Wives, You Won’t Save Your Marriage By Trying to Change Him

save your marriage

Compromise and changes of heart can solve many of the times we are at odds with our spouse. But what about the times when they can’t? I’ve experienced some of these heart-wrenching, terrifying times in my marriage. I want to share what we did that has enabled us to be closer and more committed than ever. Hopefully these can help you save your marriage from unnecessary stress.

My husband and I have been married for 25 years. We have had a lot of disagreements. The vast majority of them we have been able to resolve. I wanted to build a house with a lot of windows. He wanted to build a house with far fewer windows to save money. So we bought a house that was already built.

#1 Stop trying to change him, it won’t help you save your marriage.

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It’s hard not to try to get your husband to stop storing the dirty salmon-caked broiler pan in the oven where it creates a Richter-scale stench by the time you discover it. In truth, I’m still trying to stop my husband from doing this!

But when all your explaining, pleading, threats, bargaining, and tears have been for naught with an issue that is vital to you, I advise you to stop trying to change him. Author Michael Wells tells us that when we try to change people, we are taking on the role of God without the power of God. No wonder we are so frustrated and exhausted! We may as well be attempting to part the Red Sea with our own hands. It isn’t that we can’t get our spouses to ever make changes; it’s that when we have reached the limits of our own strength and it still isn’t resolved, that we have to stop. The Bible pities the man who lives with a nagging woman and exhorts us to win an unbelieving husband without a word.

When we relent in our efforts to change our husbands, the disagreement may be resolved. This is true, even when we don’t change our minds. Sometimes in our disagreements we are presenting ourselves as superior. Our position is an unstated attack on our husband’s intelligence, faith, or character. The more we seek to change our husbands in this case, the more stubborn they will become. He may not even care about the issue at odds, but he cares about not being controlled and not having his value called into question. Ceasing efforts to change him can communicate that you love him more than your position in the disagreement. We can encourage this view by continuing to be loving, even though we disagree. If that seems impossible, I get it. Read on.

#2 Believe that God can change him and that will help save your marriage.

I would dearly love to know what Sarah thought of Abraham’s plan to have her lie and say she was his sister. Maybe she agreed because she didn’t want anything to happen to her husband. I doubt once she was in Pharaoh’s harem that she thought it was a great idea. Sarah had many opportunities to disagree with Abraham and not to trust him. Yet the Bible tells us that she submitted to him and called him lord.

In my disagreements with my husband that couldn’t be resolved, I didn’t want to submit. In fact, I thought God had called us in one direction and my husband didn’t agree. Truth be told, I thought I was the one with the direct line to the Almighty. I felt I was trusting God with the faith of Abraham. But while I trusted hearing directly from God, I didn’t trust hearing from Him via my husband. At all.

Yes, I believed God could use and speak through a pagan like Abraham, a fisherman like Peter, and even a murderer like Paul, but not my husband. Yet I thought I was the one with a stronger faith!

The God of Abraham, Peter, and Paul has the power to not only speak to us through our husbands but to change them. We have to believe that or we will continue in vain to try to change our husbands in our own strength. Think about it. If the Lord is essentially siding with us, He will change our husbands’ position with no help from us. I think He would love for us to get out of His way. Sarah reaped the consequences of trying to make God’s will happen with her help. We have to trust God to work, he will be the one to save your marriage.

After we had our fourth child, I dearly wanted another. I talked about it a lot, but we were in a standoff. My husband didn’t want another baby. I did. Finally, I told him I wouldn’t keep bringing it up, but would bring it to the Lord. He laughed and said he was in trouble then. I was true to my word and prayed, letting the discussion drop. Some months later, my husband gave me a Valentine’s card. In it he wrote that my gift was another baby. Had I continued in my efforts to change my husband, we would have had conflict and stress. I would have missed what today is one of the best moments in my marriage — his change of heart.

#3 Trust God to change you, not just change him and that will help save your marriage.

Praying for your husband’s change of heart is a good thing to do. But God does not always answer our prayers.

Some years later, my husband and I had a disagreement that could not be resolved. I did everything I could to change his mind. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed for a change of heart. And then he made the decision that wasn’t what I wanted. I was devastated. I honestly felt let down by both God and my husband.

I remember telling God that while I wouldn’t divorce my husband, I knew I couldn’t be happy in my marriage again. Melodramatic? Yep. But it’s how I felt at the time. The pain I felt was so intense. I had fully expected God to change my husband’s mind. When he didn’t, I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t going to change my mind. I was sure of that. My husband was wrong; I was right.

But then I prayed for something entirely different. I prayed for peace and for the pain in my heart to go away. I didn’t know how I could go on in my marriage otherwise.

The very next day my prayer was answered. Nothing had changed but me. I still thought I was right and my husband was wrong. But I had a peace I couldn’t explain. Not only that, but I had compassion and love for my husband once again. I haven’t revisited the decision and been angry or weepy.

I now see that, right or wrong, the Lord used my husband’s decision to grow my faith. I learned to trust God even when my prayers aren’t answered. I learned to ask not just for what I want but what I need, which is Him. He is the One who gives me the fruit of the spirit — more precious by far than anything else I could pray for.

Conclusion

If you and your husband can’t resolve a disagreement, stop trying to change him, it won’t save your marriage. You don’t have the power to do the job. The real work you need to do is believe that God has the power to change your husband if you want to save your marriage. If your position is part of God’s plan for you, your husband will change. Come to think of it, I  haven’t prayed about my husband keeping salmon pans in the oven! If your husband doesn’t change in response to your prayers, believe that God can change you. He can give you His peace and continued love for your husband. Just ask. Above all, don’t give up hope. My marriage is a testimony to the truth that He is more than able.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.– Philippians 1:6

Note: If you and your husband have trouble communicating, seek the help of a godly counselor. 

Has your husband ever changed his mind during your marriage? If so, does that change encourage you?

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This article originally appeared at AngelPenn.com.

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Melanie Wilson
Dr. Melanie Wilson is a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mother of six. She is the author of So You're Not Wonder Woman, The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner, and Grammar Galaxy language arts curriculum. You can connect with her at Psychowith6.com.