Monday, June 5, 2017

2 Powerful Tools for Changing Your Husband

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During our pre-marital counseling, at one point our pastor said, "You can't go into marriage hoping to change your spouse." 

Apparently I pulled a face, because everyone at the table burst out laughing. I solemnly swear to this day that any face I made was completely accidental! I know technically that it is not good to marry someone you are seriously hoping will make major changes.

But if we're honest, I think most married women would admit that in certain seasons, there have been areas of our husband's life that alternately make us concerned, upset, or anxious. Our husbands are sinners {we wives are too!}, and so none of them are perfectly sanctified.




The good news is that a wife can be a powerful force for good in her husband's life {as a husband can be for his wife- this so goes both ways!}. The hard news is that the means God has ordained to make these changes are much quieter than we are naturally inclined to think, and they often seem counterintuitive.

Nagging, for example, comes naturally- but causes way more problems and usually has opposite the intended effect.

Recently I reread Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book Lies Women Believe, and at one point she discusses the misconception women have about their role in changing their husbands.

It isn't our job to change our spouse. We are only responsible for our own character and choices. God alone changes the hearts of others- we are not the Holy Spirit.

But God in His gracious providence hasn't left us without a hope when it comes to marital issues.

A wise wife may mention her concerns in a gracious and timely manner to her husband. After that, she can let the issue rest {not escalating into nagging or redundant criticism}.

Our two most powerful tools as wives are a godly example and prayer.

Many times I've observed that modeling a behavior I wish my husband would lead in ends in him eventually following suit.

I can encourage him with my words to get up early and read the Word first thing... but if I actually do it myself every morning, that's a far more powerful motivator. I could complain every time he leaves a mess in the kitchen or dirty laundry on the floor... or I can quietly keep things tidy and set the consistent example of cleaning up as I go.

"...so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." {1 Peter 3:1b-2}. 

And while sharing my concerns directly with my husband might result in a change on his part, praying about them to the God who works directly in and through my husband carries far more weight.


"Trusting Him, then, requires that I leave some things to be decided by others. I must learn to relinquish the control I might wield over somebody else if the decision properly belongs to him. I must resist my urge to manipulate him, needle and prod and pester until he capitulates. I must trust God in him, trust God to do for both of us better than I know." Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity

Prayer also sets my mind at rest and my heart at peace if the issue never resolves in the way I'd like it to.

Living a quiet, godly life and turning first and foremost to prayer when I have a concern are generally not my first impulses. But I've seen how the Lord works through them, and my desire is to honor Him in this way.

Of course it is very exciting if a godly example and simple prayer are the means God uses to effect big change in the life of my husband.

But the best work these tools accomplish is guaranteed- my own heart is always changed by them.

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