The Fairy Tale Marriage
When many of us get married we expect marital bliss. Romantic date nights and all the intimacy a gal can handle are experiences to look forward to. But all too soon you realize the man you married hasn’t held up his end of the bargain by making you feel loved, wanted, and cherished. He actually annoys you more than anything else.
In fact, he may have some skeletons in his closet screaming to come out. Unfortunately, your Prince Charming isn’t so charming after all.
So what do you do? You begin nagging him about his shortcomings and tearing him into pieces with hateful words and actions. Ask yourself, how effective is my tactic and has it yielded the results I want?
Most likely your method isn't very effective. If you are serious about changing your husband for the better and improving your marriage then keep reading.
I would like to add I'm giving solutions on how to change some of your husband's more serious behaviors that contradict God’s word, not trivial matters i.e, leaving the toilet seat up or drinking out of the family orange juice carton.
Men and Women are Wired Differently
I know this isn’t anything new, but accept the fact men and women are wired differently. Each sex has innate qualities and traits. And to be honest, I’m glad that we do.
Can you imagine spending the rest of your life married to someone who is your carbon copy? It sounds great initially, but when you begin evaluating your personal flaws, faults, fears, struggles, and insecurities it isn't so great after all, is it?
It’s similar to having all of your shortcomings as a mirror image. You eat with that image, talk to that image, sleep with that image, go through day to day with that image. When you are weak in one area, your carbon copy of a husband is also weak. So neither one of you can help the other — makes for a stressful marriage, huh?
From personal experience having a husband who is opposite me has benefited my relationship, but when it comes to salvation we are on one accord.
I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I fell weak in faith and my husband was there to lift me up. Or the times I succumbed to pride and thought I knew it all and he schooled me on a few things. Or better yet, when I held closed minded views and he gave me new perspectives.
You see, I don’t want nor need a husband who is exactly like me. Yes, sharing common ground is important, but having differences is just as vital. I thank God He wired men and women differently.
So it's natural to have opposing view points, various levels of strengths and weaknesses, behaviors, and different desires, needs, and wants. But let's not allow those differences to cause us to nag or badger our husband. Trust me, at times we annoy them too.
It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
...Don't be that woman.
We are made to compliment one another and that’s how it should be. God has given both men and women unique purposes and missions in life. Besides, I would go plum crazy, as my mom would express, if I were married to my own clone. How creepy.
Building a new man
Have you ever fallen in love with a man only to create a laundry list of changes for him to consider? Were you optimistic that someday he will become the man you’ve dreamed of? I know I have and every time I attempted to build a new man my blue print let me down.
Think about it ladies, we are not the creator of man therefore; how dare we attempt to change our husbands without involving God. And I say that cautiously because in essence it is God who changes a man’s heart and His will if He chooses to do so. Who knows our husband better than He who created him?
So let's pick our battles and not sweat the small stuff. We are given the authority to judge and reprove righteously. And we should, but we must use wisdom in doing so and have it come from a place of love, not anger.
The Dirty Dozen
Oh yes, I'm about to go deeper now. This is going to get a bit uncomfortable for some of you, but because I love you I’m going to share a few pieces of wisdom anyhow. I don’t want you to be deceived by your carnal desires of creating the perfect husband any longer. He doesn't exist.
Here are a few personal questions you should ask yourself before hounding your husband about how he needs to change.
- Do you battle spirits of pride, self-centeredness, and or vanity in any areas of your life?
- Do you use your children as pawns in your marriage?
- Do you use manipulation in any way in your marriage to get what you want?
- Do you withhold sex and or intimacy in your marriage to punish your husband?
- Do you lash out at your husband in anger even over the smallest of things?
- Are you fully obedient to your husband in ALL areas of your marriage?
- Have you ever let your husband down before?
- Have you thought about leaving your husband during difficult times?
- Have you lusted after another man, even once in your marriage?
- Are you completely honest with your husband 100% of the time?
- Do you tear down your husband with unkind, unloving words?
- Have you communicated with an ex in secret while married?
I’m confident enough to say there isn’t a single wife who can’t relate to doing at least one of these things. If you can’t relate now trust me, if you're married long enough you will slip up or at least be tempted.
The whole point of asking the Dirty Dozen is to point out we wives do not have it all together nor will we ever. So, why do we expect our husbands to live up to our unrealistic expectations when we ourselves are in constant battle over our flesh?
Should we strive for perfection in Christ. Absolutely, but no matter how hard we try we will always come short of the glory. If you're not putting forth genuine effort in bettering your relationship you are a hypocrite by expecting your husband to do the same.
Ouch! I know hypocrite is a harsh word, but we must be honest with ourselves. This is something to think about when demanding our husbands to change trivial matters.
Lead by example
If there are non-trivial areas in your husband’s life that sincerely need changing then the change may have to begin with you, not him. Yes, you read right! This statement may baffle some, but you may be the one who has to initiate the change first. Let’s look at what the bible has to say:
1 Peter 3:1-7
1Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
7Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
We don’t change our husband by throwing in his face all his shortcomings day in and day out. Using phrases like: you’re a sorry man, I hate you, I wish I married someone else, if we divorce I’m taking the kids, you can’t do anything right, you can’t provide for this family, you’re an idiot, you’re a b***h, etc. will only break your husband down, not build him up.
If the tables were turned you would run to anyone that would listen to you explaining how your husband is emotionally and verbally abusing you.
Those phrases come from the enemy, not Yeshua and the sooner you recognize the source the sooner you’ll begin rebuking them before they come out of your mouth. Here are a few bible verses to consider:
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
How can you convince or win a person over if you offend them? What you are doing is encouraging them to feel anger and or resentment towards you which keeps them in bondage and resistant to change.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
No wonder so many marriages are failing. There is an insurmountable amount of negativity and death being spoken around the home. The grim reaper is now a house guest and is gorging himself on your hurtful words and is ready to strike with his sickle. Don't invite him in by speaking death over your marriage. Always, always speak life!
You now recognize you may have a problem with your actions and words and your husband needs changing. Now how do you fix this? Lift your concerns and prayers up to your Heavenly Father and ask Him to change your heart first.
When the Holy Spirit convicts you of your shortcomings and you begin to repent and change your carnal ways you are given a new perspective on your marriage. You’ll begin to distinguish between the critical matters that need changing and the matters that are trivial.
I know it’s hard to digest and to put into practice, but this is the best way. This is the perfect time to swallow your pride. Just as 1 Peter 3:1 says, Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives, the change starts with you through your actions and words.
If your husband is not living up to God’s expectation win him over by walking in Christ and loving him harder.
As my husband says, trust the process not cuss it. It may take some time for him to change and I’m talking about years, but that’s God’s responsibility, not yours. Trust me Yahweh hears your earnest, faithful prayers. Only He can melt or soften your husband’s heart. You can't do it solely on your accord.
And if he doesn’t change continue to love him faithfully just as your Heavenly Father loves you when you fall short. It is he who has to answer to God for his disobedience and lack of husbandship (I made that word up), not you. Remember, you made a covenant with your husband before God and it's a serious thing to break. Hang in there. Don't give up.
The solution to changing your husband's behavior is no different from raising children. You want your children to change, then you must lead by example. Don't be a hypocrite, children can smell one a mile away and so can your husband.
We lead by example when we put on Christ every single day and showing obedience and love towards our husband despite his faults. We don't repay evil with evil, we repay evil with love – there's no justification in going tit for tat. It will never work and will leave you frustrated. Trust me I know from experience.
And as your husband continues to leave his dirty socks on the bathroom floor, remember men and women are wired differently. While you think it’s disgusting, he’s thinking, well at least they’re not on the kitchen floor. And remember, don't sweat the small stuff.
This post was written specifically for wives, but I assure you husbands can take the same approach as well.
––Call to Action––
I challenge you to read Stormie Omartian’s book: The Power of a Praying Mom 3 in 1 Collection and specifically The Power of a Praying Wife within this collection. The Power of a Praying Wife opened my eyes to what God says about changing our husbands. It was life changing, literally.
*Disclaimer I am not way affiliate with Stormie Omartian or her books. These are my unbiased, personal recommendations.