I admit it. I tried:
- Pointing out faults
- Trying to show him how it’s done
- Explaining why he needs to change
You know what?
Those techniques don’t work!
I noticed my husband bristling and resisting my attempts to change him. He didn’t say anything, but he’d clench his jaw and get quiet.
I finally understood that a Christian helpmeet isn’t another mother. My husband married me so that I could be his wife! (He already had a mother.)
So, listen carefully, and I’ll give you some hints for how to change your husband—or not—in the right way.
Let me explain first. There are some things that will never change.
You may not like the way he throws his socks across the room every night, for example. (No, not my husband; it's just an illustration.) Your husband balls them up and pitches them across the bedroom every single night. It drives you crazy! Every time you hear the soft thuds, you want to strangle him. Every night, it makes you madder and madder. Every morning you pick up the sock-balls and fume, mumbling nastiness under your breath.
How can you change his obnoxious, bothersome habit? By changing you.
Get real. You have a husband with a unique way of dealing with his socks. Instead of getting angry, laugh when you hear him tossing them across the room. (After all, a flying sock won’t do much damage!) In the morning, when you pick them up, thank God you have your husband. Thank the Lord you always know where to find his socks. Thank God you have a husband.
Yes, I know this is a goofy way to look at a problem, but it works. The attitude that needs changing is yours. Your husband is perfectly at home with his sock-throwing habit. He has always thrown his socks, and he always will. Does it hurt anything? No. Does it matter? No. So, enjoy his idiosyncrasies. They are part of who he is.
“Oh,” you might say, “I’m not talking about socks. There are many more important things he needs to change.”
Yep. No man is perfect, and each one has some important things he needs to change. (So do we, by the way.) So, what’s a wife to do?
We already know what doesn’t work: reminding, nagging, pointing out, and getting mad. So, what really does work?
Drum roll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
- Prayer—Ask God to deal in his heart about whatever you think really needs changing. (After all, the only real change in any person comes from the heart.) God has a way of teaching lessons a whole lot more effectively than we can. So, let God do it. For this cause we also . . . do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:9-11).
- Sweetness—A man turns off to a squawking woman. A man whose wife is sweet and treats him with kindness will magically respond. It’s amazing what a lovely tone of voice, sweetness, and a pretty appearance will do for a husband. It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman (Proverbs 21:9, 19). On the positive side, we have the example of the Virtuous Woman: She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Proverbs 31:26).
- Unconditional love—When we vowed to “love and cherish” at the altar, it was for “better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others.” (Surely, sock-ball throwing should be in there, somewhere!) Whatever we ended up with when we said those vows, our husband is the person we swore before God and witnesses to love forever. It’s our sacred duty. Learn his love language and love him so that he feels your love. . . . to love their husbands (from Titus 2:4).
So, the next time your husband balls up a sock—or uses the wrong fork, or spits or scratches in public—laugh. Forget it. Don’t let it bother you.
The next time you observe your husband’s real flaw, pray. Tell the Lord about it, and leave it there. Let God teach him.
The next time your husband is within reach, shower him with love.
. . . And, cook his favorite meal.
Note: This post is about annoying habits and character flaws. This isn’t about handling abusive behavior. If you are being abused or are in danger from your husband, leave the house and report it to the authorities.