She Does Not Have a Reset Button

Reset button © Petrkurgan | Dreamstime.comSome guys seem to expect one good day, or one kind act, to wipe out days, weeks, months, or even years of unloving behaviour, unfair treatment, rudeness, being uncaring, and so on. Let me share a secret with you – your bride does not have a reset button. You can’t change and expect her to forget what has gone before. Neither should you expect her to just believe your change is permanent, and you certainly should not expect her to act as if the change is permanent.

In reality, our actions have consequences, and the longer we persist in a wrong action, the longer it will take to take to convince others we have changed. Even when they start to think the change is going to stick, it will take time for them to heal from the injury already done.

How long does healing take? How long should it take? If the wrong behaviour lasted for weeks or months, it can take at least twice as long doing the right thing. If the wrong lasted for years it should not take twice as long, but it’s going to take a few months at the very least.

Unfortunately, we tend to be very impatient once we feel we have “really changed”; we want our bride to agree with us that we have changed, and to act as if what we did before is a dim memory. Our brains don’t work that way, and expecting her to act that way will only cause more problems. Please, don’t get mad at her for not “getting with the program” regarding a recent change in something you did wrong for a very long time. Accept that you made a mess and that there is no fast easy fix.

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6 Comments on “She Does Not Have a Reset Button

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I am living this right now except it is me, the husband who is having the problem letting the past go. I give her credit, she is doing more these days than ever before in our 6 year marriage, but it’s very difficult to believe that the change will stick. This post works for both parties

  2. Balance is needed. If efforts to change go unheralded and/or unrewarded, then the one making the changes may become discouraged and simply give up.

    If a man is told he need to be more romantic in order to have the sex life he wants, and acts on that instruction, only to find no positive change, will he find it easy to continue down that path?

    No, not at all. Why? Because it appears from his perspective that he’s been sold a bill of goods. He was told if A, then B. If B never comes, or there is no indication that B is coming, then why continue to do A? Or, she really didn’t want A, because I’m now doing what she said she wanted and nothing is getting better.

    So while one should not expect an instant 180 degree turn around, it’s not unreasonable to expect some positive feedback for the changes.

    I wonder how many changes end up being abandoned due to the lack of positive feedback from the one requesting the changes? If you want to see change, you do need to cheer when you see the behaviors you seek.

    That will do your far more good than being quietly skeptical and unresponsive to the changes observed.

  3. @Tony – I agree with you 100% – as far as you go. It would be nice if people changed to do and be what they should just because it’s right, but change is hard work, and if one gets nothing in return it’s difficult to keep at it. Even a bit of benefit back will make it easier.

    There are caveats. If something has been done wrong for a long time, it’s unlikely a change will be reciprocated immediately. If someone has been hurting their spouse for years, doing it right for a few days is not enough. I think a lot of men and women give up too soon. This is where some small change by the other person can be a huge help.

    We also have to make the change where it’s most needed. I see men and woman who make a huge change, or several big changes, but refuse to deal with the one thing that is hurting their spouse the most (the woman who will do anything but have more sex, for example). Then the person who has done all the change feels justified in saying “I did all that, and s/he did nothing – they will never change.

    • It doesn’t even need to be reciprocated, just celebrated. Some feedback that says, “Yes, that’s what I’ve wanted.”

      Because if you don’t get that, then how do you know if you are on the right track?

      It’s called coaching or cheering. It doesn’t mean the person has arrived, or you are going to trust them. But it does mean that they are moving in the right direction and they should keep on doing what they are doing.

      If there is NO positive feedback, or worse, if your spouse scoffs at the changes, then they are simply sending the message that they don’t really want you to change. Because if they “really” wanted you to change, they would express happiness and support for those changes.

      This is especially important if it’s going to take a long time for the one wanting the change is going to come out of her protective shell. If she cannot reciprocate, she can at least cheer. If she can’t provide encouragement, then it’s unlikely she’ll actually witness the changes she wants.

      Instead, she sends the message that she cannot be trusted as she’ll say she wants something, but when she gets what she wants, she rejects it.

      Who in their right mind would continue to provide what is being rejected? Why would the one seeking to change continue to see that as the right change if it’s being rejected?

      So who is giving up too soon, the spouse who gets ZERO positive reinforcement, or the one who refuses to provide any sort of encouragement when they witness the behaviors they’ve wanted to see?

      A simple example, a wife asks her husband to compliment her more, so he begins to do that. However, she rejects every compliment. She either tells him it’s not true, or she refuses to believe he’s insincere. Pretty soon, he’ll stop complimenting her because she has indicated with her actions that she really does not want to be complimented. Her words say compliment me, but her actions say don’t.

      I see with women who want their husband to lead. They say lead me. But then when you try to make a decision, “I don’t want to do that.” Or, they’ll say you shouldn’t worry about that, or whatever.

      Pretty soon, he’ll come to the conclusion that she really doesn’t want him to lead, and he’ll stop trying to lead.

      She says she wants a date night, and the two of you agree which night will be date night. You don’t schedule anything on that night, but she keeps coming up with things that conflict with date night. Did she really want date night?

      All of these are examples of that sort of behavior. If you really want something, if you really want a change, then support that change with your actions and protect and nurture that change.

      Don’t dismiss it and allow your skepticism, or other things to quash the change you’ve requested.

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