Consciously or unconsciously, we choose the relationships we create with other people.
We create them consciously when we decide that we want a particular kind of relationship and work to make it:
- By taking the lead in the relationship and setting a direction.
- By creating good communication habits.
- By responding to the needs a person expresses through their behavior rather than by just reacting to the behavior.
- By being firm about the way others treat us, and by treating them with respect and dignity.
- By remembering that the other person is an individual with their own struggles; that often their actions have nothing to do with us and everything to do with what is going on in their minds.
- By knowing who we are and understanding our boundaries, so that the other person isn’t left guessing.
- By remembering why we are in this relationship, and what we have to gain by cultivating a good one.
- By remembering that no relationship is settled: they are always a work in progress that can be changed for better or for worse, by our actions.
You cannot change your wife. Only she can change herself. What you can do, is become a better husband, and give her a chance to respond. You can consciously build up and express your character, you can communicate with her more effectively (and with greater empathy), and see how she changes to adapt to that new environment.
And yes it is possible that she won’t change. It is possible that she is so wrapped up in her own pain and insecurities that she won’t be able to give up her bad behavior, or that she is just plain crazy, and the bad behavior you are seeing is a symptom of a deep problem. Even then, however, your choice to change has still been a net gain for you. You are a stronger, wiser man for it; you’ll be a better man for the next woman.
Most women, however, calibrate themselves to the man they are with. They will do exactly what they need to get their husbands, lovers, or friends to give them the empathy, compassion, and love that they need. Make a woman work to be heard, and she will happily give you an earful. Offer to listen, and she will speak softly.