Change Him or Change Yourself?

Last week my mother, aunt and I had an interesting conversation. The subject? What’s the one thing the majority, if not all, black women discuss at some point during any given week? Men, of course. More specifically, we were discussing men and women changing in relationships.

My aunt’s point of view: Men are not going to change; the woman needs to. A woman knew how her man was years before she married him and shouldn’t expect him to suddenly change because he said “I do.”

My mother’s perspective: Both men and women need to change after entering into a relationship, be it dating or marriage. You cannot have the same “single” mindset and tendencies once you’ve committed to someone.

My thoughts: Smh (shaking my head).

I agree that both parties need to change; in any good relationship you and your partner will inevitably change as you learn more about one another and yourselves. Relationships do entail compromise, sacrifice and adjustments…to an extent. Let me repeat that, I said to an extent.

You see my aunt, and so many other women, believe that “men will be men” philosophy —you know, that it’s in a man’s nature to do (fill in the blank), so rather than think you’re going to change him down the line somewhere, you, the woman, need to change your thinking.

He’s had an unstable work history and, when unemployed, doesn’t feel the need to always immediately go out and seek another job. It’s been like this for years. So, rather than wanting a man who provides for you, you need to change your thinking.

He was unfaithful when you met him and he’s unfaithful now that you’re dating. You’ve always believed in monogamy, but, now, you need to change your thinking.

You had this idea of what love and commitment would be, but your relationship has been the complete opposite of that. Still hold onto that hope? No, change your thinking.

I do think women should change their thinking when it comes to a relationship, but my timing is a little different. My aunt says after you’ve been with a man and have witnessed his ways. I say before you give him the time of day.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that as we experience different things our perspectives change. Love and relationships aren’t always you-just-love-one-another-so-much-and-want-to-constantly-be-up-under-each-other-night-and-day. I got it; we learn the reality. Yet, I still believe the line must be drawn between adjusting and downright settling.

Why do you have to change your views on love because the one you’re with isn’t producing? Why must you change your desire to be romanced, protected, provided for and comforted because he can’t seem to do those things?

Men do act a fool and do unacceptable things before you date them, yet we still date them. There’s the error. When you make a change, make it before you decide to invest into someone else. If he isn’t acting right while ya’ll are courting, talking, casually dating, etc. then why commit to a relationship?

My point is, women get into relationships thinking either he’ll change down the line or, after time, feeling forced to change their outlook on love due to his actions. I’m saying make the change before you even take it to the relationship level; if his mindset and actions aren’t lining up with your desires beforehand, spare yourself the disappointment later.


Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Marks aspires to help make a difference in society through the messages in her writings. She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Check her out at:




  1. Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Save yourself the grief, heartache, stress etc,
    See it for what it is EARLY and move on EARLY if it ain’t right!

  2. Couples today have no respect or consideration for each other and it leads to a war of the roses. Example, if the fellas are planning to meet Sunday to watch the football games (Da Bears!) I should take the moment to ask my lady if she wants to do something or see if she has plans are for that Sunday. If she doesn’t have anything going on, I’m heading out to watch football! Some people think that is equivelant to asking for permission but it’s not. You are simply showing consideration for your partner, first. Ladies, if you know your man likes to play basketball on Saturday morning why complain to about it? Maybe that is his way of letting off steam from the work week. On the flipside, the man should ask his woman if she needs him home by a certain time because maybe she needs to roll out and do errands, help with the kids, or she has plans with the girls. These are two simple examples but just think about how being considerate and respectful can affect sex, money, kids, bills, and the plan of the day in a household. It’s time we learn it’s ok to put the other person first before just going out and doing ur thang..

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