Shedding 4 common misconceptions for improved marriage and familial relationships
One of our basic needs as humans is to be loved. Here’s just a few things that can cause difficulties in meeting that need because we choose to believe in the illusion.
You can change people.
This is a big misconception with a lot of people, especially with women in dating. We see a guy and notice a few things that we definitely don’t like about them. We decide to stick it out, however, and “mold” him into the guy we think he should be.
When a man changes, it is because he himself wanted that change, which is in fact the only thing we can influence: that desire to change. If he is stubborn and feels who he is just fine, you’ll never be able to spark that desire for change. Then you’ll need to decide whether you can live with whatever behavior or attributes they possess that you find disturbing.
Age is nothing but a number.
Where there is some truth to this cliché, we also know that age brings about wisdom through life experiences. With each passing year, we discover new lessons to life; some of which cannot be taught otherwise. We have to recognize that our parents, spouses, and/or other older family members have learned valuable lessons along the way that we can benefit from if we respect the hardships they had to endure to learn those lessons, and the fact that their love for us was great enough to impart this wisdom to us so that we can avoid falling into those same pitfalls. At times, my parents voiced their opinions on the choices I made- Even though I respected them and their opinions, I would choose to not heed their advice. Sometimes this worked in my favor, and sometimes it didn't. Ultimately, although we make our own choices, the key is to respectfully decline without belittling your loved ones or sounding condescending.
Respect also goes both ways. When you, as the older one, demonstrate to your loved one that their feelings and views are appreciated, it allows for more peaceful, adult conversations. Both parties need to acknowledge the contributions the other brings to the table so that no one feels small or marginalized.
I think this is one of the hardest things for a lot of us to work past. Issues such as communication can be cyclical, and isn’t really dependent upon one person or one specific action. When my husband shuts down in his anger; refusing to respond to me or even communicate at all- it serves as the catalyst that ignites my own shortcomings; like raising my voice. My raised voice irks my husband, and thus he expands his “shut down” behavior. We go in circles until one of us decides to take a different method.
“I’m not convinced.”
When you have an argument with a loved one, and they finally apologize to you, are you guilty of making them apologize until either 1. You feel that they truly have learned their lesson, or 2. Until you feel better? If so, this can be widening the divide between the two of you. It already is a hit to their pride to apologize, even if they deserve to, but you rubbing their faces in it doesn’t improve matters. Pretending they didn’t really apologize because you didn’t feel they were truly contrite can bring about feelings of resentment from your loved one. Depending upon their feelings, you may even find that you all are right back to square 1 again - and arguing or not talking- with the addition of this new issue looming over you. It’s important that we understand our loved ones are also adults, and that you have not been appointed to enforce punishment upon them. If they have apologized, show them that you TRUST that they are contrite by not trying to further control the situation. Do not attempt to have them suffer until you feel better. Forgive and move on. This doesn’t mean you cannot step back for a while, but let it be because you need to collect yourself, not because you want to punish them.
Until next time...