In the movie Superman II, Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to marry Lois Lane.  The problem here is that Lois fell in love with Superman, not Clark Kent.  Do you guys remember the diner scene right after Superman changes for Lois?  He gets beat up by a trucker.  As he realizes he’s bleeding for the first time, Lois says, “I want the man I fell in love with” to which he responds, “I know, Lois – I wish he were here".

This unsettling scene shows us what can happen when we try to change others or ask them to change for us.  Although it’s an extreme example, can you relate to the situation?

One professional athlete that I spoke with said that everything his wife complains about today is exactly what she loved about him when they met.  He said that she is pressuring him to retire early, as she wants him to be home with her and the kids.  “Being married to a player can be lonely,” he said, “but this is the life we agreed on and now she’s changing the rules”.

I can see both sides to this.  On one hand, yes, she did agree to this particular lifestyle before getting married and should honor her commitment.  On the other hand, no one can truly know how he or she will feel in a situation until they are actually in it.

From the outside looking in, we put the profession of an athlete on a pedestal.  Within the relationship, it's one job affecting two people. Both individuals are allowed to have their own desires and personal goals. To the observer, because we place so much importance on professional sports, the seemingly obvious choice is to "step aside and support your man until he's finished playing". In reality though, she may have her own ambitions and want to pursue a passion that’s hers or both of theirs – not just his.

So, how do they resolve this?  If he retires early to appease her, like Superman, will he change into someone he’s not and as a result, resent her?  Or, like Lois Lane, will she find herself saying, “I want the man I fell in love with”?

This predicament doesn’t just apply to superheroes and professional athletes.  We are all susceptible to these dilemmas and the temptation to try to change people.  I think sometimes we feel entitled or like we have some sort of ownership or control over our partners which allows us to think and feel this way.  Love is about appreciation though, not ownership, right?  So, the only logical resolution I can think of is for us to focus solely on changing and bettering ourselves.  Doing so is infectious and I think we’ll find that the better we are, the better the people are around us.

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