Can You Change a Man?

Recently, at a public function where I was the Toastmaster, an elegant lady in her early 30s walked up to me and asked: 'Can a woman change a man?' Instead of giving her a direct answer, I asked her: 'can anybody change you from being you?' She said: 'No'. The truth is that no woman can change any man except the man himself decides to change.

Love could be a dangerous game when you don't know how to play it, especially when you allow your emotions to override your sense of reasoning. When a woman is in love she only listens to her own voice. Despite all the warning signals, she remains seated on a keg of gunpowder that will eventually explode. She will refuse to reason with any one else. However, in relationships, it is those things that seem unimportant while still courting that matters when the marital life begins. Imagine a woman who has been physically and psychologically abused whilst courting; she then marries the man with the view that he will change with time, then reality sets in and she discovers the physical and psychological abuse increases after exchanging marital vows.

Our value is the bedrock of our personality and every man is a product of where he is coming from. At childhood we are given set of values. When we reach adulthood we add other sets of values to our lives, which are mostly influenced by the people we meet while growing up, the environment we grew up in, and our working experiences. All these values added together form the true personality of a man. These are the values he then transfers to those he comes in contact with, especially his spouse, and passes them on to those he brings to this world (i.e. his children). The greatest mistake any woman can make is to ignore the man's values or where he is coming from.

The chances of a woman changing a man are very slim. Who or what do you want to change him to? Your dream man or who? Why are you in the relationship in the first place? Many women have admitted to me that they married for reasons that in reality were not strong enough for a lifetime commitment. Others admitted that they saw the warning signs but ignored them, while many said they were so much in love that they ignored his values and his background. 'He has always been like that but I thought he would change'; 'he promised to change but he is now getting worse', some exclaimed. It is surprising to know that so many women have not discovered themselves, or what they want from life and relationships.

Drs Judith Sherven and James Sniechowski, authors of best-seller, 'New Intimacy: Discovering the Magic at the Heart of Your Differences,' said: "If one or both of you is determined to change the other person, if you are committed to forcing your partner to be a certain way, you are not in love with your partner. You are in love with an idea about who and how he is supposed to be. You are in love with a fantasy you expect your partner to fulfil."

The only person that can change a man is himself. It is easy for a person to change a habit but almost impossible to change values except he discovers that the values he has been exposed to since childhood are wrong and now realises the way things should be. Any woman who wants a man to change should first of all find out about the father of that man. If his behaviour is the replica of his father's, she must know that is the man himself. For example, if a man has a father who is irresponsible, a woman abuser, smoker, drunkard, gambler, womaniser and a mother who shoulders the responsibility of the family, there is a tendency for the man to be like his father. If the man later discovers that things should not be that way, no matter how much he changes, he will still have a few traces of his father's irresponsible attitudes, because that is where he came from, that is the person who reared him, that is his first role model.

People inherit physical characteristics from their parents, and their behaviours and expectations of life are moulded to be their unique experience. The question that needs to be asked whilst advocating that a man should change should be: 'Is this the way he was when we started or did he change all of a sudden?' If it is the former, forget about changing him; instead, change yourself. "In some cases you may be able to encourage your partner to alter few of his annoying habits. But remember, some things are beyond a person's control and you cannot force him to change what can't be changed" said Figueroa-Faxton in her book titled "Getting Him, Keeping Him, Making It Work."

Instead of trying to change a man, the advice is, 'look before you leap.' People don't usually advice you to leave your husband, and due to some turbulent marriages, some women have become emotional wrecks. People, most times, tend to advise women to endure and persevere in chaotic marriages for the sake of the children; but sadly many of our mothers and grandmothers went to their graves as miserable women.

Dayo Olomu is a UK-based Motivational Speaker, Writer, Business/Life Coach, Trainer, Media Entrepreneur and Competent Toastmaster. His core belief is that we are all endowed with seeds of greatness, and his mission is to help individuals and organisations achieve their full potentials. He is the author of best selling "4 Indispensable Strategies for Success" and the President of Croydon Communicators Toastmasters. Get his FREE monthly Rise to the Top ezine by sending a blank email to [email protected] or visit his website at:

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