Last week’s article on communication sparked a few conversations here at Good Husbanding, and an overwhelming question surrounded why women expect their husbands to change, while husbands expect their wives not to change. I’m going to do my best to explain.
Please note: this is my attempt at explaining a very complicated situation. Every situation is different, and every woman is very complex. If you really want to understand your own situation, feel free to use this article as a conversation piece with your wife so that you two can talk it out together.
First, to get the simple part out of the way. Why do men not expect their lady to change after the wedding? Because he fell in love with the person he proposed to! If he wanted something different, he wouldn’t have proposed to her – he would have found someone else.
Now… the complicated part. Why do women expect their husbands to change? The fact is, women don’t accept a proposal from the man she wants to be with forever. She accepts a proposal from the potential that this particular suitor has. If she can see that with a few ‘small’ tweaks, this man could be her Prince Charming, then she will marry him. Marriage is sort of considered a blank check to make whatever changes she deems necessary to live ‘happily ever after’.
“But doesn’t she love me for who I am? Aren’t I perfect just the way I am?”
Unfortunately, no. Nobody is perfect. Everyone has the potential to improve somehow. She loved you enough to see the potential in you, and in her own (often misguided way) she is trying to help you. If you see her making changes that you don’t agree with, talk to her about it. You should be able to come to an agreement as to what changes are a good idea, and which changes are not really something you see yourself doing.
If she is helping you become a real-life grownup, helping you to learn from your own experiences and grow as an individual, I wouldn’t fight it. Moreover, you should also be helping her to become a real-life grownup – guiding her through her own life experiences and helping her grow as an individual. You didn’t just get a legal piece of paper and expensive piece of jewelry… you have agreed to become each others’ guide and partner through life. You both are going to change somehow. Try to change together!
“But I loved her just the way she was when I proposed to her! She was perfect! Why did everything have to change?”
Well, this is a two-part issue. First, I don’t believe that she was perfect. If she was, she was putting on a show for you – which is inherently NOT perfect. If she was trying to fit into a mold to please you, she wasn’t being true to herself. Many women are guilty of this, and it is not your fault. They feel it is the only way to catch themselves a husband. This also explains why she ‘changed’ after the wedding… she changed back into herself because she already had you.
For the single guys reading this, the only way to avoid this trap is to communicate with your lady. Facades don’t really last the test of time, and if you take a step back far enough, you can tell that you don’t have the whole picture. Talk to her and really get to know her deep down. It’s the only way to be sure that you know the real woman.
Second, it’s unreasonable to assume that someone isn’t going to change with time. With Time comes Life Experiences – Life Experiences create the need to Adapt and Learn. With Adaptations and Learning come Changes. The hope is that as your lives unfold, you will share life experiences together, and work together to adapt and learn whatever life has to teach you. If you choose not to adapt and learn, she’ll have to do it on her own… which means she’ll change and you won’t. Neither of you will be happy.
Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. If you want to live Happily Ever After, you need to work to grow together through all of the changes that life presents.
About the Author: Abby Dryer's goal in life is to bridge the communication gap between men and women. She finds herself giving lots of marital advice to her guy friends whose wives don’t want to have to explain *everything* to their husbands. “Women are hard to understand. I’m a woman, and *I* don’t even get us sometimes! Goodhusbanding is a great guide to help men understand their women, and hopefully communicate with a little more confidence, because that’s what works… communication!”