Reality is, you can’t change him no matter how hard you try. But, you’ve already discovered that, right? So, how do you get him to change those habits that drive you mad?
You don’t tell him to do something, you just make him want to. How?
Encourage His Positive Behaviors
Often, we get so mad at the man in our lives that we focus solely on what he does wrong and we miss everything that he does right. And, if you don’t reinforce his good points, he may give up on even trying to show them to you.
Think about it. If you go to work and do twenty things right today and one thing wrong, but all you hear about from your boss is the one thing wrong, how are you going to feel? Probably a little pissed, resentful, unappreciated, or disrespected. And, what is it going to do to your attitude? Are you going to try as hard to do a good job next time?
Now, what would happen in the same scenario if your boss recognized the one wrong thing, but instead primarily focused on what you did right? What if all the positive elements of your work were highlighted, more so than the negative? Brings about a whole different attitude, right? Next time, you try harder to correct the negative elements of your work because you want to please your boss. We’re more likely to correct our shortcomings if we are given a positive environment in which to do it.
The same holds true with your man. If you focus solely on the one thing he continuously does wrong, why should he bother to correct it? However, if you place more focus on his positive behaviors, he’s much more likely to change the not-so-positive ones because you’ve set up an environment that makes it easy to do so.
Address Negative Behaviors Appropriately
Unfortunately, it isn’t always enough to just encourage his positive behaviors, hoping he’ll change the negative ones. So, how do you address them in a way that highly encourages change?
• Pick the right time. Certainly you know this by now, but do you follow it? Or, out of spite, do you stand in front of the TV in the last two minutes of the football game and say, “We need to talk. Now!”? Approach him at a time when he’s likely to give you his ear, like when he’s relaxed and not overly focused on something else.
• Be non-accusatory. If a person is accused of something, they generally give one of two responses. They get angry and defend themselves or they get angry and prove you right. Either way, you lose. Instead of throwing blame, focus on trying to get him to understand why whatever he does bothers you so much. Let him know that even though to him, it’s just throwing the clothes on the floor, to you it's disrespectful because you feel like your time is less valuable than his.
• Avoid using ‘never’ and ‘always’. These two words are the kiss of death in any conversation with your man. The minute you use one of these words, the first thing he thinks is, “That’s not true. I remember when…” And, he will come up with the one time that he did something that will make your statement false. Although it may seem like he always or never does something, you’re better off removing these two words from your vocabulary entirely.
• Hear his response. Don’t just hear it, listen to it. Maybe he has some great justification as to why he does what he does. Or, perhaps he just didn’t realize how bad it upset you. Either way, truly hear him out. Try to understand the situation from his side.
• Look for a compromise. Focus on coming up with a solution that makes you both happy. The best possible resolution to any situation is a win/win. That’s the target you should aim for.
• Don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Sure, you’re upset at whatever it is he’s doing, but there’s no need to make both of you miserable while trying to handle it. Have a little fun with it. What would it hurt to laugh a little and say, “Look, if we get you a basketball hoop to put above the clothes basket, do you think you could get your clothes in it then?” It lightens the situation and creates an environment in which he doesn’t feel so attacked.
Love Him Regardless
Unless his behavior is harmful or mean, love him regardless. Does he have faults? Yes. Are they the same faults he’s had the entire time you’ve been together? Probably.
It’s odd that usually it’s the same qualities and quirks that attract us to him in the beginning that drive us mad in the long run. It used to be so adorable to watch him shovel food into his mouth. It meant he enjoyed your cooking and couldn’t wait for the next bite. But now, ten years later, you watch him do the same thing, wonder how he manages to breathe and swear you’re going to remove the kitchen table and replace it with a trough.
Here’s the thing ladies: your guy will always have some shortcomings. So, if you’re trying to make him into this perfect man, you might as well call it a day because it’s never going to happen.
Besides, he can’t be all that bad. He loves you, doesn’t he?