I was listening to a podcast by Hope Community Church on my way to work Tuesday morning. (As an aside, I love the messages this pastor shares – wow! I hope you decide to give him a listen on the website or on iTunes.) Near the end of his talk, the pastor comments that he mistakenly spent the first ten years of his marriage trying to change his wife and the past fifteen years trying to change himself to be the husband his wife deserves.
How many of us are guilty of wanting our spouse to change?
We’ve all heard the jokes and stories about women trying to change their men. We’ve heard our friends say, “If I had known that before we got married…” Or, “One day, he’ll learn…” Or lamenting, “He’ll never change…”
We read about an ALI community member whose spouse perfectly supports her through treatment or loss, who never drops the ball physically or emotionally, and we wish we could have her spouse or at least have him give ours lessons.
How many of us have ever prayed, “God, change him…”?
It’s not just women talking about change, either. Husbands become disillusioned, too, and want their wives to change. But, no matter who it originates with, it still comes down to the same thing: pride.
I have to admit that I spent a good portion of my first marriage trying to change my husband or angry when change didn’t happen. Now, some of these expectations were reasonable and conductive to a healthier marriage but I was approaching it with pride.
Whether I consciously knew it or not, I was communicating my to him, "I deserve a better spouse and your character/action is denying me of that right."
Do you hear the selfishness in that statement? Do you hear the anger?
Do you hear any love?
What I failed to realize is that I was approaching it the wrong way.
In listening to the podcast on Tuesday, God clearly showed me what the prayer should be:
Lord, make me the wife that he needs. Amen.
Please understand that I’m not talking about a sneaky way to change your spouse or how to bend God to your will. Far from it! In praying the above prayer, what you are really saying is “Lord, change me.”
Wow! What a revelation! Ask God to show me the many ways that He has made my husband special. Teach me how to love my husband the way he needs to be loved. Help me to support him in a way that honors You.
Because here’s the truth: God made my spouse who he is. He is God’s precious creation. So loving my husband means that, in addition to everything else (sharing of household responsibilities, mutual emotional and financial support, raising of children, and intimacy), I want him to be continually growing into the man God created him to be.
For that to happen, he needs me to be the wife God designed for him.
Did God design me to be a wife of love or of pride? That lifts up or tears down? That expresses displeasure or thankfulness? That shows anger or grace? Who nags or who prays?
Lord, mold me into the wife that you designed for R. Amen.