"You can't change your partner."
I'm paraphrasing, but that's what my husband said to me after he told me that I was more than welcomed to leave his life if I thought that I needed to change him.
While we were dating, and shortly after we got married, I thought that changing a man to fit your idea of what your spouse "should be" was part of being a wife. Not once had I considered that your spouse changes for you because they want to, and not because you said so.
The day that my husband had enough of me trying to change him, he asked me several hard questions that I couldn't answer, even to this day.
"Why am I not enough for you?"
"Why should I change to fit your picture of what you think a spouse 'should be'?"
My husband asked me those questions more than eight years ago, and I still don't have an answer for him. He soon realized that I needed more from him as a partner, so he changed himself. I am so proud to say that he has become my very best friend, and an amazing dad to our son. But it certainly didn't come easy, and it damn sure didn't come from me changing him. He changed himself because he feels fulfillment in being everything that I need, and more.
I thought about this as I read Draya's Instagram post about why she and Orlando Scandrick broke up for the 17th time. (Okay, it hasn't been 17 times, but I honestly can't keep up with their on again, off again relationship. To me, breaking up with anyone more than once is one break up too many.)
She later revealed that their breakup was the result of cheating. She told another Instagram user that Orlando was being callous towards her in an attempt to force her to break up with him. She also said that she felt she could do better for herself.
"I left. Gave back the ring and left...He just deleted photos. [...] It's a pattern. I gotta do better."
I applaud Draya for putting herself first. From what I gathered from her IG post, she thought the same way about a relationship as I: If the man you want to be with doesn't fit your idea of what a spouse "should be", you try to change them.
As someone who has been there and done that, I know that she, at one point, asked herself the same questions my husband asked me more than eight years ago.
"Why is he not enough for me?"
"Why should I try to change him so that he can fit the picture of what I think a spouse 'should be'?"
If you feel that you have to push your partner to be a better person, then you're involved in the wrong relationship. Your idea of what a spouse should be is just that - an idea. Since I've been married, I've learned that a partner who genuinely cares about you will give you more than what you need without you having to ask. If you are unhappy, your spouse will change for you because your happiness matters more to them than anything else in the world. Your partner should feel gratitude in making you smile and protecting your heart, but you certainly don't try to change them. Why? Because...
[Tweet "You can't change a person."]
If you've found that your partner doesn't act like they care about your happiness, doesn't find gratitude in protecting your heart, or isn't interested in your well-being, then it's time for you to make some changes...within yourself. Also, if they are too hung up on your past to focus on your future together, it will be hard to build trust and progress the relationship forward.
Your happiness may not matter to them, but it should matter to you. You don't
have need to be with anyone who makes you unhappy. Put your happiness first, because that matters more than anything else in the world.
Hopefully in the future, Draya will find a man who will willingly change to be a better spouse because he thinks she's an amazing person, and protecting her heart is part of a life promise he made to God. But it's sad that she had to learn things the hard way: You just can't change people.