Why Bother, She’ll Never Change

August 19, 2015

in Uncategorized

The last few days I’ve had some sad comments on an old Generous Husband post – Strong Women Need Strong Men. Basically, men are saying “When I lead she refuses to follow, so I’ve given up.”

I have little to offer these men other than my prayers and the fact we should do what’s right even if others ignore it. However, it’s a perfect example of the subject I had already set for today.

A man who's given up © tunedin | dollarphotoclub.com

It’s human nature to give up when we feel we can’t prevail. In some areas, men seem to be immune to this, continuing to press on when sanity would suggest giving up. On the other hand, it seems to me men often give up too easily and too quickly when it comes to marriage. I think part of the reason for this is they don’t understand their wife or marriage in general. Beyond this, society tells them they have no hope, and odds are some of their friends are saying the same as often as they can.

What I hear from men repeatedly is, “She’ll never change”. This could be in reference to nagging, being chronically late, not listening to him, sex, how to raise the children, or a million other things. He thinks she is set in stone and totally unwilling to listen to him or consider change. Given this perception, he figures he can keep fighting a battle he’s already lost, give up and ignore it, or give up and try to get around it. None of these is appealing or healthy for the marriage.

Thing is, I doubt most of these men’s wives are as entrenched and unbending as the men think. At least they didn’t start out that way. I suspect much of this is about differences in how men and women communicate and set priorities. Something in her words and actions communicates “You’re an idiot, and I will never listen to you one this issue.” Once a man thinks he’s been told this, why would he keep trying?

If your husband has given up on certain issues, ask yourself why. Might you have sent him a message you didn’t mean to send? Might he think there’s no hope you will listen to him, much less change?

In some ways, it’s nice to have your husband give up; no more arguments, and you get to do it your way. However, this isn’t healthy for your marriage, and in time it will do great harm to your relationship. If he’s given up, ask him why… and then listen to his thoughts and feelings and show them respect even if you find them wrong. 

~ Paul – I’m XY and I tend towards never give up even when you should. Pity my gracious bride!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

libl August 19, 2015 at 4:57 am

My hubby admitted to giving up and I was blown away. I thought he didn’t care because he was so apathetic. I personally saw no signs of him trying for anything different. He admitted to non verbal attempts that just went over my head or confused me or felt like him being uncaring. So, he gave up.

Other times, he misinterpreted my “talking it out” as being argumentative, and so he gave up to “keep the peace.”

Still other times he gave up because female family members would make their husbands’ lives hell if they didn’t get their way.

And yet others, I would do things my way anyway, sometimes out of my own sin of fear and control, sometimes because I wanted to help out in my own way, and other times because I thought he didn’t care.

We have both learned to communicate better. Granted, I find it frustrating to have to attach disclaimers onto conversations so he understands where I am coming from, but we do tend to speak two different ways and true meanings get lost easily.

One thing that helped me was to assume love and ask calm, simple, clarifying questions, and avoid jumping to conclusions.

I know it can be hard on a man. He says, “let’s take the kids to Disney this summer!” And he expects, “great idea! They’ll love it! You’re so thoughtful to think of us!”

Instead, she says, “when? Jodi has camp in July. Robin is in summer school. Ryan is taking driver’s ed. We have that wedding to go to in the middle of August……”

He hears, “you’re an idiot. Don’t you know how busy we are?”

She means, “I am not opposed to the idea, but the thought of it is overwhelming. Help me plan to see if it works.”

He says never mind and sulks. She thinks he is being uncaring of the family situation, and complains 5 years later that they never do anything as a family anymore.


Paul Byerly August 19, 2015 at 8:14 am

@libl – Some great examples, thanks!
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Bonny August 19, 2015 at 5:57 am

I’ve seen this recently play out in my own marriage. An issue resurfaced from 2 decades ago and he was so surprised that my stance had changed. We all change and grow. Also, I think my stance on something may be less firm if the issue is approached with love and respect and transparency.


Paul Byerly August 19, 2015 at 8:14 am

@Bonny – How we say it matters, sometimes a lot. I need to remind men of this.
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princevinco August 28, 2015 at 9:22 am

Why bother, she will never change? I wish to point out that men who have such an attitude about their wives in most cases are selfish. They are expecting their wives to change while as they are the one that need to change themselves. Some complain that their wives are not following their leading without asking if they are leading their wives correctly?

I used to counsel men, instead of being grieved that your wives refuse to change her attitudes or actions, decide and change the way you react to such attitudes or actions. and before you know it, you will observe that she had changed without her knowing it.

Moreover, men should realize that their wives are their helpmate not their slave or servant. Some men are treating their wives as their slave or servant and when their wives refused to be treated like that, they turn around to complain that their wives are not following their leading.
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Paul Byerly August 28, 2015 at 10:26 am

@princevinco – I would agree this thinking usually points out the individuals selfishness more than it says anything about their spouse. (This true regardless of the genders.)
However there are times when it is about, or at least partly about the spouse. But even then the best course of action is to work on yourself, the person you can actually change. Even if it is “her fault” (or “his fault” for women) the odds are good changes on your part will precipitate changes in your spouse.
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