Have you heard about the woman who decided to change her husband? He changed. Now she claims “He’s not the man I married!”
The person who intends to do the changing, too often the wife, might think she means well, working on areas that might really need some improvement. But what’s the motivation to change someone else? To be happier? To make life easier? Isn’t that what we all secretly want? Or is it just to get one’s own way?
After marriage, the “cute” things we saw in the other person might stop being cute and just become irritants. “Aww, she needs me” becomes “can’t she do anything by herself?” Or, “He loves my cooking” becomes “I’m so frustrated! If dinner’s not ready the minute he walks in the door…”
The key is transformation, not change.
Change is making things different. Transformation is making things better. Change is driven by selfishness, the desire to BE pleased not TO please. Transformation is driven, guided, and blessed by the desire to please God first and to be more like Him. It starts with personal transformation and then draws others into the process.
Every trait has a plus and a minus side.
The big tough guy may be less than empathetic about his wife’s needs. But that characteristic may also be the flip side of working hard to provide for his family and protect them. So changing the one might negatively affect the other. Transformation, on the other hand, means a person has a desire to please the other and looks for little ways to show kindness. In the process, it softens some of the rough edges. It’s still okay to be the tough provider and protector at the appropriate times.
Parents who tell their little boy not to cry because “big boys don’t cry” may discover their little boy stops displaying any emotion. No, we don’t want adult crybabies, but there are better ways to handle a little boy’s tears without speaking a negative life sentence over him. The parents should think through the long-term consequences and find ways to work with their child in a way appropriate to that specific child. (More about that in another post.)
Change just re-arranges the beliefs, feelings, and attitudes.
Where’s the growth, the expansion, or the transformation in that? Transformation can soften the hard places without destroying the desire to provide and protect while adding a desire to be transparent with feelings. It adds a new dimension to a character. It expands the area of strength, self-awareness, and willingness to communicate. It starts with being willing to become better yourself, and amazingly enough, the other may choose to make things better too. That’s a transformational change that sticks.
“A person changed against his will is of the same opinion still.” Unknown