By Alisha Headley, Crosswalk.com
Have you ever tried changing your husband?
Whether it’s in a big way or in what you consider a simple small thing that you feel he should so easily change. I think most of us have tried to change our husband in some form or fashion.
From wanting him to help clean up after himself more, or hoping he would show you more appreciation for all your efforts you do for him and your family on a daily basis. Or perhaps we try to change our husbands pushing them to plan more date nights or lead your family in the way you think he should as a Christian husband.
Maybe he isn’t Christian at all, so you are hoping he will change into that God-loving husband. Are you hanging on to the hopes that your husband will change yet no matter how many times you try to talk to him in kind ways, respectful ways, and sometimes in manipulative or angry ways, nothing seems to work to get him to change?
What if you could change your husband without saying a word? Yes, without a single word.
1 Peter 3:1-2 says, “wives…be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”
This is a profound verse. Paul is encouraging us telling us that we can win our husband over without even saying a word. As a woman, not saying much, let alone no words at all, might be one of the most difficult things I struggle with.
What if as wives, we began to talk less to our husbands about them changing, and instead began talking it all out with God first?
Instead of nagging to our husbands to change this or that, we started nagging God. Instead of wrestling with our husbands over the same thing over and over and seeing little to no change at all, we start wrestling it all out with God.
Here are 4 things to focus on.
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1. Stop Wrestling with Your Husband, and Start Wrestling God
One thing that has completely turned any sort of chaos or seasons of fighting in my marriage to seasons of complete peace is when I began wrestling with God rather than wrestling my husband.
I challenge you--what if you took everything, and I mean EVERYTHING to the throne of the cross FIRST before ever discussing it with your husband? That you go to God in prayer as your first resort, not your last resort. You’ll notice that it’s hard to stay focused on the thing you want your husband to change when you begin to talk to the One who made your husband in the first place.
Your heart begins to soften, and you begin to see your husband, the way His Maker sees Him. As you begin praying about your husband to change, often times, it will become less about him, and more about you, as God does a change in your heart first.
When any frustration, big or small, any offense that comes up, we have a choice to pick it up or leave it with God. Matthew 6:6 teaches us, go to a private place between you and God and wrestle it out with Him for “when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to the Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done, will reward you.” He wants to hear from you. Rather than unleash it all onto your husband, unleash it to God.
Jesus was our greatest example of this as He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). Prayer is by far the most powerful weapon we have to changing our husbands.
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2. You Do the Praying, Let God Do the Changing
The more you step out of God’s way, the more He can begin a work in your husband. Step away from trying to change him and begin to pray instead. The best remedy we have to cure ourselves from being a wife wanting our husbands to change, is to be a wife of prayer.
Our greatest role as wives is to trust God with our husbands and cover them in prayer, and then let God do the changing.
Talking about the growth of the church, Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 3:6 how "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow." We can plant and we can water, but spiritual growth is ultimately up to God. We humans cannot force it, especially upon someone else.
I’m sure you’ve learned by now, that no matter how hard we try to change our husbands in our power, it hasn’t work thus far. And that’s because in my power is not enough. You can try and try over again to mold your husband in our own power and leave yourself exhausted.
Or you can put that effort into your prayer life, and then let God do the hard changing. We need to depend on God’s power and plug into the source Himself.
And even if we don’t see change soon, or even if at all, we can trust that God is still in control. God is still good to us no matter what.
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3. Accept Your Husband EVEN IF He Never Changes
Your husband will not change overnight. And perhaps, he might not change at all.
Will you trust God enough to accept that EVEN IF your husband doesn’t change, you will still trust that God is in control?
A beautiful story in the Bible depicts this even if statement in Daniel 3:8-30 where King Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone to worship the gods and images he created. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused to worship his gods, He became angry and said he would throw them into a burning fiery furnace. In verse 18, they replied to the King, saying “the God we serve is able to deliver us from the fire, but EVEN IF He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
They trusted in God to pull them out of the burning furnace. But trusted that EVEN IF God didn’t pull them out, that God was still in control and they will continue to serve him trusting His plan.
The reason we try to change our husbands is oftentimes correlated to our lack of trust in God. We don’t fully trust Him with what He is doing or not doing; therefore, we try to control and change our husbands ourselves.
Accepting who your husband is today, right now, without any changes, is accepting that God is in control. What if your husband today is the exact same husband he is on the day you take your last breath here on earth? What if all the love you give him, forgiveness you show him, your chaste conduct you exemplify for him has an effect of change on him later in life? Or not at all.
Will you still trust God?
It’s not our job to change our husband. But you have a starring role as his wife being a prayer warrior for him.
Every seed you plant, every offense you don’t pick up, every time you decide to wrestle your frustration out on God, and not your husband, your are planting seeds in your husband who is observing your behavior without a word.
And you may not see the change in him TODAY, but those seeds are planted in there, and God is doing a work. Remember--EVEN IF we don’t see it today, later, or in our lifetime, God is always working (John 5:17).
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4. Remember That Nothing, Absolutely Nothing, Is Impossible for God
I don’t know where you are today. Perhaps, you need God to do a work on you rather than on your husband.
Or perhaps, your husband is so far gone walking in sin, checked out, and he appears to have given up on your marriage not wanting to make any changes for improvement.
Friends, don’t give up, please keep on praying. Nothing is to hard for God. Nothing is too far gone. No person is too far lost. For “Nothing is impossible for God” (Luke 1:37). Absolutely nothing.
In Ezekiel 37:1-10, God took a bunch of old dried-up bones and brought them back to life: “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
God took that valley of dry bones and raised a vast army. Now, tell me, is there anything in your life too hard for a God like this?
And what is so amazing about a God who can do anything, is that when he chooses to not do what we ask, we can know with absolute certainty that it isn't because he couldn't, it isn't because he didn't care, it isn't because he didn't hear you. It's because he was doing what was best for you, out of love. Every time.
Stop doing all the hard work trying to change your husband. Start praying and let God do the changing. Both in you, and your husband.
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