Why is it that my husband seems to only want to do things his way?
I hate it when he thinks he is always right and discounts everything I say.
What do you do when the man you married refuses to meet you halfway or compromise?
This was the comment I received from a woman I was trying to assist. She was extremely frustrated with her husband who was stubborn and unwilling to change his ways. It was clear his behavior, if left unchecked, would continue to slowly erode the marriage.
He often criticized her, finding fault with almost everything she did or said. It had gotten so bad she felt paralyzed with indecision.
Essentially, she was desperate to know how to get her husband to change his domineering ways.
If you are married to a guy who is set in his ways and doesn’t want to change, then I can imagine you must be at your wit’s end.
But if it helps, just know that you are not the only wife whose husband is stubborn and refuses to change.
Don’t think your man doesn’t love love you. He does. He just needs a little help showing it more.
And if you are looking for that little edge….perhaps to get your husband to show you more love, then things are looking up. I just wrote a post about that topic…
Making your dreams of a great marriage become a reality requires work. Sometimes you just have to come at it in a different way.
Such is the life of all relationships.
Welcome to the human race of the married folks!
We all have our challenges as we seek a better union.
What I Won’t Be Telling You!
So as you read on, let me tell you what I won’t be talking about.
The solutions you can bring to bear for your situation won’t involve quick fix tactics.
I am afraid relationships simply don’t get better overnight.
I hate it when I read these articles that tell you things like, “How to change your husband in five days so he becomes your Prince Charming.”
No, no. We are not going to walk down that road as it is not realistic.
Nor will we be venturing into the area of “my husband refuses to change so I am kicking him out for good.”
That is easy to say, but is not only impractical to implement, but is giving into to desperation and impassivity. Never mind that it would likely create more friction and ultimately ruin your marriage.
Now, if it makes you feel better to say a few hundreds, go ahead, be me guest!
I am not going to tell you with great specificity what you should do when your husband won’t change his ways.
It just doesn’t work that way.
Everyone’s situation is unique and there is no secret recipe that can make your husband obey and honor and do all the things you want.
Psychologists describe the matter of a husband refusing to modify his ways as functional fixedness in marriage.
Did you get that?
Your husband is suffering from functional fixedness!
That’s a mouthful isn’t it?
Quite frankly, I am not even sure what that means, though it seems that if your man is really fixed in his ways, unbending to your wishes, then your marriage is likely dysfunctional.
So should you do first if you are looking for way to change your husband’s undesirable behavior?
Does it mean that you need to trade up!
Should you send out your husband to get a brain transplant!
Does it mean you should just give up and assume your husband will never change?
Fortunately, you have some other options.
All of Us Can Get Fixed in Our On Ways.
Almost all of us have an allegiance to certain things we like to do, say, and think.
Of course the problem with that is if what we are doing is self-destructive or is causing the marriage to suffer, then something certainly needs to change.
Unfortunately, if you are one of those women whose husband needs to change some of his behaviors, chances are that your man doesn’t see it the same way as you do.
He may think everything he does and says is just fine. He may be so comfortable in how he relates to you within the marriage, he figures why should he change?
Clearly it can be a marriage stopper if what your husband does and says to you is mean, ugly, and cruel.
Take this client for example…
I am married to a man who seems blind to how he treats me everyday. He sits around every evening and cares little about talking to me. Seldom does he ask how my day was. My husband thinks he is the only one that carries stress. When I want to watch something else on television, he snaps at me and goes into a tirade about how he just wants to relax and I should go and watch my shows on the other television upstairs. He frets all the time about life in general and blames me for pulling down his mood. Frankly, I get so mad at him when he acts like that I want to slap him. My husband thinks I am the center of all his imagined troubles. He makes me hate being around him, though I know this marriage will continue to fail if we don’t draw closer. How can I get this stupid husband of mine to learn to treat me with some decency?
Chris, I can’t believe I fell for this good for nothing husband of mine. He seemed like the right guy for me and said and did all the right things. Honestly, I think it was the sex that drove our courtship and led us right into marriage. I had visions of babies and loving experiences. You know, the whole white picket fence thing. I am highly sexual but it isn’t the thing that drives me. I am afraid he just saw me as a woman with a big sexual appetite and figured he hit the jackpot and turned on all the charm just to keep the sexual thing alive. But now that we are married and have settled into our routines, I see now what can a man he truly is. It is almost shocking to discover the true nature of your husband. He is obnoxious and often uncaring. What I thought was confidence and a positive assertive nature, turned out to be a husband who is pig-headed and listens to no one but himself. With what I am seeing on my end, I am not sure if he can change. My husband is like blind to his own failings. He is always mistreating me and shows me little respect to the point where is rude to me in public. Is there any chance he will recognize what an awful person he can be or am I stuck forever in this unfulfilling marriage?
I know it can be frustrating when you are married to a guy who is inflexible and doesn’t want to examine his own behavior.
And your relationship with your husband can turn out to be nothing like what you imagined it would be.
Unless you are one of those lucky women who found a man who is sensitive to how he is perceived and loves you so much that he will make mid-course changes in how he acts, then be prepared to reset your expectations.
I am not saying its impossible, but you will have your work cut out for you to get your husband to look at his role in the marriage in an entirely different way.
But fret not, because it is doable.
Focus on the High Hard Ones
You cannot usually make your husband change all his ways.
And it’s not just your man we are talking about. People in general get set in their ways for a variety of reasons.
I have too often seen wives nag and berate their husband hoping this will lead to their man changing how he acts.
That is the worst way to get your husband to modify his behavior.
Most men are going to escalate their undesirable behavior if you are constantly harping on it. It is just the psychology of how men behave.
If you criticize your husband about something he is doing (or not doing), and try to tell him to “zig”, guess what?
Your guy is going to do the opposite. He will “zag”.
Even if he knows that he should follow along with what you say and it is probably the right solution, he will likely just keep repeating what he is doing out of stubbornness and spite.
A better, more effective strategy is to get your husband to focus on one thing at a time.
Make the focus on something that you believe to be very meaningful and if he was to change this behavior, it could make a difference in the relationship.
I am not saying that everything about your marriage will improve if you get him to change this one thing.
But it is often best not to bite off more than you can chew.
So how do you get this less than wonderful man you are hitched up with to see the relationship through the prism you are looking through?
I say your communication strategy needs to be presented with strategy and some flair.
It almost needs to be an intervention so what you are trying to get him to change is presented in a fashion that shines a big spotlight on what it is you want him to do differently.
I am not talking about you becoming a drama queen and giving your husband a tongue lashing or putting him in his place or giving him an ultimatum.
More often than not, that kind of response just sends your marriage backwards.
You need to be more clever and strategic and there has to be a win in it for him.
Motivating Your Husband To Change For You
When I spoke to Leslie, she told me her husband had a habit of being critical of her during the evening hours. It wasn’t just one thing he would complain about. It often covered a variety of things.
He would make negative comments about her cooking and complain about not wanting to go out and how he has to fight with her about what to watch on television.
It sounds petty and stupid, but since it had been occurring for some time, she feared her marriage was headed the wrong way.
I agreed. She and her hubby when in a big rut. A bad relationship routine is another way of describing it.
She wanted to know how to change her husband’s attitude which too often came off as negative and sarcastic.
What she did to get him to “behave himself” as she described it was simple and straightforward, yet made an immediate impact on the way they interacted during the evening hours.
“Chris, I simply caught him when he was in a good mood and was behaving himself. So to reinforce this behavior I slipped into something rather skimpy and got to work on him in those ways that he really likes. It was highly sexual and aggressive, even for me, but as things progressed, I told him why I liked the way he was acting and in a subtle way expressed there was a lot more of this to come if he could try to be on his best behavior a bit more often The impact was amazing in the weeks to follow. He wanted to please me more and I wanted to please. It wasn’t like he was perfect. But we can build on this.”
Leslie used a strategy that employed some sexuality. Does that always work? Of course not. But the minds of men sometimes are better swayed when there is a sexual or intimate component involved.
I know it sounds crude, but subtle to not so subtle expressions of intimacy can persuade and move men to be a better version of themselves.
Sometimes trying to reason with your husband about how he “should” behave can only get you so far.
It likely that your husband has heard your complaints over and over again. So instead of putting more pressure on the relationship by getting into a big fight or walking out in a huff and puff, it can be more effective to use more subtle and strategic ways to get your husband to modify his behavior.
Your approach doesn’t have to rely on turning on your husband.
While that can open the door to your husband’s willingness to reconsider his behavior, there are other approaches that can be equally effective.
Just be sure to choose the area you wish to focus on carefully.
For most people, it is asking too much to get them to change everything all at one time. Identify the problem behavior you wish to tackle first, then go to work on it.
Let’s say you want your husband to spend more time with you, offer him a win win proposition.
Suggest you want to spend time with him and you want to arrange a weekend getaway trip. But in return, tell him that after your outing, you want him to arrange for that fishing trip he has always wanted to do with his buddies.
Marriage life with your husband in some ways is like a negotiation.
There is give and take. There should be a balance in the personal power you each share.
And there is an art to getting him to do things he just doesn’t know that he wants to do yet.
Seldom will you find a couple that agrees on everything and are completely happy with the way things are working out.
Both husband and wife must learn to give and take and the best way to make inroads is through calculated little steps where both sides win.