Sometimes in marriage, it’s easier to spot the speck in our spouses eye than the log in our own.
We are particularly gifted at it as earlywed wives – laser focus on his problems, lesser focus on our own.
We don’t see how our response to “his problem” affects our hearts and the condition of our marriage.
I was once a gold-star-level problem-spotter.
I could pray and agonize about my husbands issues, with very little focus on my own.
I remember one day praying and crying for God to change Tommy’s unrelenting heart (I used some other more elaborate words) without really pausing to ask myself how I came to that conclusion…that he was hard and unrelenting
I had been trying to make him yield and relent.
Infact I’d become his god, wanting him to do certain things in certain ways, pegging my happiness on his ability to be a certain way.
No man or woman wants to be the center of such intense mis-focus and so the last thing Tommy was feeling like doing was change.
If he will only change..
If you like entertaining thoughts such as “when my husband finally gets it right, our marriage will be fine“, I bet you it’s time for a little mind makeover.
Obviously your husband has a role to play for marriage to thrive.
You can’t create a lasting happily-ever-after all by yourself.
But I am saying that statements such as above reveal our tendency to shift the blame and our determination to avoid responsibility.
Sure he may have a problem but your reaction/response to the problem will either aggravate the situation or help you move towards a solution.
In other words, it’s possible to minimize “his” problem by not creating extra issues through reactions, instead of responses.
Doesn’t matter who started it
In my few years of marriage, I have been learning that no matter what we are going through as a couple (or who started it) God’s first stop is my heart.
Doesn’t matter what my husband did or didn’t do. God doesn’t begin by fixing my husband.
He’s not moved by my tears, or how much I am hurting or the raucous I am causing.
He cares of course.
But He shows His care differently; by starting from my inside, not the inside of my husband.
I have been learning that I can’t always tell what God is doing in my husband’s heart.
Sometimes the harder God is working in him, the more he becomes a little worse 🙂 (Same with me).
So we can’t wait for outside change to manifest before making personal changes and adjustments of our own.
You can’t change him..but
It’s easy to read this statement – “you can’t change your husband” – and think “of course I get that”.
It’s much harder when you have a situation in your hands and are trying to figure a way forward.
When you are in the thick of things, just pause. Don’t rush with the flow. Don’t assume you know everything.
Give grace. Believe something greater about your husband.
Author Jennifer Smith, referring to Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith (is) seeing your husband as God sees him.”
Resist the temptation to play God and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.
Remember that we experience lasting change and solutions as we begin to allow God to change us, even in imperfect situations, where we feel unfairly treated.
If God can reach your heart, He can reach your situation.
If He can reach and teach you obedience and trust and loving your husband, even when he’s unlovable, He can change things.
Obviously there’s a place for speaking hard truths and pursuing peace, not merely the absence of conflict. That’s part of marriage and is expected of you as his ezer kenegdo.
But all that springs from first taking responsibility for your self and marriage and quitting the blame game.
So today let’s be challenged, let’s take some responsibility.
Let’s quit waiting on our husbands to change before we obey the Lord.
Dan Black says
“When you commit to personal change, it sets a good example to your spouse. The key is to set the example, be the change you wish to see in your spouse”
Question: What changes are you willing to make in your relationship today?