Dear Family & Friends,
Cathy was up early before the kids to have a little time to herself and enjoy her coffee. In a matter of minutes, her peace would be interrupted by one or all of the children, followed by her husband.
Chris was a good provider, a hard worker in a physically demanding job, and the kind of man Cathy knew she could always rely on. He was a loving husband and a devoted father who also spent time on the weekends helping his elderly parents around the house. But lately, Cathy was feeling distance growing between them.
Can You Change Someone Else?
— OR —
Be The Change You Wish To See
She didn’t understand why Chris was not more supportive. They agreed before the kids were born that Cathy would stay at home with the kids. Unfortunately, money became tight and they started looking for ways to make extra money. Cathy found a job she could do at home and diligently put in the hours to generate some extra income. Instead of being proud of her, Chris seemed more annoyed as time went by.
Cathy really loved her life. She loved her kids beyond measure. She was grateful to have three healthy and happy children and a loving husband. Even though she felt it was necessary to earn more money for their lifestyle, she was fortunate to generate some extra income from home.
This provided her the opportunity to be available for her children and watch them grow and learn and thrive every day instead of being away at a job for untold hours. She told me about her kids’ changing schedules due to after-school activities, and how difficult it was becoming to keep up with the housework, grocery shopping, and cooking dinner. Did I mention the laundry and the yard work, too? Most of us know those problems all too well.
Of course, Chris did help out with the household chores on the weekends, but there was less time being spent on living and enjoying each other’s company. As the days went by and turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, Cathy still believed there would be more time for them as a couple later. The priority had to be maintaining the responsibilities of her work and growing her income to contribute to her family before she could relax.
Then reality set in. Cathy was beginning to feel that her relationship with Chris was slipping away. He wasn’t as attentive as he used to be, he wasn’t as happy as he used to be, he didn’t seem to care as he once did. Cathy wondered what happened to make him change and she missed his impromptu hugs and surprises. Chris had definitely changed.
She tried talking to him, but he just shrugged off her feelings and blamed her for working all the time. All the nagging hadn’t helped, Chris was just withdrawing from their relationship and Cathy was feeling more lonely than before.
Why didn’t he realize she was doing this all for him and for their family? Why wasn’t he more appreciative of her efforts? Cathy felt as if Chris just didn’t understand at all.
Maybe he didn’t want the responsibilities of a house and children anymore. Maybe he wanted more freedom or even a younger wife! Cathy’s mind was out of control and she started worrying more and more that maybe Chris didn’t love her anymore. She was hurt and confused and didn’t know what to do.
When I talked to Cathy, I could feel her pain and her confusion. I remembered a time long ago when my relationship with my boyfriend was spiraling out of control. We were young and poor and the cars were always breaking down.
You know how guys cuss when they work on cars? Well, the cussing became a part of our vocabulary and continued on in our relationship. I didn’t even realize how much those bad words were coming out of my mouth, and I wasn’t aware of how much he was calling me names. The more he called me a b*tch, the more I was becoming a b*tch. I didn’t like the name-calling one bit. And I certainly didn’t like the words coming out of my mouth either… that was not me!
I don’t want to give him any credit for anything, but he is the one who suddenly realized I was angry all the time… and he knew why. He tried an experiment and turned his words around. Instead of the b-word, he made sure to call me by my name, and he changed other cuss words, too, at least while he was in the house and not working on cars. It did not take very long at all for a complete transformation to take place. Those sweet words were followed by sweet gestures, and in less than a week, he had his sweet girl back to the way she had always been.
I asked Cathy to try changing her attitude towards Chris. Instead of being resentful towards him and bothered by his lack of attention, she could try being attentive to him. She could try being interested in his day when he came home for work. After all, isn’t that what she wanted from him? And isn’t he working hard all day trying to provide for her and their family, too?
Instead of Chris be the “babysitter” when he came home from work and Cathy taking advantage of his presence and turning the kids over to him so she could put in her work hours, she altered her schedule to spend time with Chris. She brought him a lemonade and asked him how his day went. She told him what the kids were up to and they laughed about the neighborhood gossip.
After dinner, she made it a point to give Chris a kiss and let him know how much she appreciated him. After the kids were in bed, she went on to do some of her computer work. When she finished up for the night, she told Chris she was going to bed and hugged him good night.
Cathy just called and was excited to tell me that she received flowers today! No birthday or special occasion, just out of the blue! She told me how much she appreciated our conversation because in only a few days Chris had changed! He would sneak up behind her and give her hugs and kisses. They are even planning a weekend away together – without their kids! She felt miraculous changes had taken place and couldn’t believe it!
Yesterday, I was clever so I wanted to change the world;
today I am wise, so I am changing myself. — Rumi
Just like teenagers who don’t listen, people of all ages respond to what they experience over what they are told. You can’t expect someone to do what you say because you said so. That saying, “Monkey see, monkey do… ” is relevant because it is true. You have to lead by example and exhibit the behavior you want or expect. Actions speak louder than words!
Smile! You got this!
P.S. I welcome your comments, please post below.
P.P.S. Find your way to freedom and be your own boss… Start your own online business… here’s how!