MARRIAGE: THE As-Zs OF NEVERS:
C-CHANGE (Trying to Change the Husband)
The most important gift from God is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ made possible by a growing spiritual life. Only through the spiritual life is the believer able to have an active and thriving relationship with Jesus Christ and a truly Christ-centered life and marriage. For the married woman, God’s next most important gift is her marriage. It is a relationship God creates and honors. As she responds to her husband in the way God means her to, she can expect God to bless her. However, if she sets out to build her marriage on her own machinations, she will live in marital frustration rather than marital bliss. One common problem area for many wives is the attempt to change her husband. Any time a Christian wife is tempted to try to change her husband, she should pause and reflect on just how out of line such an activity is with what the Word of God teaches. The idea that a wife is to change her husband goes against every single passage in the Bible on marriage.
Apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ, marriage is indeed the greatest gift on earth. However, like any great blessing there are adjustments and challenges. When you get married you get something new and something old. After the exchange of “I dos,” when you begin to unwrap your package (no pun intended), the gift often turns out to be a surprise. Some even discover that they married the wrong person. It is important to realize that, even though you did not know exactly what you were getting, God did. The wonderful thing for the doctrinal believer is the confidence in knowing that God will take all things and work them out for good, as long as he puts God first (Rom 8:28). God can use the very thing in your husband that you dislike the most to advance you and mold you into the image of Christ. God’s will is for you to settle down to a lifetime of enjoying the gift you promised to honor and cherish.
Through spiritual growth, the Christian wife increasing learns to accept others, including her husband, by reflecting on how Christ accepts her (Rom 5:8). God loves and accepts her unconditionally. She understands that she is not on probation with Him. Unconditional love and acceptance, then, should be the basis of any marriage.
At times you may feel that it is asking too much of you to accept your husband as he is. But I guarantee that as you begin to accept him, you will develop a more meaningful relationship with him because both of you will have the freedom you need to thrive and mature.
When you accept your husband the way he is, you will give him the freedom to be the man he wants to be. He will have the freedom to come and go as he pleases and to make his own decisions. In other words, true love is letting go! Your husband will love you freely as he did when he chose to marry you unless you stifle that love with your possessiveness. As you love your husband unconditionally – without demands and ultimatums – you will see him drawn to you like steel to a magnet.
As the wife is consistently in fellowship with God, the Holy Spirit produces in her God’s dynamic love (Gal 5:22). This divine love is described in 1 Cor 13:4-7: love endures long… is patient and kind…never envious nor jealous, does not insist on its own rights or ways, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful…it takes no account of the evil done to it... pays no attention to a suffered wrong….it does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness…love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is every ready to believe the best…its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances and it endures everything (without weakening). What a difference the spiritual life can make on any marriage!
The basis for carnal wife’s discontentment and inability is her ignorance of Bible doctrine or refusal to use it. Instead of living in God’s expectations of her, she lives in discontentment because her husband does not measure up as he fails to meet “her” goals and ideals. When he fails to live up to her expectations, she is hurt, irritated, disappointed, and becomes self-absorbed and disoriented to reality. The wife must learn to stop setting goals for her husband and stop expecting him to be who he is not. The wife who does not put her spiritual life first will find herself with a void and emptiness that she will expect her husband to fill – therefore making the situation even more frustrating.
It may seem only right for the wife to help her husband change attitudes, traits, and actions that are making her unhappy. But all well-meaning efforts are not only unbiblical, they communicate to him, “I do not love or respect you as you are. I want you to be different.” This will create resentment. It is natural for a man to want his wife to be proud, not ashamed of him. When she is not, he is tempted to become embittered against her (Col 3:9). It is hard for any man to live a healthy, masculine, satisfying life when he is constantly on trial by his wife.
God never gave the wife the job of convicting her husband of sin or his shortcomings. That is the work of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:8-11; 1 Pet 3:1-2). The wife was never appointed to be the husband’s mother – to correct and train him. When the wife develops an attitude of “correcting” him, communication breaks down in such an atmosphere of non-acceptance. Why should he communicate if he is likely to hear from his wife about what “he should have done”? Why should he confide in a wife about how he feels about things if she is likely to be critical or ridicule and belittle him?
Again, don’t try to change your husband by demanding your own way. Though you may feel you have succeeded in some area when he gives in, he may just want to keep peace in the household. Over a period of time, your domineering attitude has a way of destroying his personal love for you. You may win a few battles, but you will lose the war. Forfeiting a beautiful, fulfilling marital relationship is not worth the temporary “success.” Most women know this intuitively. Only arrogance thinks it is worth the fight.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
For more information on marriage with its interrelationships and responsibilities go to http://fbcweb.org/Doctrines.html