One of my relatives recently left her husband (again) and my sister and I were discussing the situation. I feel like our relative should divorce him already and cut her losses. My sister feels like our relative hasn't yet tried everything and should give him another chance to change his behavior. I said to my sister that I don't believe people change.
I don't believe that people can fundamentally change who they are. My sister agrees with that, but she does think that people can change their behavior. In the case of our relative, and in most marriages, if one spouse has left before and been fed up before, the douchey spouse saying he is really going to change this time seems like it is just a ploy because he knows she'll stay if he pretends. If he was really willing to change - if it was part of his fundamental nature to do so - he would have already done so.
This is what my sister says about it:
I believe whole-heartedly in the capacity for regeneration of the human heart. The difference is that while our personalities are fixed from conception, our behaviors are learned and can therefore be unlearned or retrained. I do concede that apart from love, grace and forgiveness, it is an exercise in futility. One has to want to change and be willing to do the work to go after it.
In the case presented, if the parties involved are willing to admit their own part in the situation, forgive one hundred percent of the other person's part and move forward with love and grace. There is no damage (and I mean none) that cannot be repaired and restored to an even greater level than before.
What do you think? Can people change?