Tim’s wife was on a rampage the whole weekend. Nothing pleased her and there was nothing he could do right in her eyes.
She criticized everything he said and insulted his intelligence and his manhood multiple times.
When he finally told her to knock it off or prepare to spend the weekend alone, she said, “Look, if you can’t take me at my worst you don’t deserve me at my best.”
Tim had the best reply I’ve ever heard to that ridiculous old trope.
He said, “Well, if I can’t take you at your worst, maybe you shouldn’t be so fucking horrible.”
She gave him a scowl as he left for the day, free to do whatever made him happy.
Horrible is a Choice
Obviously, this applies to everyone. Both women and men get to choose how horrible or how well they behave and treat each other.
The expectation that your partner should accept your worst behavior in order to experience your best behavior is, at best, simply juvenile.
At its worst it’s emotional blackmail.
And what’s worse is this notion of enduring each other’s tantrums is supported by some popular marriage counseling advice.
The explanation for bad behavior is attributed to unhealed childhood wounds that are triggered within the relationship.
Some experts claim the best relationships include mutual understanding and empathy for each other’s wounds. And if we just nurture each other and avoid rubbing salt in those wounds we can find our way back to those trusting, loving, mushy-mushy feelings of love and connection.
I don’t disagree with the theory or the sentiment. It just sets the bar awfully low.
None of us is perfectly adjusted and we do slip up every now and then. But using our childhood wounds as a perpetual pass for explosive, childish and destructive behavior is the perfect recipe for a miserable, mediocre relationship.
The best relationships I’ve seen don’t make excuses for bad behavior.
These partners feel personally accountable to their own high standards of behavior and consistently support their shared values for the relationship. They have a powerful vision of what their relationship stands for and they don’t screw around making excuses when they fuck up.
In other words, they choose to become healthy people in a healthy relationship. They focus on celebrating their personal growth instead of rationalizing their personal dysfunction.
Which relationship would you rather be in?
What to do if You’re in Tim’s Shoes
While I write for the Tim’s of the world, this advice applies to everyone.
If you are in a miserable, mediocre, dysfunctional relationship you must first decide if you want something better.
Next step. You’re going to need to be better.
Because there’s a 99.7 percent chance that the dysfunction has taken a toll on you. You’ve succumbed to the role of the victim and now treat the emotional explosions and horrible behavior as normal.
And your normal response has become food for the dysfunction. You either avoid her, attack her or throw your own tantrums. This virtually guarantees that your crappy relationship will never change and you will never emerge from this situation as a healthy person.
Again, you’re going to need to be better. This means getting clear about who you want to be and what you really want for your life. You need to have a vision of your future so powerful it makes you want to cry. The power of this vision needs to outweigh the fear of changing what you’ve got now.
Without a clear picture of who you want to be, what you want and where you are going you are doomed. Even if this relationship ends today you’re still doomed because you’re already programmed to create another one just like it.
The Best Case Scenario
Some men think if they change themselves the best case scenario is their wife makes drastic changes and their marriage is saved from doom.
That is not the best case scenario.
And thinking that is the measure of your success is exactly what will make you a failure. This puts focus on things over which you have no control. You cannot depend on her changes or the outcome of your marriage. Depending on the outcome will sabotage your efforts to make any true changes in yourself as they will all be conditional changes.
What you need are non-negotiable changes in yourself.
The best case scenario is that you become a calm, confident, deliberate, clear headed man. You now know your long-term happiness is in your hands no matter what your wife chooses and no matter what happens to your marriage.
You’ve emerged from victim status. You’ve developed higher standards for what it means to be a man and you operate in a stronger, more consistent frame of how you think, speak and behave.
You’ve mastered your own wounds and your own patterns of dysfunction. You don’t require her to lick your wounds because now you can lick your own. And in the face of emotional explosions and attacks from others you respond with a quiet, calm strength.
How was this possible?
You lost the fear of change.
You saw a future much more appealing than the status quo.
And you made a bold decision to change the course of your life forever.
I just released Straight Talk Tools for the Desperate Husband on Amazon. This book will help you to lead yourself and your relationship back to good health.Understand why your partner acts the way she does toward you and learn how to lead your life in the direction you want it to go.
And go HERE for my free ebook The Hard to Swallow Secret to Saving Your Marriage.