I heard a great piece of relationship advice last week. This one really got my attention and gave me a way to see if I’m being reasonable or unreasonable when I get into that “wanting him to change” thing.
It goes like this: You can ask a partner—and maybe even your child --for a behavior change but not a personality change. You can ask for behaviors you want from your partner but we can’t ask them to be different inside or to develop the characteristics that will cause him to think like you do.
For example, you can ask him to take a turn doing the laundry or ask him to clean the bathroom on Saturdays—those are behaviors—but you can’t ask him to notice when the bathroom is dirty or when you need socks—those are aspects of personality. You can ask him to buy and mail his sisters birthday gift (But please, please do not comment on what he chooses—don’t sabotage yourself.) But you can’t ask him, “Why don’t you remember your family’s birthdays?” That is personality.
Similarly, you can say, “I’d like you to give me one compliment each day.” –that’s behavior. But it’s not OK to say, “Why don’t you appreciate me?”—That’s personality. And the start of a fightJ. That’s pretty much like saying, “Why don’t you be me?” And really, would I ever want to be married to me? I don’t think so.