Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Screaming at Oranges

There is an old saying that a man marries a woman thinking she will never change and a woman marries a man thinking she can change him. The high divorce rate suggests that the reasons people get married may not always be the right ones. People do change over time. Hopefully, people gain wisdom as time goes on. Yet these changes are not always for the betterment of the marriage. Also, sometimes one person within a couple changes while the other remains the same.

People generally do not change their essential nature. If people are unwilling or unable to change for the sake of a marriage they are almost never willing to change for the sake of a divorce. Thus, trying to change a person's essential nature may be a kin to pounding in a nail with your forehead.

I'm often confused that people are surprised and frustrated by their soon to be ex-spouse continuing to maintain the same annoying personality traits that played a part in their decision to divorce in the first place. It is a little like being mad at an orange for being juicy. Although, it is alright to encourage positive behaviors it is just frustrating to try and change someones essential nature when that is unlikely to ever occur.

Behavior can certainly be changed or modified by Court Order. People often are more willing to do what they should do when the alternative is being held in contempt of court. The possibility of time in jail is an excellent motivator. Thus, some negative behaviors can be modified. A person who is bad with money can be taught to pay child support on time. It is possible to get someone to visitation on time. Any behavior reduced to an order can be changed provided that negative reinforcement works on that indivisual.

Obviously any behaviors that involve violence, are illegal or are harmful to a child are not what I consider part of someones essential nature. Yet, these behaviors also may not be easily changed. The solution to dealing with these behaviors may be restricted visitation or limited contact.

It is best to reserve energy for fighting battles that can be won. Most of the time the frustration involved in changing a person's essential nature is not a battle worth fighting. There is value in peace of mind.

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