Have you ever thought your spouse should change a habitual behavior or one of their characteristics?
Do they do something that consistently bothers or annoys you? How can allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you fix these problems in your spouse?
Almost everyone reading this article has had a moment—at least one—where you wish your spouse would just change. It could be a small behavior such as leaving clothes on the floor, leaving things around the sink, or the lack of support with the house or children's activities. Being married to an imperfect sinner at times can really have its moments!
You're probably smiling, and so am I, as I myself scroll through a few of these moments in my mind. I realize these moments are a part of every marriage on planet Earth. I think this may be a part of becoming one flesh, which takes a lifetime. During the process of becoming one flesh, there are these intervals of desired change.
Usually these moments are from our limited perspective and we want our spouse to change. Sometimes unknowingly, God is working patience, or even better, long-suffering into us, and utilizing our spouse's foibles to grind against something in us like pride or selfishness.
However, many times these things that bother us and things we do that bother our spouse will cause conflict in the relationship. These times are bound to happen in your marriage journey and you need to have a plan for when this particular type of conflict arises. Therefore, let me present to you a plan that allows God to take His rightful place as priority in your marriage in these times of conflict.
I want to share with you a technique that has real potential to create changes. This technique is not for the faint-hearted, that's for sure. It's a technique I have used with nothing short of miraculous results, and I have had testimonies from people throughout my career stating how powerful this technique has been for them, and is in their life and marriage.
To start this technique, you do have to fully purchase one key idea. That idea is that the God who created your spouse and you knows how to change you both. He knows you both more intimately and honestly than you know yourselves. He knows both of your strengths; He placed them there. He knows both of your weaknesses and blind spots. He also knows how to communicate through life, circumstances or people to get the attention of you both. He, the Holy Spirit, is also called to create us in the likeness of Christ and convict us of sin. If you fully buy this idea, that He can change both of you, then embracing that humility is something that can be a life-changer and marriage-saver.
Here's the technique. Find a very quiet and secluded place to pray. This is a place you won't "accidentally" be heard by your spouse. This is a time just between you and God. Remember, He is both your Father and Father-in-law in this place of prayer. He is the fully engaged third person in your marriage.
Step One: Praise God
I find it's always good to start off with some praise of Him and genuinely be sincerely thankful for the gift in many ways your spouse is to you.
Step Two: Present a Clear Case
Then the next step is to lay out the issue or conflict as unbiased as you can. It's appropriate to share your feelings, pain and ideas, and even bring up to God what your spouse may be feeling and thinking as well.
Step Three: Turn it Over to God
Then step three, and this is the difficult step: Turn it over to God. Let Him know the following: If you are the problem, you want to be corrected, disciplined or given a word or idea to be part of the solution. However, if it is not you and you trust Him alone to change your spouse's heart on this issue, or to deal with that ongoing behavior or attitude, then 100% be willing to take correction and repent, or be willing to let God do what God can do.
Be and stay powerless to change them and be committed to love them regardless of the flaw. To be clear here, I am talking about normal conflicts and issues. I am not talking about abuse or ongoing infidelity. Those are issues for pastors, counselors or the police.
I have used this technique many times in my own marriage. I must say I receive more corrections than Lisa. However, I am married to a really good-hearted woman who rarely aggressively sins. My sin nature is more aggressive and in need of correction. I come out of that submission to God's will changed and more loving to Lisa.
On the occasion where Lisa and I are at an impasse on a decision, I have seen God change her heart, or mind, or both and these are miraculous moments when my faith is in the third person in our trinity. Either way, I am improved as a spouse.
Try this the next time you find yourself frustrated with your spouse's actions. I hope you enjoyed our discussion on changing a spouse. My hope is we all can live in humility, committed to loving our spouse through life, and enjoy the changes in ourselves and our spouse as we marinate with the living God over the decades within the miracle of marriage.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including Miracle of Marriage. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com; on hisFacebook; by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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