dumped’ for the second time in a 3 yr. relationship. the first time we were engaged and he was unfaithful and came to me with this information. we were apart for 4 months and it was a very long 4 months. one afternoon he called me and asked for me to reconsider takeing him back, and how he loved me so much. the second time has happened now. on the morning of october 12 he called to tell me how excited he was to see me and professed his love like he always does to me. 8 hours later he showed up at my doorstep and said those dreaded words, ‘set down, we need to talk’! within 15 minutes he proceeded telling me that ‘he had fallen out of love with me’ and he has met someone else. he hugged me, said take care of yourself and walked out of my life once more. i stood in shock, my heart was paralyized! he is now in another relationship and oddly enough i saw them recently and she appears to look similar to me! i am in therpy now and love my precious God so very much. I keep asking God to carry me thru this storm and heal my heart ‘quickly’. to this day…i am dying inside. what sort of suggestion would you have for me to read, do in order to move forward? i am struggling with this so much! he even has said to me since then on email that he couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful woman that is so beautiful inside as well as outside! i am so confused and so very very hurt still. can you offer any help with this please? i am a good woman, i adore my God, i have a great career and awesome family! why is this so difficult for me to get thru?

  • Lil

    Hi John – Thanks for sharing this article. I was studying in my quiet time today about what every man and woman should consider in the relationship. Read Ephesians 5:23-33 out of the message bible – that is the best and clearest version of what we should all do. I know that as God prepares my path to meet up with my future husband that he will be just exactly how God chose him to be. So, ladies, put away your expectations and let God take care of it all cause He said in Genesis 2:18 that it is not good for man to be alone, so He created us woman to be a helper, compatible and loving to our mates. But He also said that it would be in HIS timing not ours. Just keep the desires of our hearts before God and stay focus on Him not on our future mates.

  • Nick

    Awesome article John…Sent it a few female friends of mine..One thought it was great, the other I’m still waiting on..

    But I must say that guys must play by the same rules in not trying to change women too…Boy did I just open a can of worms…;-)

    Sandra Johnson – I think you have to end that relationship…Just doesn’t seem like he’s serious about you, nor does it seems he knows what he wants.. He basically has one foot out the door and one foot on a banana peel. Don’t look back and preservere..

  • Melissa

    I so disagree with your statement that if you really love someone nothing they say or do really bothers you. What world do you live in? Honestly, remember you said no one is perfect. Case in point, I love my children beyond belief. But they do lots of things that bother me. I have many friends that I love dearly, and trust me they do things that bother me. Yes, most of the things they do are not damaging to their character…but still God created us to be different, with different thoughts and opinions.

    I loved my ex-husband even when he did character damage and when he got on my last nerve.

    So, I do agree that no one can change us male or female. It is truly up to us to allow God to work in and through us to change.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Whoa! There’s a lot of great stuff here! Sorry I was slow getting to it (I’ve got this whole honkin’ BOOK due in, like, three weeks. So. Busy with that), but I had no idea so many people would have such honest, profound, and insightful things to SAY about relationships.

    Do you know that (like, I would guess, seventeen zillion other people alive right now) I’ve always wanted to run a Love Advice column? I USED to actually, for this local magazine I used to write for, and I LOVED it. People would write me in their Love Problems, and I was always, like, “Ditch him. He’s a loser. Guy’s LOVE to never QUITE commit to a girl,” or whatever. I just … loved that work.

    This comment thread has SO reawakened my desire to do that again. If anyone out there is reading this, do you think that’s something anyone BUT me would ever want to do? Think anyone would actually ASK me any questions? Think I should put on my blog, like, “Have a love question or problem? ASK (not actually accredited) DR. JOHN for the best advice he has at the moment he reads and answers your letter!”

    Maybe I should start a whole other BLOG, just for that. I would so love that.

  • Renee

    Hi John,

    “Love means never having to say they’re sorry” only if you live by the bible writen by the Hollywood. In general I agree that men/people can’t be changed. They have to see their need and want to change.

    Yet your article left me feeling as though you are saying it is ok for a man to be inconsiderate. Instead of men just taking an attitude about a woman who has a strong opinion about something. Maybe he should talk to her about it and try to discover why she feels the way she does. Maybe someone close to her died in a motercycle accident. A little honest communication might go along way rather than trying to justify deception. If he is really a man, he will have the guts to stand up to her and tell her the truth about his feelings rather than wimp out and lie to her about the issue. God will not hold her accountable for his lie. “She Nagged” won’t be a good enough excuse when facing God.

    I agree that women should not nag. It is not helpful or Godly, framkly it tears down communication. But the bible says every one should look at the needs of others before the needs of them self. Might I suggest that men check their prideful attitude with God first, before he tells his girl friend that a biker dude is just who he is and she can deal with it or get out.

  • Alison Cotter

    What a condescending article. To assume that all women are looking to change a man. That we want to mother them. That women are so desperate to marry we will grab onto any man and assume we can make him into something other than what he is.

    I assume that you are also someone who believes that every woman on earth is only happy when she is married. Well you know what there are a lot of women out there you are doing just find on our own. Lets just keep up the tried old image that all women nag, that we live to shop and are only happy with children and a man on our arm.That we only care about kids, clothes and getting an MRS Degree.

    Tell me something why are all the articles written on this site written by married people? For a site which calls itself Christian singles it seem to have one aim, get everyone married and make sure they feel that being single is a negative, unchristian state.

    Thanks but no thanks there are other much better sites out there. Like Christianity Today’s single site. Which is actually written by of all things a single person. Please remove me from the mailing list.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Wow! Two angry responses–at ONCE?

    Are you guys really the same person? C’mon. Fess up.

    No, but … um … I never said the things you guys seem to be reacting against. So I’m kind of .. stuck for a response. Of course I don’t think all women are “looking” to change a man; that’s not what I said. And of course I don’t think a woman has to be married to be happy. I mean … no. I really don’t think that. And Alison: I actually don’t HAVE you on any mailing list of mine. I believe you’re meaning to tell CROSSWALK to take you off their mailing list. Maybe you could … sort of tell them that directly? Because I’m afraid I actually don’t have a way to communicate that to them. Sorry!

  • Ann

    John,

    Maybe you could devote a portion of your site occassionally to these realtionship questions. Could I make a request though.?

    If you are honest, and are able to speak the truth in love,consider yourself and are a man who …” swears to his own hurt and does not change”…. Psalm 15: 4 then I would encourage you to try.

    There are many many christians who do things God’s way and are still waiting because of it and there are many who havn’t. We are sexual beings it is true and it is better to marry than to burn. But if that issue is screaming louder than the fact he rides a motorcycle you better get over it and if it causes problems later on, to bad. It was your choice. If sexual drive is more important than compatability…..oh well… sigh. Just keep married people like that away from the singles because we don’t need to hear it. We don’t want to end up like them.

  • http://christlovesjohnonmyspace John

    You hit the nail on the head about change. Christ changes people and not to suit another, but to bring them to a greater holiness and peace. Many do not understand that the things that bother them are issues with them, not the other person.

    I do think that a lot of women have control issues which is part of the curse. Perhaps many look for a man that provides security then after securing him to them, they set about trying to make him into the husband they wanted all along, but were too selfish to be honest.

    Marry the person you want and want forever, not the person you think is putty in your hands. A wife cannot submit to her husband if she’s trying to change him. That’s control.

    We have to become emotionally healthy and spiritually mature before we truly understand relationship with another. Many are into conditional love where as Christ showed us unconditional love. Doesn’t matter what we do, He still loves us. That is shown in how He doesn’t force us to change or rises in anger against us. He doesn’t yell and scream at us when we mess up, nor does He try to manipulate to get His way. Instead He gently, quietly leads, letting us gain wisdom in His teachings, His love, and the encounters we find ourselves in.

    Brothers and sisters, if you have a problem with someone, you’ve got the problem. You can’t cause anger or anything else in me. It’s mine to do with it. Cain’s blame says the other person is responsible for how I feel. Someone can yell obscenities at me. Doesn’t mean I have to react or have cause to react. It just means they’re yelling. Me? I’m still living in God’s peace and praying for them. It’s not a false outward peace, but a true peace. Ask him for it.

    Blessings

  • http://maymee.multiply.com Meyms

    I totally love this article and I agree too. :) This is my first time in this blog and I’m already loving it. A friend gave me this link. I guess I’ll hang out here always :)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Cool. Do. How fun!

  • http://blog.360.yahoo.com/skerrib Kerri B.

    Sandra, my 2 cents–you’re having a hard time because your ex treated you in a horribly hurtful way. Twice. Of course it’s a painful time. Kudos to you for doing the hard work of therapy…although in my experience the healing never comes ‘quickly.’ BUT I’ve also found the deepening of my relationship with God to be well worth the time spent remaining under the pain to let the process/God do their thing.

    As a layman, I suggest you sever all contact with your ex. Nicely, if you prefer. He’s telling you one thing with his words and another with his actions…not good when you’re trying to figure things out. Or ever. And call in reinforcements you can be vulnerable with (family, close friends) to support you through this. Don’t be fooled–it’s hard work and it will probably take a good amount of time to sort things out.

    And have a little bit of ice cream every so often. Not a lot; just a little bit.

    Oh John…I agreed with most everything except the part about when you’re in love then nothing the person says or does ever bothers you. Um, not in my experience. My husband and I drive each other crazy on a regular basis. I have learned, however, that while I’m ‘allowed’ to make requests, he is ‘allowed’ to respond in whatever way he chooses. So the whole don’t-try-to-change-him thing: yeah, totally.

  • glen bergeron

    i ‘m a man that knows he loves the woman that god put in his life.And very true she didn’t change me i chose to change and change is some times scary but when it’s done far all parties invoved and far the betterment of the person that is changing then good and better things are going to happen and god will honor that change.

  • Gail M.

    John: It goes both ways!

    Being a women married to my high school sweetheart at 17 and divorced 7 years and two children later gave me a since of what not to do and that was not to be what he wanted me to be; but, to be me and if he didn’t like it, then that was his problem as you mentioned in your writing. My X was so unhappy, lonely and bored being worshiped by his wife that he had to see if the grass was greener or more exciting on the other side with someone else.

    Then the Lord gave me a wonderful man and father for my children for twenty five years. I lived the fairy tale with my second husband. It was like a competition at times to see who could make who happier which only led to more happiness. My husband let me be me and supported me in anything I tried to do even if I failed and ditto with his dreams. I could have lived in a tent and ate beans for the rest of my life with him. If you can love and accept everything about a person, that’s what happen to me. Just being with him made me complete (we were one). I thank the Lord he gave me this wonderful man for 25 years. He is with the Lord today.

    I agree values have to be the same to make a marriage work; and putting things into perspective and communication is paramont. Ok, I did change. I learned to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom!

    Gail

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    GAIL: NICE! What a great story. Sad to read of your wonderful husband being away from us now; surely, he is now happily awaiting the blessed time when the two of you will again be joined.

    GLENN: I like this little thing you’ve said here. Very nice. Thank you.

    KERRI: Sounds like you guys have worked out a sane, helpful way of dealing with the kinds of everyday craziness that always pops up in relationships. Yay.

    MEYMS: “I guess I’ll hang out here always” is my new favorite phrase. I love it. THANK YOU!!

  • Nick

    John – You poor guy…Didn’t think you’re article was gonna cause such a commotion, huh..?..:-)…Excellent writing and now I look forward to looking at your blog every day.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    You know, you just never know… It’s been great, though. People have been really leaving some wonderful testimonies about their lives and experiences. Plus, what’s more interesting to any of us than the warp and woof our relationships?

  • http://hanimeigh.multiply.com meigh

    i saw this article of yours in Crosswalk. I was relieved to finally hear something from a guy’s perspective. I basically had known all along that we just can’t change the man in our lives, that’s the Holy Spirit’s work. I guess some of us women (emphasis on some) just have this messianic complex, the “i’m here to help you change for the better” syndrome. i know i do. unfortunately, we can’t. but i do believe in the power of prayer. the most effective battle position for most relationship problems, i realized, is on our knees, in prayer. that’s where God starts changing the people we’re praying for, after He’s changed us too, so that we’re no longer so critical of every single thing we don’t like about them.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Yeah, this is really perfectly put and thought out. You know, though, I think ALL people suffer from a messianic complex: everyone ALWAYS knows what’s best for everyone else in the universe, no? But you know where I think the whole female side of the “I’ll Fix You By Telling You What To Do” thing (as well as the male’s response to that, which is, “Oh, cool; now that you’re my mommy, I’ll be your kid”) thing comes from? In the simple phenomenon of motherhood.

    Women, as mothers, Know All (since, relatively speaking and as far as their children are concerned, they really DO) and are forever (as they must) Laying Down The Law.

    That’s what girls learn their role is. Just as boys learn it’s their role relative to women to … be boys, forever.

    All of which sounds, I fear, too harsh–and is certainly too simplistic. But, you know, at its core, that’s so much of what’s so obviously happening in so many relationships. And it’s not really anyone’s fault. People just …do what they know, basically.

  • Carol C

    I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I too came here from the Crosswalk Page and this was what I needed. I recently went through a divorce after 12 years and struggle with not making the same mistakes again, trying to change someone (a man) who can’t be changed unless he within his heart wants to. I’ve come to learn, self realization helps determine the nature in which you view others, male or female, to help you understand the manner in which we must accept each other, imperfect, but striving for perfection in Christ. This is my first time here also and I have really enjoyed this type of “therapy” to help work thru some of my issues. Looking forward to more articles. Be Blessed.

  • http://hanimeigh.multiply.com meigh

    so it stems from motherhood? and we girls saw it from our moms and that’s the role we instinctively take on?

    hmm. that sounds logical to me.

    thanks for sharing that.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I said love means never having to say that THEY'RE sorry. See? Joke.

    And why is it immature or "impossible" to assert that one of the ways you know you’re in love with someone is that nothing that person does or says ever really bothers you? That's my actual experience. And I KNOW it's my wife, because .. that's the way she says it is for her. The whole thought, of course, hinges on the word "really."

    Jessie: Thank you! That's a really sweet sentiment.

    Carol: Nice thoughts. BIG thoughts!

  • Jessie

    “If you think you’re in love with someone, you’re not. When you’re in love with someone, you know it. And one of the ways you know you’re in love with someone is that nothing that person does or says ever really bothers you at all.”

    I love that. Thanks for sharing such an illuminating reality that is so often ignored in our society today. Now I can see things differently and I understand a bit more about real love.

    ~Jessie

  • Trisha Pearson

    You make some really neat points. BUT— Two of which seem abit out there — immature or impossible:

    “And one of the ways you know you’re in love with someone is that nothing that person does or says ever really bothers you at all.”

    Are you nuts? =D

    “And love is never having to say you’re sorry.”

    Same question =D

    There’s only one person who always respected everyone perfectly and never made mistakes. The rest of us get to learn the grace of accepting and forgiving each other while we’re here.

    Trisha, MFT

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  • Michele

    “And why is it immature or “impossible” to assert that one of the ways you know you’re in love with someone is that nothing that person does or says ever really bothers you? That’s my actual experience”

    If that’s you’re actual experience, that is absolutely wonderful! More power too you.

    However, it is not the experience of all married couples or people who have been in love, and I would guess, not even the majority of them.

    Disclaimer: I’ve never been in love. I’m only taking a “straw pole” of the people I know or know of who have been in love and/or married

    But I do know that members of my family really bother me on occasion -and I bother them. And I love them, in a differant way of course, and consider myself very blessed to be in the family I’m in.

    I believe that in the majority of close family relationships, there will always be times when you try to change each other. “Nagging” isn’t always such a bad thing – it’s inevitable, in my opinion.

    (If you define nagging as a simple “You are doing this thing wrong and need to change.” When you get belligerant about it is a differant matter.)

    We are human beings, we all need to be put in our place on occasion.

    “He who hates correction is stupid”

    “Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you”

    (I know I’m stepping toes here, and they are attached to my own feet. I don’t much like to be corrected either.)

    However, you need to accept that once you have given your thoughtful opinion about the other person’s behavior, they have free will and can do as the choose. Unless you are in a position of authority over them, it’s between them and God.

    If you still think they need to change, pray about it.

  • Second Michele

    I’m just going to change my screen name so I don’t have to keep re-posting to identify myself.

    And I’m going restrain myself from posting for a little while. I’m am starting to camp out here.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Camp away! I appreciate you comments, for sure.

  • POP

    Had to pass this link on to my Daughters with the words READ and LEARN… Both of them with failed marrages Of course they didn't listen to Dad before the marriages so why listen now..

  • Anonymous

    This article comes at a timely moment for me and I would appreciate other people's views. The man I am currently sharing a home with, turns out has a completely different value system than my own. What's interesting about it is that it did not appear this way in the months it took for us to get to know each other and quote-unquote, fall in love.

    I am a community minded Christian woman. Come to find out, he's one step away from being an atheist. He believes he's a good person and if there is a God, he'll be welcomed into the kingdom. It's not just that he doesn't believe that bothers me, because I believe God can call him as anyone else he may, at any time. It's the way he looks at life that I cannot come to grips with. I believe in possibility; he believes in finality. I thrive on change, change frustrates him. I treat my children as people, he views them as something to be bossed around. He sees only what is in front of him and doesn't see possibilities let alone any gray in any situation. His is discompassionate, habitual, ritualistic about himself to the point it comes as selfishness.

    The problem is that I no longer able to have a romantic relationship with him, yet we co-own property. We just moved into our home and I have already uprooted my children twice in the past two years.

    I wish I could find a way to connect with him as a friend so that we can more or less share the domicile until perhaps one of us is ready to move on from it. The problem is compounded by the fact our relationship is so broken and we are so different that a conversation about anything deeper than our dinner menu is difficult and ultimately ends in an argument.

    Perhaps I'm being unrealistic. But is it possible for two people to change their relationship from lovers to friends while living in the same household? Am I being unrealistic?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    So let me get this straight: You didn't notice that the man you're now living with has completely different values than you do UNTIL you moved in with him? And you've moved your CHILDREN in with him, too? So now your children are living with a man who "bosses them around," and with whom you can't discuss dinner plans without fighting?

  • Anonymous

    I've obviously had to summarize alot of information in the interest of time. We knew each other for about a year, then lived together for over a year in a smaller house before moving to a larger house. On the surface we appeared to have the same value systems. He was not forthcoming about the fact he does not believe in God. I learned this when I hung a painting of the Last Supper my ailing mother gave me as an inheritance before she passes on, when he commented I had too many symbols of Jesus hanging about the house. I can assure you, I have not overdone it.

    The stressors of life began to reveal the reality as time went on. For example, he is an independent contractor. About a year into the relationship I discovered he has no life insurance and worse, no health insurance. When I approached the subject of him getting insurance to protect his income as well as preparing for the unlikely event he should become disabled or worse, his response was his cash flow could not support the additional cost of insurance and if something, like death should occur, it's not my problem because he doesn't have debt. The message here: he feels no responsibility toward me and my daughters. There are countless examples like this where things came to light over discussing future plans and life decisions. Most of it came out during the move to the new house. By the time we moved the relationship was in shambles.

    Your tone indicates that you're surprised that I would learn all of these things after committing to the relationship. The truth is people, especially men, put on a front at the beginning of relationships. Who they really are does not come out until the rubber hits the road.

    By the way, I didn't post a message on this board to be judged by you or anyone else. I asked a direct question that I was hoping for input on.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Yeah, I'm sorry for being too harsh. My wife works for a nonprofit that in part serves the needs of victims of domestic violence, so severe marital dysfunction is a significant part of her/my/our lives. And, to be honest, it's difficult to not at some point not just grow intensely frustrated by women who, wide-eyed, walk them and their children into situations that couldn't HELP but end badly. It's like watching people walk off a cliff, and then cry because they got hurt. So I was … responding from that place of frustration. Which doesn't help you, of course. And I apologize for doing that.

  • Anonymous

    No worries, John. I'm not very happy about it either, and I spent seven years alone before making a decision to embark upon having a relationship — only to have it turn out like this. I acknowledge it takes two, and I'm not trying to paint him as a horrible person, he's just not right for me and I am not right for him. If the situation was physically abusive or overly verbally abusive (because it is psychologically and verbally abusive to an extent) I would not be seeking to remain friends with this individual, not to mention his family. I guess in writing to you I've answered my own question. It just seems ludicrous to think we can remain friends and live under the same roof. But again, there is this little voice in me that wonders why people have to go to such extremes and why we simply cannot learn to compromise?

    Thanks for your time.

  • anon

    Hi John, thanks for your article

    I think its just a weird need women have to change men.

    I have a great and accepting relationship with my bf, I have always resisted the nagging, and let him be himself.

    My issue is with another guy, who I cant stand, but he gets on my nerves so much, hes not a nice person, a misogynist and player, but I have this insane urge to prove him wrong about women and change him… theres that urge!

    And its beginning to cloud my love for my boyfriend, who I prefer infinately, in looks, values, personality, everything

    Its illogical, I dont know why I cant stop thinking this other loser.

    We are wired strange hahaha.

    Im trying to get closure on it, Im just totally baffled by my own thoughts, and Im not considering cheating, but thoughts can be powerful.

    Anyway.. have a nice day :-)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Anon: Yeah, women are of course very often drawn to truly "bad boys"–by which I mean not Sensitive Rebel types, but Actual Dickheads. You, clearly, are being drawn to one now. And if you finally go to him, he will treat you like crap, and you'll stay with him for awhile and let him treat you like crap, and after long drama you'll get out of the relationship, and wonder what the heck is the matter with you. As we all know, that's a cycle a LOT of women fall into. I'm not saying you will, of course–I was just using your little story to illustrate a point about women generally. But isn't it amazing how often that DOES happen?

  • Crystal

    I like your article John, interesting and very informative. I agree we cannot make our man change.

    However I would need further insight: would you say that telling him (or making him know) that his being secretive about the relationship makes me feel insecure is trying to change him? I've always known him as a secretive person as we were friends for a couple of years before we start dating.

    He likes to keep his personal life private, but it also means that other women think he's single… It probably shouldn't bother me that it doesn't tell the whole world he's in a relationship, but I have to say IT DOES bother me it doesn't make it clear to women around him. I dont believe it means I am not in love with him though.

    I find it confusing, could you give me your view on this?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    My advice can of course be of only very limited value, since I'm hardly familiar with the details of your relationship. That said, though, it sure SOUNDS like your man is dinking you around by continuing to act out in the world as if he is single. That's bullshit. If a man is PRETENDING to be single, then effectually he is. You have every right to be seriously bothered by his essentially hedging his bets by on the one hand telling you he's with you, and on the other telling the world he's not. No good. He needs to choose–and then LIVE that choice. The only two questions I'd have are: Why is he doing that, and why are you in love with someone who would do that? That IS a values issue. That's a matter of respect.

  • Crystal

    I hear what you say, and it makes much sense…

    Thanks for your quick reply and advice.

    God bless

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Sure. Thanks for not … trying to have me killed.

  • http://christlovesjohnonmyspace John

    Go back to the curse God placed on Eve. A woman will always have that desire to control the men in her life, unless she seeks her life thru Christ. In Him we rise above that curse.

    Know a man consumed by his work? The world calls them workaholics. That's his curse. In the Garden, Adam worked, but didn't toil. The land produced of it's own accord, not thru his efforts. Adam merely worked it and ate of it's fruit. Then the curse and he had to slave away. Many men (and) women now do the same thing. They don't view work as their calling or ministry or life under Christ, but as one world while saving Christ for Sundays. In that world of work they separate themselves emotionally and physically from their family. A worker who has submitted to Christ and follows His lead to the workplace/calling will find he/she may be away at times, but not at a loss. They're content and their happiness is never a dream being chased.

    So please, lets keep this where it really belongs, a spiritual issue. It really isn't an evolutionist idea of motherhood instinct but a spiritual one. And no, I'm not trying cram the Bible down anyone's throat, but it's right there in Genesis. Control.

    God tried showing Cain his error. It's not about changing and blaming others. It's about seeing why YOU"RE angry. Why are you trying to change others when its you (us) that need changing.

    I know I had blinders on. I was raised by a mother who is a control freak, a blamer, a manipulator, and many more. I thought every woman was like her. Friendly to strangers and mean to family. She put on a face she kept by the door. Hence when I met my x, she was so sweet. I compared her outside to my moms inside or the real mom. 5.5 hours after the ring was on, I didn't know who was in the car with me. Yep, I married my mom even though I ensured I didn't. I most certainly wasn't looking for mom. Be warned when they say men marry their moms and girls marry their dads. It may not be out of choice, rather that's what we think normal is.

    I hope this helps some to take a look at themselves and try to see why they have made the choices they have. It's not a mistake. It's not just a simple error. It's what you consider normal or the personality you've become thru worldly hurts, being raised by parents who were not perfect, and we're all born (including our parents) in this fallen world where things are getting worse, not better. Perfection or as close to it, was before the curse and wasn't around long. How long did it take Satan to fall and then take Adam and Eve with him?

    Think of it. Satan must have fallen very early on. Very early. A few seconds maybe? And then he comes in the serpent. You never know what a snake is thinking or feeling. They are expressionless. You don't know if they're happy like you do your dog. Eve fell for him, then Adam fell for Eve. That's another good topic when you think of it. When a woman tries to change her husband, is she really making him God-like or has she been seduced by Satan and wants to drag her man along with her, thinking they are now in God's will?

    Does that wake everyone up?

  • Mary

    This is the first time I’ve heard someone agree with me so candidly about the way some women try to control men. We women must accept our men as they are if we want to be accepted as we are. Once the difference a woman a sees in a man has no threat based on principles or morals to the relationship she should allow him to be HIMSELF, NOT HERSELF IN HIM!!! If a woman is not prepared to accept a man as he is she should terminate the realtionship rather than nag him to death!!

  • Janice

    " And one of the ways you know you're in love with someone is that nothing that person does or says ever really bothers you at all."

    WOW

    seriously?

    …I want whatever you are smoking….

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Again: the key word there is "REALLY."

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  • Rain

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything said in this article. I understand the temptation to want to change a man but the truth of the matter is he is who he is. There were several great points made in this article and I commend you for speaking the truth here. This speaks to not just singles but married couples as well. Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are instead of what another person thinks they should be.

  • http://stilllearning j. k.

    This is such good advice, but too late for me. I am printing it for my daughters ages 14 and 5 to read someday. Having no knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus at 19 years old, I got pregnant with an adrennaline junky, drug and alcohol addict (didn't you say something about good girls being attracted to bad boys?). Amazingly, we had some very similar values, and we decided that we would keep our baby and get married and stay that way forever- I naievely thought happily. It has been a long hard road ever since, and we both have come real close to bailing many times, but we are still on it. I am finally realizing I cannot change the fact that he has a lot of addictions, nor can I change the way he leads his life because of them. I have wanted him to change for so many years that it has taken an awful lot of effort to just focus on loving what I love about him, and giving him respect. I think wanting someone to change really gets in the way of seeing the great things about them. Being dissatissfied is corrosive. I am working on being content, realizing it's a choice. I wait each day knowing God's arm is not too short to reach my husband's soul, and now I understand that is the only way he will change. Until then, all I can do is handle myself and how I react- just simply living Christ. I face every day with the results of some real hard mistakes in my life. I can't go back, won't break my promise to my husband and God, and move forward grateful for how I've been blessed (4 arrows in this quiver who are a testimony to our Great God!) God has used it for good and His glory, but not without countless tears and heartache. Men. Don't. Change. I've lived and learned. Not too late for my girls, and lots of singles reading here.

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    • qeqw

      it is funny because this is a very common topic, but i think this goes both ways, as does most human behavior. Although I admit that I put pressure on men, I also have to say that in many cases the men I have been with try to change me. They try to convince me for example, to be more feminine, sometimes they even buy clothes for me to make me look more like their ideal woman, they put pressure on me to do things I don’t really want to do, etc. My last boyfriend I am still resentful of and I particularly hated him mostly because he spent too much time trying to change me, and didn’t really make any effort to change himself. Mostly he was obsessed with feminine beauty and because he was unsatisfied with me but too chicken shit to go after his ideal woman, he tried to make me into his ideal woman, which did not work (i am more of a tomboy and girl next door type than a very high maintenance woman, and apparently he thought I was a fixer-upper, someone that he could mold into his ideal) He wanted me to be always well shaven and perfumed, and even though I occasionally try to look nice he was so pushy that I stopped trying. As a result i rebelled against him and didnt shave or perfume for several months. I also completely stopped cooking (even though normally i really like to cook). He also wanted to mold me into doing some sexual things that i didn’t really feel like doing, and since he put so much pressure on me and didnt appreciate what I did do, i completely lost interest in sex. He thinks I had interest in sex because I have a very high sex drive, but in reality I found it very boring. He also pushed me to pay more attention to him instead of spending my time studying and working and such, and was very ungrateful when I finally did that, ignoring me for sports games and such. As a result I stopped hanging around and spent more time at work and with friends, because I didn’t want to come back home to him, and I also became even less feminine than I normally am because I was tired of his pushy and ungrateful attitude and preferred drinking at the bar with my friends. I also started to become more argumentative with him because I had tried so hard to please him and nothing ever worked, so when I finally realized I would never be his ideal woman I became very hateful and argumentative. I also started to notice how ugly he was, in spite of the fact that I had never noticed it before: he was fat and he spent all his time on this ugly couch of his watching television, too lazy to change himself, but somehow still felt entitled to molding me or making me do things.

      Finally I realized that just like you can’t make a man love you, you also can’t change a woman, and I wasnt interested in doing anything at all for him, particularly for someone that would not even become my husband, and he wasnt interested in committing to someone that wasn’t willing to do things for him, so it became a stalemate.

      So yeah, I think people forget that men try to change women ALL THE TIME TOO, because women are sometimes even brought up to try to please people!!!! But you can’t change a woman, especially a stubborn woman, and if you do she will not love you!!! And even with the less stubborn women you might think that everything is going nicely but in the future you might get a rude awakening!! The best thing I can say about the guy I am mentioning above is that if I saw him again I would ignore him at best, at worst I would probably throw a drink in his face!!!! Not only am I not an ideal woman, I also lost any desire to be an ideal friend.

      I know that sounds very harsh, and I do not hate all men, I just very much resent those that think you are just a doll they can play with and “mold” into their little fantasy. It never works!!!! Women fart and groan and have scars and flaws just like men, and if you can’t deal with them you should go find yourself a blow-up doll, or make yourself a robot!!!!!

      • Diana A.

        Thank you for writing this. Yes, this kind of thing happens all the time. It’s so not cool.

  • Dave T

    “If you think you’re in love with someone, you’re not. When you’re in love with someone, you know it. And one of the ways you know you’re in love with someone is that nothing that person does or says ever really bothers you at all.”

    If this is correct, then I have never really been “in love” with my wife of 33 years. Sometimes she DOES do things that bother me, and I sometimes do things that bother her. I don’t know exactly what you mean by “in love”, but the context makes it sounds like romantic/erotic love, rather than Biblical/agape love. I love my wife because I made a choice to love her, based upon what the Bible teaches about love. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have strong romantic feelings about my wife, but it means that even after 33 years, we still do things that bother/annoy/chafe on the other, most of which are due to the reasons outlined in the article – and the fact is that our basic personality characteristics are not going to be changed by another person, but we can still choose to behave in a way that pleases the other. This is true of both men AND women. As Christians, one of our goals should be a willingness to change our behavior to please our spouse, and be able to live with the fact that the change may not be what we prefer. I have modified my behavior in a number of areas for the sake of my wife, and she knows that it’s not in my “normal” character, and appreciates the fact that I make the effort for her sake. She, in turn, has shown a willingness to do the same for me.

    However, all that being said, there was no guarantee before we were married that this would be the case, as I was not a Christian then. I was converted just a few months after our marriage, and it’s a good thing, as we would have been just another divorce statistic otherwise. In looking back, if I had been a friend of my wife (instead of ME, if you know what I mean) I would have counseled her NOT to marry me. Drugs, alcohol, self-centered behavior, unfaithfulness – she was headed for disaster! However, God intervened, and things did change. The real issue is that God doesn’t always do this – too many couples have married with the woman having the idea, “He’ll change for me, because we’re in LOVE!”. Don’t count on it! My wife was fortunate – too many aren’t, and only God knows why.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thanks for writing and all the kind words, mam. I'm afraid I've GOT to get to bed just now, but I wonder if what I wrote in the article linked to below might help you at all? The piece is called, "When You Love Someone Who Doesn't Love Christ", and it's here:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2007/06/25/when-you-love

    Also, if I've time tommorow moring, maybe I'll put what you've here written up as an individual blog post, and let's see what others might have to say about your emotionally dense situation.

  • http://mamarosi.wordpress.com mamarosi

    I loved this article and the responses… my question is this… what about being “equally yoked?” Before I came to have a relationship with Christ I was deeply involved in a four-year unmarried relationship with a man who is not only not a Christian, but very against Christianity and religion. We had three beautiful children together within that 4 year timespan and about a year after my salvation experience I chose to move out on my own. Now, almost two years later, I still feel bonded to this man emotionally and still deeply care for him. But I don’t know that I know, that he is the right husband for me. I want to know that I know…you know? He’s still not a Christian, and I’m still digging ever-deeper roots with Christ so this truly is a values question. The reason I left was because he was not going to allow me to take our children to church, which I found oppressive and controlling. Anyway, to make a long story short, I just wonder over and over again if I should try again with him. It seems stupid just reading it now, because the answer seems and obvious, “no”, but after having children together I find it very difficult to close that door and move on… and, by the way, I would love your advice column if you do decide to do one.. I have been blessed greatly through the discovery of your blog this evening. Thank you!

  • Melesa Garrison

    I know some people are shocked over this porn garbage, but I'm personally shocked that there are pple out there that are not aware of the movie "Love Story" Hello people :0 Where do they come from?


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