Is your relationship sitting on a ticking bomb?

What do you think is the number one cause of divorce or relationship breakups? Issues? Money problems? Boredom? Let me give you a hint:

Albert Einstein said: “Men marry women in the hope that they will never change. Women marry men in the hope that they will change. Invariably, both are disappointed.”

If you read that quote carefully, you will see the time bomb vibrating below 85% of relationships today. Let’s analyze it.

“Men marry women in the hope that they will never change.” Why? Because once a man gives up his precious, hard-won freedom for a woman, and asks her to share his world with him, he has decided that this is the person who fills his life. She brings him something that he cannot achieve alone. Imagine a lifetime of love, support, and joy with this woman. You are probably physically attracted to her. His hope is that all of these factors never change.

“Women marry men in the hope that they will change.” Let’s face it, ladies. We are sooo guilty of this trait. We see the potential in a man. Do you have a beer gut? We will encourage you to go to the gym once the ring is on our finger. Won’t you earn six figures? With our encouragement and support, it will soon be. Is your mother too involved in your life? Once the honeymoon is over … so do Mom’s visits. We don’t like his haircut, the choice of golf jerseys, the time with the boys, the TV shows … the list goes on and on. With a little help, spit and polish, this guy could be a good match. Do you see the difference between the two quotes?

I have worked with women for over 30 years. I interviewed more than 2000 men. I know the above statements are true. And if you can’t discern where that ticking is coming from, let me give you a hint.

When a person is constantly under a microscope in an effort to see all his faults, flaws, and shortcomings, that person begins to diminish. His life is now one of constant criticism, innuendo, silent treatment, rage and destruction of his dreams. I’ve seen it so many times. It begins as what the woman perceives to be harmless suggestions about her hygiene, fashion sense, choice of friends, etc. Your intentions are honorable, right? I mean, she’s just trying to help the poor boy have a better life, right?

If you look more deeply at the true motivation behind women trying to “improve” their partners, you will see the real momentum. They are your own feelings of low self-worth. She needs the world, especially her friends and family, to see her with someone amazing. This human being that she married is a reflection of what she was able to capture and, in a sense, is a yardstick of how she “measures up.” Her annoying features may be reflections on herself that she is unhappy with. On a subconscious level, she feels that by “straightening it out,” she has addressed her own issues.

The reason that belittling, undermining, insulting, and belittling your partner is so dangerous and harmful is that it will eventually erode his feelings for you and himself. Love affairs often begin because of a person’s need to feel loved and admired, at any cost. We are closing off the very person we choose to love and with whom to be. Why is it so important for us to separate them now? Seriously, who gave you the right or the power to take someone else’s self-esteem and crush it?

You can defuse the bomb with a simple trick: start looking at it with eyes of love and appreciation. He is human. He’s going to mess up every now and then, just like you. The next time you’re tempted to point out something you did wrong, think about your last mistake. Did you spill the milk? Break a plate? Are you late for work? Did you lose your car keys? We get so used to ignoring our own flaws as we go forward with a magnifying glass and a sniper gun waiting for our loved one to make a mistake. Nothing … and I mean NOTHING will kill a relationship faster.

Please … let him breathe. Let him be human. When you start to appreciate him for all he does for you, how hard he tries to do the best he can with what he has, you will start to lose the habit of blaming and belittling. You will see this boy bloom before your eyes while feeling loved and admired. The men I surveyed listed being admired and appreciated as the top two things they yearned for from their women. Take it from them and you will see someone who has become a shell of his old self.

If you continue to feel the need to be in control and hurt others, you need to address your low feelings of self-worth. You can only give away what you have inside. If you cannot give love, appreciation, and support, then there is a hole within you that needs to be addressed.

Dr. Wayne Dyer has a favorite quote of mine: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Believe me, when I change the way you see him and see him only through eyes of love and appreciation, he will change. But not for the selfish reasons we listed above. Rather, he will become the man HE always wanted to be and you will have a relationship that fairy tales were built on.

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