Do you want to change your husband? If there’s ever a time I’ve wanted to change my husband, it’s during an argument.
One day, my son’s cornea was scratched, compliments of his brother. His threshold for pain is basically nil, and we were reminded of it by his continual crying…for 30 hours. The doctor had told us to remove the patch he had taped to his eye and administer the prescribed ointment around dinnertime on that memorable night.
Since my six-year-old had been such a weakling to this whole fiasco, we decided to detain the dreaded removal until the next morning. Except, our plans were changed at 1:00 A.M. when nobody was getting any sleep for the second night in a row from the child’s wailing.
We decided the best thing to do was to go ahead and remove the patch right then. My boy is a stomach sleeper, and we reasoned that the patch was most likely putting too much pressure on his eye at night. My husband soothingly explained to our son what was about to happen while I set up the eye-patch-removal-area via nightlight since light sensitivity was also an issue with our poor little patient.
Everyone’s nerves were shot, which didn’t help any, and now in the middle of the night, we were about to embark on a procedure which made us feel like merciless bullies on an injured victim. I guess the doctor wanted to make sure the patch would stay on because he put three long strands of medical tape over it. That was not too much of a problem; it was only stuck like crazy glue to his face and in his hair.
Now by this time, my husband and I had already been snapping at each other, the sleepless grumpy heads that we were, and we got into an argument. Oops…I mean “a moment of intense fellowship.”
The conflict was how to best remove the medical tape from his hair. At one point I remember my man saying, “Do you want me to make a decision? Okay, I’ll make a decision,” but when he told me his decision I remember thinking, You are wrong!
Attitude is Everything
Right about then I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I was wrong. Not because my method was wrong, that is trivial, but because my attitude toward my husband was wrong.
My real problem was that I didn’t choose to respect him because I allowed his faults to cloud my view.
Submission is not just an action; it’s primarily an attitude. If Jesus had been standing there, I probably wouldn’t have responded the same way! When the Holy Spirit brought that to my attention, I thought, but my husband does not act like Jesus!
I wanted my husband to change in some areas and argued with him to fix them. Even if I was right about those issues, it wasn’t my job to be my husband’s Holy Spirit. Nagging is not a good thing and does not equal the voice of God to him.
A continual dripping in a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike. Proverbs 27:15 ESV
In our argument, he may have been wrong with some things, but that is not where my focus needed to be. So what’s a wife to do when she wants to change her husband?
The Biblical Way to See a Positive Difference in Your Husband
Yes, dear wives, I traveled the rough road to discover change can come without constant, gentle reminders of scriptural truths, or the opposite spectrum of Bible-beating. The key is always in the Word. Check this passage out:
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. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:1-4 ESV
Natural beauty is not the only attraction to a man. Verse four talks about letting your adorning be of the heart. God is the only One who sees what’s hidden in my heart, so this means I am to focus on change in myself instead of changing my husband.
Shift Your Focus While Waiting
What do you do, then, when you are tired of waiting around for him to change? Turn your focus in three ways. Pay attention to:
- The good things about him. Negativity is like a disease—it will kill your joy faster than a speeding train. Concentrate on and verbalize his positive qualities; it will be like the glue that holds the happiness in your marriage.
- What needs to change in you. Find scriptures that would line up with what you want to see changed in yourself, and speak them over your heart through prayer. When he notices a transformation in you, then his respect of you will grow. He will desire to please you, then, and also change where needed.
- Speaking well of him. Do you want him to change and at the same time paint a lousy reputation of him? Tell your husband you love him in the morning before he leaves for work, and then complain to your BFF about him in the afternoon? (James 3:10) When I allowed God to make some adjustments about what I said concerning my husband, it brought new life to our marriage. (Note: always be honest during sessions of marital counseling.)
I don’t remember how it ended the night we argued, but I know that was the beginning of being aware of my need to shift my focus. Paying attention to what’s outlined above has been a game changer for our relationship.
The next time an argument blazes across your marriage, stop, drop, and roll. Stop arguing, drop your bad attitude, and roll your focus to where it needs to be.