“Worry about yourself!” My new favorite 3-year old.
I have tried talking to him, ignored the situation, threatened to leave, but nothing changes. I’ve tried to get him to go to counseling, but he won’t go. I have told him what I need until I am blue in the face, but he won’t do it. Nothing’s ever going to change.
This is paraphrased from one conversation this week, but honestly, I’ve had this same general conversation a handful of times throughout the last two weeks with different women in different parts of the country from all walks of life. The underlying and unspoken words are:
I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do; I’m not the problem….he is and could you please fix my husband for me, Sharon?
If I had the fix-your-husband-for-you pill, I would have more money than Oprah and Steve Jobs combined.
But even if I had it, I’m not sure I would use it.
Because it’s not the answer.
If I could get your husband to stand on his head and do all the things you want him to do so that you could feel safe…loved…wanted…then he becomes your puppet, rather than an individual with his own choices and preferences and needs. Is that really what you want?
Not only is it not the answer, it’s also not the truth.
Your husband probably could do better at being in relationship with you – after all, no one has ever taught him how to create and sustain healthy, loving, connected relationships.
But you can also do better, my dear. You can also do this better. And it’s not your fault because no one ever taught you either. That’s the truth.
As this well-intentioned woman was telling me HOW she had been communicating with her husband, I could almost see her shaking her head, rolling her eyes, pointing a wagging finger at her husband telling him what he should do. If that worked…not only would our husbands do as they’re told, but so would our kids….our dogs…our parents…
She doesn’t want to change. She wants him to change. She’s not the problem. He is.
And therein lies the rub…and a lot of unnecessary suffering.
Here’s the teachable part:
Every single one of us can do better so that our relationships can be better.
Every single one of us has room to grow and baggage that needs healed.
Every single one of us could engage or communicate in a new way in order to elicit a response that’s more in line with the result we’re wanting to create.
Changing ourselves is hard enough to do. And changing ourselves is the only thing we have any control over. Someone has to take the lead in creating change in the relationship, why can’t it be you?
Follow the advice of my new favorite 3-year old: Worry about yourself!