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Sunday, December 31, 2017

We Can't Change Our Husbands





As of December, I have been married to my husband for 7 years. And for most of those 7 years, I attempted to spend a great deal of time *changing him* to fit my perception of 'what a husband should be.' Not that he wasn't a great husband-- but I would try to change how he reacted to situations, how he felt about situations, his opinions, what I felt like he should be doing, etc. I would pour hours in to trying to make him be who I thought I should be-- how I wanted him to react to arguments-- what I wanted him to choose when it came to decisions. 

And guess where that got me? A whole lot of new arguments and a great deal of bitterness between the both of us.

I was living a life that displeased the Lord and on top of that-- I was arrogant and selfish. I thought I was this perfect wife with these perfect thoughts and perfect reactions and anything he did was wrong and misguided. Up until this year, I can't even remember a time where I said 'sorry.' I'm being honest-- and you can ask my husband. I'm sure he will sit down over a few cups of coffee and tell you the same thing. Our arguments would continue and he would say, 'All I want is a sorry. I don't ever hear it...' but how can you be sorry for something when you don't think you did anything wrong? 

I remember telling him one day- 'I'll be sorry when I feel like something is my fault...." 

It is heart breaking to sit back and think about.

While God has had me on this journey, one thing He keeps instilling in me is this: CHANGE AND WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF. Quit trying to change everyone else. Quit trying to control situations. Worry about you. Worry about your reactions. Worry about your words. Worry about your heart. And when you do that, I'll handle the rest.

I had to come to the end of myself.
I had to put this person that I have been to rest..
And pray that God would change my heart and put NEW within me.

Zedekiah and Judah.

In 2 Chronicles 36, we read about a man named Zedekiah. 

"Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king of Judah. He was king in Jerusalem for eleven years. Zedekiah did what the Lord his God considered evil. Jeremiah the prophet told him messages from the Lord. But Zedekiah did not humble himself and obey what Jeremiah said. Zedekiah turned against King Nebuchadnezzar. In the past Nebuchadnezzar forced Zedekiah to make a promise to be faithful to him. Zedekiah used God’s name and promised to be faithful to Nebuchadnezzar. But Zedekiah was stubborn and would not change his life. He refused to obey the Lord, the God of Israel."

Zedekiah was stubborn and would not change his life.

And soon, the city of Judah was attacked. People were killed, the temple was burned, and those that lived were brought back as slaves. 

And in verse 21, Ezra wrote, "The land of Judah became an empty desert and stayed that way for 70 years. " 

All because Zedekiah, the king of Judah, would not change his ways and follow the word of the Lord.

We could be facing the same circumstances with our marriages if we are not careful-- we could be staring at an empty marriage if we do not learn to change OUR ways.

2 Chronicles doesn't say anything about Zedekiah changing the ways of his people-- God doesn't want that. He wants US to change-- OUR hearts to change. That's the only thing we need to worry about.

A Blessed Marriage.

I spent so much time praying for my marriage- praying for my husband- praying for his heart-- and guess how much time I spent on my heart? My sins? My arrogance?

You guessed it-- zero.

I wanted the Lord to bless my marriage.. bless my husband... bless our home..

And I was sitting there like Job.

Job 34:33 says, "Job, you want God to reward you, but you refuse to change....

I refused because I didn't see anything wrong with the nature of my actions.

That is until God opened my eyes.

Not Changing...

Not changing nearly destroyed my marriage. Not fixing me nearly killed an 8-year relationship. Not realizing my errors left me with broken pieces to pick back up and try to put together.

Not changing ME started to create an atmosphere of bitterness, wrath, anger, unhappiness, and destruction.

I sat in a bed at my parent's house one night after an argument (our 15th one that week I'm sure) and once again, I felt like Job.

Job 42:6 says, "And I am ashamed of myself. I am so sorry. As I sit in the dust and ashes, I promise to change my heart and my life.” 

I sat in the dust and ashes of what was-- of what could have been. I realized my stubbornness. My unhappiness. My miserable spirit that was destroying everything I had known. Of course, I didn't see anything wrong with drinking 8 bottles of wine in a week. I didn't see anything wrong with backtalking my husband. I didn't see anything wrong with constantly yelling. I didn't see anything wrong with consistently nagging him. I didn't see anything wrong with any of it because my heart was so full of darkness and sin.

Proverbs 13:19 says, "People are happy when they get what they want. But stupid people want nothing but evil, and they refuse to change." 

I refused to change... until I realized that I desperately needed to if I wanted to keep what I had.

Praying for Me.

So from that moment on-- I began to be selfish with my prayers. I started praying for me. For my heart- for the forgiveness of my sins- for my human nature- for my relationship with my husband- for my attitude- for my actions. I prayed for it all. I put the past under the blood and asked Jesus for a fresh start.

I began praying for the fruit of the spirit to take over and push the sins of the flesh to the side. I prayed for my stubborn nature. That God would help me control my tongue. I prayed that His spirit would move within me and help me to be more like Him. I prayed for it all-- I wanted it all.

And after that, I went to my husband and apologized for what seemed like days. It felt so good to pour 'I'm sorry' from the depths of my soul.

I'm sorry for not appreciating you.
I'm sorry for being arrogant.
I'm sorry for nagging you constantly.
I'm sorry for ignoring you.
I'm sorry for not listening to your opinions.
I'm sorry for constantly yelling.
I'm sorry for being drunk every night.
I'm sorry for making you feel bad consistently.

I'm sorry for it all.

And after that, I HAD to change. I HAD to keep praying. I HAD to continue to ask God to heal my heart and heal my relationship. It was the only way up.

I read a quote on Pinterest that stated, "If you want to have a great marriage, you need to be humble enough to ask yourself, 'What changes do I need to make?' And that was the truth. We can't burden ourselves with- 'God change my spouse. God fix my spouse. God help him see the changes he needs to make...'

Our main focus should be: GOD CHANGE ME. GOD FIX ME. GOD HELP ME SEE THE CHANGES YOU ARE CALLING ME TO!!!!

And after that, our examples can speak more volumes than our nagging words.

Examples.

1 Peter 3:1-2 states, "In the same way, you wives should be willing to serve your husbands. Then, even those who have refused to accept God’s teaching will be persuaded to believe because of the way you live. You will not need to say anything. Your husbands will see the pure lives that you live with respect for God." 

Now, I'm not saying my husband did not have his own relationship with Jesus Christ-- BUT I was not living a life full of Christ which means even if he didn't have a relationship--- I wasn't showing him how beautiful it is to live a life full of God's teaching. 

I was showing him what it was like to live with a wife who was miserable and full of her own sinful nature.

And it was killing our marriage.

We should want our husbands (or anyone for that matter) to be able to know about Jesus Christ, just by being around us. We should be full of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, humbleness, faith. We shouldn't be full of anger, bitterness, lust, wrath, jealousy, arrogance, fear, evil tempers. 

It is no wonder my husband would react with anger during arguments-- I was spewing hatred and bitterness out of my mouth. It wasn't an atmosphere of respect, love, or honor. It was an atmosphere of arrogance, selfishness, and disrespect-- it was an anger-breeding atmosphere. All because I couldn't keep my mouth shut- I couldn't have a soft answer. 

What kind of example are we setting today?

Are we constantly trying to change our husbands?
Or are we constantly seeking God to change us?

The first we will never succeed at--
the second, breeds life.

It is our choice.

This Journey.

God has been leading me on a journey of growing closer to Him for 2.5 months now. It hasn't been easy, but it has been worth it and I have seen the progress my heart can make.. as well as my marriage... all because I let the old man within die and God put a new spirit within me.

I have seen an argument brewing between my husband and I-- and although it is difficult for my stubbornness at times- I have seen the beauty and peace that comes from saying sorry and having a soft, gentle spirit.

1 Peter 3:4 says, "No, your beauty should come from inside you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God." 

And Proverbs 15 says, "A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. "

It is difficult for anger to grow when a person is full of a humble, gentle, repentant spirit...

Thank You Jesus for opening my eyes to that.



I've sat and cried over and over again about the 'old me...' the wife that I have been. It breaks my heart that God trusted me with my husband and I failed him tremendously in our first years together. 

BUT.

We have a new life in Jesus Christ if we ask for it. He can change our hearts- He can fix us. He can help us wash away the darkness in our souls and He can put light in it's place. We just have to ask Him to do it.. FOR US.

We can't change our husbands. It isn't even worth worrying about. We shouldn't burden ourselves with that heavy task. What we can do is seek the face of God and pray that He changes us! That He changes the way we react to situations. That He changes our attitude and our spirit. That He helps us remain calm during arguments or difficult situations. That He helps us to keep our eyes from rolling when our husbands speak. That He helps us guard our tongues from a nagging spirit. That He gives us a repentant heart-- a heart that offers sorry (even when it is a struggle.)

We can change us.

And there is so much beauty in that.

God, let this be our prayer today. Change us so that our relationships can grow in You. Help us to be so full of You that it is overflowing out of our hearts and our words. Help us to rely on You to be the best version of ourselves for our husbands. And forgive us when we fall short. Amen.

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