Seasons Change; Shouldn't We?
Updated: Apr 6
Ladies, you might want to grab your husbands for this one.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you are aware of the bitter battles being waged every day between iPhone and Android users. For the record, I am team iPhone and all Apple products - all day, every day.
I have a very close friend who is also a fan of the iPhone. She is a beast in her career field. Unfortunately, we see very few women in the technical world, but this woman is seen and she dominates. She has a seat at the head of the table. Both men and women seek out her expertise and pay good money for her counsel. So, it's no surprise that her technical knowledge and unmatched prowess would lead her to become an iPhone user.
Quality people choose quality items. Sorry, Android users.
Funny thing is, with all of "Gina's" superior technical knowledge, she simply refuses to install the Apple updates to her phone. Her reasoning? My techie friend fears if she installs the upgrades to her phone, some way her phone will lose its integrity. She thinks that perhaps the upgrades will make her phone susceptible to viruses, causing her phone to operate below its optimal capacity, and to depreciate in value. As a result, she simply does nothing to her phone, believing that if she doesn't upgrade it or make any changes to it, the phone will continue operating at its initial capacity - just like when she first purchased it.
But the opposite is true. Just like a marriage, if you refuse to upgrade it and simply leave it untouched, the marriage will lose its integrity, it will become susceptible to disappointments, it will operate below its optimal capacity, and it will depreciate in value. Make no mistake about it: If you fail to make changes in your marriage, your marriage will fail you.
Marriage requires more than maintenance. If you think you can have the same marriage you had - the same way as when you first got married, you will be sorely disappointed. Because people change, our needs also change. What you needed at two years of marriage will not work for you at 22 years of marriage. If I am still crying over spilled Kool-Aid and March Madness after 33 years of marriage, somebody needs to come get me!
Now for the good stuff: Before we hop on this next path, let me preface the next few words by saying I am speaking in general terms. Okay, let's go! Let's talk about this "change" thing.
Generally speaking, most women don't struggle much with making changes. Sure, some of us are very stubborn and maybe a bit controlling, but we are almost always willing to make changes in our relationships that will benefit both our partners and the relationship itself. At our core, we are nurturers, so we will pull out all the stops to make sure things go smoothly, that our spouses feel appreciated and loved, and that everyone in the family is in a perpetual state of kumbaya.
Likewise, because we are oxytocin-lovers and our levels are higher than men's levels (look it up), we tend to like social interaction and spirited conversations. So, it's fairly easy for us to not only change when asked, but also to express the changes we need to see. The problem comes when we have to express those needs to our husbands.
Just like women are nurturers and helpers, men are fixers and problem-solvers. It is in their nature to fix things and to solve problems. It's what they've been wired to do. So why don't they ever seem to solve the problem of change? They make promise after promise that they will change in certain areas and while we have bent over backwards and given our left arms to meet the changes they expressed, it always seems they are just as unwilling to change for us. Or are they?
After being so angry from years of asking for the same specific changes or becoming so disappointed that I found myself inches away from a mental breakdown, the light bulb came on. I couldn't understand why I had broken my back making the changes my husband wanted and yet he still seemed to be so nonchalant about making any changes I'd asked for over, and over, and over, and over again. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks . . .
Sometimes the changes we need seem unattainable, impossible to facilitate, or downright intimidating to our husbands. Problem-solvers and fixers that they are, this becomes a daunting dilemma for them. They have no idea how to meet the changes we request, however valid they may be. In an effort not to offend their problem-solving sensibilities, our men will often reorder or restructure our requests for change so they comfortably fit within their wheelhouses - so it becomes something they can fix. Fitted with a change they can now make (a problem they can solve), they don their medieval armor, mount their white horses, pull the reins toward their chests, and ride in for the rescue!
We on the other hand, experience this move a little differently. While our husbands are riding to our rescue shouting "I got it babe! I can make this change! See, I heard you and I am doing it," we don't recognize the change they're waving around like a victory banner because it's not the change we requested. You've changed it, as if it wasn't good enough to stand on its own or like I don't know what I'm asking for. So, your shouts of "I got it babe!" sound like, "I don't love you enough to change!" After all, this was the 76th time I've asked you to make this change and you come through here riding on a white horse that looks like a runaway, schizophrenic mule. You've restructured my request. You bellowed that you'd made the change I wanted when in fact, you changed my request to suit your capabilities or lack thereof! And you still haven't done what I've asked? "You don't love me."
Listen very carefully, brothers: One of a woman's basic needs is for security. She often finds security in love. I know, I know, I am always sharing something my Pastor said but she's a BAAAAAAAAD Woman of God so please just listen. When referring to the love she has for her husband and some of the difficult times they'd gone through, she made this statement to him: "As long as I'm with you," she declared, "I'll sleep in a cardboard box!" Why is that? Women have an intrinsic "ride-or-die" gene that is activated by love - not that fake love, but that real love that will make you wrap your arms around your husband and snuggle up even closer when you realize he farted on you in his sleep kind of love.
When we are convinced that our husbands love us, it makes us feel safe. It gives us a sense of security. We will take on the devil himself and not even bat an eye if we know our man genuinely loves us. If we think you don't love us or don't love us enough, it chips away at our security. Fellas, you do not want an insecure woman on your hands, in your bed, or on your arm. She will make your life miserable. Insecure women do things insecure women do and those things are neither pleasant nor fruitful.
To put it mildly, every marriage needs upgrades. Every person needs change. If we fail to upgrade our marriages, they will fail and fail miserably. They won't even put up a fight. If we want our marriages to be stronger, and to last longer, we've got to put the work in. It's often said that the only constant is change. It's important that we put forth the effort to meet the changes our marriages require. If we don't, our relationships will become stagnant and, well, boring.
One of the ways we can begin implementing the changes our marriages need is by putting aside our own needs and pride, and dismantling any filters we may have so we can openly hear what our partners are requesting.
Additionally, if we know how something is built, we can better understand it. Ladies, I know we've been asking our husbands to put in the back deck for five and a half years now. He's done everything but put the deck up. He planted a rose garden back there, assembled that fabric covered patio set I saw at IKEA, and he even built a doghouse to the left of the rose bushes (never mind that we don't even have a dog), and still no deck. Well, maybe he just doesn't know how to do it. Perhaps we can approach him ever so gently about acquiring the tools to get it done, searching Home Depot for some DIY videos, or simply hiring someone to do it. What we can't do is fail to communicate our needs. You see, communication isn't always about communicating one way. Sometimes communication involves exploring novel methods of communication and cracking those lines open before communication actually takes place. And change, genuine change, never takes place without a conversation - without some form of communication.
Ladies, let's ask again. Let's keep asking for the changes we need, and don't give up on finding the right communication path to getting to those changes. And men, don't worry if what we're asking for is not in your wheelhouse . . . WE are in your wheelhouse and together, "We can make it do what it do!"
I love being married!