Wrestling the morning rush-hour traffic at Jalan Semantan, I tuned in to Light and Easy FM hoping to acquire some measure of relief from the stress having to do battle with well-heeled but selfish half-wits driving big, fancy cars – people to whom queue-jumping is a badge of honour. But what came over the speakers was equally (if not more) stressful: a female radio personality was taking calls as to whether it is reasonable to expect a man to change after marriage.

This should be amusing.

As I listened to a female caller droning on about how selfish men are by not wanting to change, I had an “Aha!’ moment. Women, it would seem, are not really mad about men not being able to change. No, men change all the time; all living things change. But what’s really getting all these women’s knickers into a twist is that their men do seem not change in the way that they want them to. It’s that simple!

Somehow, women (or at least the caller) just can’t seem to tell the difference between us not being able to change and us not changing in the specific way that you want us to. This is how the logic goes: you don’t want to change (in the way that I want you to). Therefore, you are selfish. And by extension, since you are a man (who doesn’t want to change in the way I want you to), all men are selfish.

Huh? Who is really the selfish one here?

This is the tragedy that most women conveniently overlook; a tragedy that men simply cannot be bothered to point out. What I can’t, for the life of me, understand is why women make it their mission in life to change their men after marriage? If he were defective ab initio, why did you marry him in the first place? If he were a compulsive wife-beater, a serial rapist, an incorrigible drunkard or gambler, I can understand. Change (or castrate him) him all you want. But when he’s the ordinary Joe who is none of the things, why insist on changing him into someone else?

I can hear cries of “But all we want to change them so that they will be better.” Bollocks! You knew he was a work-in-progress in the first place. Why didn’t you just marry a finished product instead? Surely there must be plenty of men out there who are finished products, i.e. ones that do not need to be improved. Oh? What’s that I hear you say? There’s no such thing as the perfect man? Well then, why is it that you keep insisting that your man live up to such impossible standards – and squander precious emotional capital (both yours and his) in your efforts to change him?

Sometimes, I doubt if women marry for love; or even that they marry for money, for that matter. It would seem that they marry the poor sod so that they can change him, and in the process, satisfying some perverse ego-trip instigated by that latent control-freak deep within the female psyche.

And this is the bit that hurts: how can you say you truly love someone when all you want is for him to change?

But let me set the scales right. Men are equally guilty of a similar delusion. While women make the mistake of thinking that their men will change after marriage, men, too, commit a similar blunder: they somehow think that their women will remain the same even after they are married.

This, I believe, is what they call a double-whammy.

19 thoughts on “Double-whammy

  1. Well, it seems you have hit the proverbial nail on the head with this one. The funny thing is, if we all try to work on changing ourselves into the best we can be, you won’t have time to try to change anyone else.

    I write a blog about how men can better love their wives everyday in a practical way. I hope you all will check it out. It is also a great place for single women to see what to wait for in a real man to marry.


    Ken Kendall

    Thanks for the heads-up to your site. I paid a visit and decided that is was the first of many, many more visits to come.

    To readers of this blog:

    Give Ken’s blog a visit. You’ll uncover quite a few gems there.

  2. Mat-san,

    I was tuned in to that same programme, by the way,in my car, on the way to work,somewhere in the Golden Triangle.

    Gave me the creeps…the views of those listeners who called in.

    The same here, Mat-san, in terms of stance, and I`m probably the last person on earth the female gender would term as “MCP”, by the way.

    C`mon, wifey knows what hubby was when they both agreed to tie the knot.Why want to change him? And what`s good for the goose is good for the gander.It works both ways!

    Mat-san, I`ve been married for just over 30-years now.Happy marriage? I don`t know. Enduring?Yes.Wonderful kids?Oh, the both of us parents spoil them to kingdom come.Yes! What would married life be without them ?

    Maybe there`s the secret, Mat-san.Just be good friends, hubby and wifey, and forget about all that crap about eternal love and “till death do us part” nonsense.Forget about changing each other, just accept each other, warts and all, and believe me, love as what the movies and romatic novels would want it, doesn`t exist.

    Accept these realities, never shun one`s responsibility in the home(applicable to Dad & Mum), accept the fact that we are never perfect, and give each other plenty of space to have one`s own network of friends, advance on`s career,hobbies, pastimes(whatever it is, even if it`s enjoying the happy hours or holidaying alone for no apparent purpose , or golfing the whole day long).And don`t overdo that conversation bit…too much talk is between spuses can also lead to harm.As in my case, those routine things which need to be done, family wise, are handled by sms`s and e-mails to each other all day long.And I`m abroad most of the time on business, btw, that even news of my daughter wanting to get engaged is broken to me by an email from wifey and daughter.The corresponding details? Discussed by more emails, since Dad, Mum and daughter are mostly in different time zones!

    And the cardinal agreement etched in stone..unless we see it with our own eyes, ignore those gossips, carry-tale-I`m -telling- you- this-confidentially- for- your- own- good- as- you- are- my -dear-friend reports, etc, etc about each other`s alleged infidelity and what have you.

    God willing, yours will be a happy home,Mat-san, and the marriage will be a long and enduring one.Happy? Maybe trying too hard to attain it is a futile effort, anyway.What the heck?Just be ourselves!

    Cheers my friend!


    How right you are, sir. Tho what you say may not go down too well in certain quarters, nevertheless, it is the plain unadulterated truth. The Holy Trinity of Love, Marriage and Happiness isn’t really that holy. Though it would be nice if all these things came in the same package, the reality of life is such that this seldom happens.

    The sooner we accept this, the sooner we will get a chance to be at peace – at least with ourselves.

  3. Salam Abg B,
    I read this somewhere and thot of sharing it.

    A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesnt.

    A man marries a woman expecting that she wont change, but she does.

    Anak Umie

    Absolutely! Thanks for sharing

  4. Matt,

    I oso read this somewhere & I too thot of sharing;

    Marriage is the price men pay for sex and sex is the price women pay for marriage.

    After 15 years of marriage they finally achieved sexual compatability.
    They both had a headache 🙂




    I thoroughly enjoyed this, Tommy


  5. while it’s never easy, there are obviously plenty of people who make it work and don’t try to force the change. this is a video of a woman named Marge; her story of 48 years of marriage would hopefully inspire others to leave a bit of the change obsession out.

    if enough people like and vote for Marge’s story she’ll be featured in the 2010 Mutual of Omaha, aha moment campaign. thought everyone at this blog might appreciate her story.




    Marge’s story is really sweet. Thanks for sharing, Cam

  6. What are you? On my husband’s payroll now? *rolling my eyes*

    But I like Hisaghi-san’s take on this. Not as wise as him (30 years of marriage? Oh man…) and in my mere 5 years of living with a man, I think the key to healthy marriage is space.

    Space to call your own; time for yourself.

    On change? No, men don’t change. So girls, stop trying.

    Let’s Soong Ai Ling’s our hand and foot with her soothing spas. Or go shopping. Whichever you fancy.


    I wish!

    But I am not on his payroll – at least, not yet (can I send in a resume?) 🙂

    Hear! Hear! Ladies, listen to what this very intelligent lady has to say: stop trying to change your men!

  7. Did you just meet my husband and had teh tarik with him? Really I would expect this post to be from him 😛


    It would be a pleasure – and an honour – to have teh tarik with your husband, ma’am. I imagine we’d have a lot in common.

  8. A view from a not-married, head-over-heel in love girlfriend of a finished product :

    Wow. I dread the time if I would ever find it convenient for my man to change. Boyfriend is so perfect now, I cannot imagine how marriage could change that. I guess living together means you would finally realize the perfect boyfriend may have left the un-perfect bits at home, behind the door..perhaps waiting for a wife to come and fix it?

    Delightful warning, this post. Thanks Mr.B.


    I recall fondly when my my girlfriend used to think I was the best thing since sliced bread, a finished product, he-who-can-do-no-wrong, etc. Then we got married. She’s my ex-wife now. Today, she wouldn’t cross the street to p*ss on me even if I were on fire!

    No, dearie, I am not trying to burst your bubble. Who knows, the pair of you may turn out to be the exception to the rule. I’m rooting for you and hoping it will turn out fine for the both of you in the end.

    Happy days, Kautsar.

  9. Hi there. Have been a follower of your blog for quite a while now. I like your outlook of life and I like the way you write. I am assuming that you talk the same way too..

    Just curious about the age of a ‘finished product’ person. Do enlighten..


    Thanks for the kind words. Good to know that someone thinks my outlook is not a total write-off 🙂

    About the age of a finished product person – age has nothing to do with it. It all depends on on how far along in a relationship you are. Before marriage, chances are good that you are perceived as a finished product. After marriage? Forget about it! There’s always either something wrong with you or you are always doing something wrong.

    It was nice to have you visit, V

  10. Alah….. when you hear all those blabberings … aren’t you (all) just suppose to nod, pretend u’ve given some thought and replied, ‘yes dear…. of course you make sense…’.

    For better or for worse 🙂


    Ah! I’m sure you’d agree that ‘for better or for worse’ should work both ways, wouldn’t you?

    Aren’t you all, after marriage – the time when you first realise that when we fart we stink-up the whole room – supposed to smile sweetly and say “What smell? I don’t smell anything… ”

    Yes, ma’am. For better or for worse is a good thing 🙂

  11. I dunno la some point in the relationship there’ll always be instances when we’ll be guilty of trying to change the other, be it the man or the woman. bcos we’re 2 different people trying to share a life. bcos total acceptance isnt all that easy. whats important to me is that we hold on tight to the respect that we have for each other and accept (gracefully or otherwise lol) what cannot be changed ;p

    Btw MB, when men “… somehow think that their women will remain the same even after they are married..” doesnt this mean that they too want their women to ‘change’.. back to the hot mama they once were? rather impossible standards jugak la tu kan hehehe 😀


    Absolutely, ma’am. This is why I called this posting “Double-whammy”: both parties are constantly trying to impose their will on the other. I guess this is a fact of life. But reading your comment has taught me that it should not be about refraining from imposing our will on the other – this is an impossibility. What’s more important is how we go about doing it. As I always say, “Its not what you actually say but how you say it that makes the difference.”

    In the end its about being able to give as good as we take. It may (temporarily) feel good to have things go our way (by exerting emotional pressure and other dirty tactics) at the expense of spouses’ vision. But one-way concessions aren’t concessions at all: they are time-bombs.

    Good to have you visit, ma’am

  12. Dear Bangkai,

    I’m not a total misogynist. When I say that, I really mean it. Meant, I do have a hint of misogynist in my chromosome. Just like a pinch of salt in a glass of mamak’s Teh Tarik. It makes my tongue to taste a little bit of indescribable taste of ‘lemak manis’.

    So it seems like what has been written above is true. By the time I really adore pretty women in general, I do keep a doubt feeling on them. My previous breakup with my ex had taught me something about dealing with this kind of women, namely, feminist. Fuck feminist, as I always say.

    Ma’am Ida Hariati Hashim once posted a thought-provoking comment up my blog. I don’t have time to search the comment at the moment but it is something like; a loving couple shouldn’t be fighting about the rights over each other. Just act normal as a husband should be, and a wife should be. Ironically, a husband cannot do what a wife can do, and wife cannot do what a husband can do. So, why need to fight?

    Pok Deng: Searching for the perfect missus. I found none since everybody is not.

    Sir Pok DEng

    Precisely! Why fight?

    Somewhere out there there is someone right for you: not perfect – just right.

  13. i sooo agree with higashi-san and elvie. having realistic expectations and giving each other breathing space do indeed take a lot of rancour out of a marriage.

    also equally important i think is to LIKE your partner. at least that’s the conclusion i’ve come to in my own union. everyone of us would agree i’m sure that it’s very tough living with someone we dislike or have grown to dislike. if everything our spouse does irritates or even angers us, no matter how much we love her/him, ours is one unbearable situation.

    the thing is, most of us are so busy being in love during the initial romantic phase, and once married busy assuming that the contract entitles us to love and be loved, that we never stopped to take stock of another equally important factor — that of also liking the person we decide to room with for the rest of our life. that’s probably what all that tiresome insistence for the other to change is all about.

    i dare say the missing ingredient in most troubled marriages is not really love, but like. betul tak?


    Wonderful perspective, ma’am. We often assume that when there is love, ‘like’ is a given. Not necessarily so, eh? Thank you for pointing this out.

    Yes, ma’am. There must be ‘like’ for a marriage to work. And of course, let’s strike out expectations yang bukan-bukan tu.

  14. My son, the answer to the riddle is very simple.

    A lot of women never outgrow playing with dolls. They just upgrade to real life people.

    Sir Cipan

    This, by far, is my favourite theory on this. Absolutely brilliant! Maybe someday women will understand that men are NOT dolls: we are a lot less compliant – and sometimes we fight back, too!

  15. i too think sir cipan has a good point, matb.

    tapi kan, on the flipside, a lot of men never outgrow main hero & perang2 [dulu jadi gi-joe, 6 m$m, koboi, etc; now transformer bot & sundry comicbook superheroes], where impossible exploits & kecederaan are all make-beliefs.

    when they upgrade that to real people, they find out that reckless exploits in real life can cause real damage – to themselves as well as to other hapless collaterals.

    perhaps some of us men and women just need to grow up! 😀


    I concur. Women do not have a monopoly on all that is bad. Likewise, not everything is right in man-dom, either. The point is – no matter which gender perpetrates it – violence (physical and/or emotional) is a no-no.

  16. Dear Sir,

    The problem of trying to change your partner is not strictly for man and woman, it’s the same if the situation is of the same gender.

    Within the 3 years I’ve been living with my partner, I realised that we’ve been trying to change each other to conform to what we think is the right way. Still doesn’t work and we’re still trying to change each other every single day 🙂

    I guess it’ll never end.

    p/s: It’s Lite FM now.

    soraya darwina

    That’s how it goes, ma’am. We sometimes try to operate too much like corporations: constantly enforcing change in a bid increase productivity. The fact remains we are human beings. Shouldn’t acceptance be enough?

    It should be. But it never is, is it?

  17. We should be smart enough never to trust the sales brochures and promotions..
    Thats why you may get better bargains from the “used” items or rather to be more politically correct “rejuvenated/reconditioned goods”.

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