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How to Change a Man January 25, 2014

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Debi Smith, marriage, research, stonewalling, understanding men.

change_a_manThe real, scientific definition of reinforcement is anything that increases the likelihood that a target behavior will occur again.

In our case, the target behavior is anything that he does that makes us feel loved, cared for, and respected.

And reinforcement can be positive or negative. So at least in theory, both types of reinforcement increase the likelihood that the target behavior will occur again.

Negative reinforcement means that something unpleasant is taken away. For example, whenever you take an aspirin (target behavior) to deal with a headache, your headache will go away (negative reinforcement). Therefore, the next time a headache hits, it’s more likely that you’ll take an aspirin again … because doing so the last time resulted in negative reinforcement. Or your man finally takes out the trash (target behavior), and your constant nagging goes away (negative reinforcement). So – at least in theory – the next time you start nagging, it’s more likely he’ll take out the trash because the last time resulted in negative reinforcement. But, that last example backfires sometimes, doesn’t it? He may just learn to tune you out, which also ends the nagging … and your relationship as you would like it to be.

I don’t know about you, but headaches and nagging are not what I would want my man to have fresh on his mind whenever he thinks of me!

Reinforcement can also be positive in that something can be added, such as your “thank you” or your smile. He does something nice. You smile and say, “Thank you.” Through positive reinforcement, you just increased the likelihood that he’ll do something nice again.

So he does something nice yet again. So you smile and say, “Thank you.” Now we’ve really got something good going!

In reality, that’s the way it was in the beginning of your relationship. But most of us stop saying “Thank you” and begin to expect – rather than hope for and appreciate – good things from our guys.

Yes, it really is that easy to change a man … for the better. But it took me years – and the advice of one great guy – to be able to put two and two together. I am a blonde, after all. If I’d only paid attention sooner I could have figured it out way back when I was completing all those undergraduate studies. And I could have skipped grad school altogether …

This material is protected by Copyright. Excerpt from HOME IMPROVEMENT, Dance With Me © Dr. Debi Smith
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