Monday, May 28, 2012

"how do i change my husband?!"

you may not realize this, but on your wedding day, you actually married three men: the man you thought you were marrying, the man he actually is and the man that he is becoming, by God's grace.

every wife has a list of things she would change about her husband if she could (and same for husbands!).  often times they are just personality differences, but sometimes they are actual sin patterns or weaknesses.  when dealing with these things, we have two options: we can nag our husbands to death, or we can trust God.

the bible is pretty clear about the result of nagging:

"a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping" -proverbs 19:13

"it is better to live on the corner of the housetop that in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife" -proverbs 21:9

life experience too will tell you that nagging will only drive a wedge into your marriage and it will never fix your husband.

so if nagging isn't the answer, what does it look like to trust the Lord in this?  there are two powerful weapons we have:

pray for your husband.  when your heart is tempted to complain to or about your husband, turn your words of complaint into words of prayer for him.  in a way, its kind of fun because it is subversive.  you are going behind the enemy's back (who is tempting you to be annoyed!) and your husband's back (but in a good, loving way) tapping into the power of the most high God.  you are effecting change without anybody (but God) knowing that you are doing so.  if you are lucky you might be able to temporarily change your husbands behavior by nagging, but in prayer you can ask the Holy Spirit can change his heart, and therefore permanently change his behavior.

secondly, submit to your husband.  peter says, "likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, 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 3:1-2)  the context here is believing women married to non-believing men, but i think the same thing applies to believing husbands.   submission is an active thing, we must choose on a moment by moment basis to submit (by the power that God provides through the Holy Spirit), and God can use this submission to change our husbands.

submitting will be uncomfortable at times.  you may think "this doesn't feel right.  why won't God just change my husband already?!"  He has a plan.  and the plan is good.  and keep in mind that we can submit because it is ultimately an act of faith and trust in God, and not our husbands.  "wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord." ephesians 5:22  (and make sure to read this so that you understand what a wife's submission does NOT mean)

you will be tempted to take leadership when you think you can do better.  but wait on the Lord. if it helps, remember sarah, abraham's wife.  at first, she believed the Lord's promise to bring her and abraham a son.  after years and years of waiting, she couldn't do it anymore.  she had to take things into her own hands.  what was the result?  not God's promise.  it was ishmael, who ended up fathering a nation of people (the arabs) that continues to haunt the jewish people to this day.

are you tempted to step in where you feel like your husband or God isn't leading or providing?  maybe you want him to lead you in time in the bible each day, but he isn't so you try to force such a time each evening after dinner as he rolls his eyes.  maybe he isn't bringing in enough money through his job, so you have decided to take matters into your own hands and look for work.  maybe you want him to be more involved at church, so you sign the two of you up for volunteering.

no matter the issue, remember that God can bring something from nothing, but even our best efforts will result in nothing (or will have lasting negative effects as we cause our husbands to be bitter) when we act outside of God's revealed desire for our lives.

need some encouragement?  read this beautiful story of how God changed one woman's heart from being annoyed to serving her husband, and all the joy and blessings it has brought!

[some of these thoughts were taken from this panel discussion of pastor's wives from the recent T4G conference.  a great listen, i highly recommend it!]

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