Raise your hand if you have ever tried to change your husband. Oh, you can’t see me, but my hand is up too. Today we are going to address how to improve communication in marriage by learning to accept your husband as he is.
Maybe you don’t think of it as changing him. Let me ask it a different way:
- Do you try to help him grow
- Point out ways he could mature
- Struggle to get him to see how important something is
- Offer advice (unsolicited advice) to keep him from obvious mistakes
- Feel it’s your spiritual gift to open his eyes to the positive side of life
I’m stopping now, but these are all things I have been personally guilty of doing to try to change my husband and many more.
Trying to change a man shuts down all paths of communication
I can already hear your scrolling off the page. Just hear me out. I’m not saying he’s right and you are wrong. It takes two to make these changes, but there are some things I know to be fundamental about marriage. This lesson is high up there and will begin to change things long term for you if you apply the principle.
Ephesians 4:1-3 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
These are going to be things you know, but if you are like me you need a reminder – often.
You are only responsible for
Your husband is -completely 100% totally -only responsible for himself
- His life
- Growing in his relationship with God.
And in his defense, God says that he’s responsible for everything else that happens under his home because he is the head of the home (Ephesians 5:23). Whether he’s acting like it or not. Whether he’s walking in his headship or not there is that extra pressure that we can’t fix and can’t see and the enemy comes at him so much harder because of that headship
and even with all of that… I’m still not responsible for him.
I can’t change one thing about my husband.
I can’t give him my perspective, show him how big my Jesus loves and forgives and convince him that he should also love and forgive that big. Not that I haven’t tried, I have and it’s blown up in my face every single time.
Not only can’t I change my husband, but I’m not supposed to change my husband. It’s not my job to change him, it’s God’s job.
The Holy Spirit who works to move and stir inside of me works to move and stir inside of my husband, even though I can’t see any evidence of it. There are days there is not even a glimmer that there is hope that the Holy Spirit is at work softening his calloused hear and turning his stiff neck.
I can’t see it and I don’t know what goes on in his mind and I don’t know what he’s ignoring that God’s trying to teach him or I don’t know how he learns exactly.
The Holy Spirit and God work in this mysterious amazing way that I can’t see. And they know how my husband learns and at what speed he needs to learn it and at what speed he can handle learning it.
I have to leave changing my husband God and just deal with my part.
Speaking of Owning My Part, did you finish the work from Session One yesterday? If not, or if you found this mid-series, follow this link back – don’t worry, I’ll wait for you right here.
Just dealing with my part while leaving my husband’s part to God feels like hopelessness. It feels like laying down defeated because there’s nothing I can do. And can I be honest, I really try to do a lot or at least say a lot to help him change?
Even when I’m trying to say the right thing – be an encouragement, point out the good, share insights – there’s nothing I can do in and of myself to change him. And when communication in marriage is broken my husband argues with me about everything like that.
And I want him to change. Can you relate?
How do you stop trying to change your husband and Accept him as he is?
This is the second barrier of effective communication in Marriage: Not Accepting Him as he is
First, we have to acknowledge the things we are trying to change and the reason we want to change them.
There are things I want to be changed in my husband because I need something or expect something.
- I need love and sometimes it feels like my husband doesn’t love me
- There is a need for romance but my husband never wants to do anything with me
- I long for a partner in life but, my husband has checked out
- There is a need for support but my husband seems insensitive to my dreams and goals
- I dream of true emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy but I don’t know how to make my husband want me.
The hardest part of accepting my husband is setting aside all expectations of him for a season.The hardest part of accepting my husband is setting aside all expectations of him for a season. Click To Tweet
You read that right. All Expectations have to be set aside. Not forever, but for a season. How do I have no expectations in marriage? It’s human to expect things. But listen, unmet expectations in marriage are our enemy when talking about acceptance in marriage. Setting aside expectations for a season is one of the Marriage Communication Tools that will help us see things more clearly and heal those hurt places that are causing hurtful words.
We are going to be learning how to deal with unmet expectations.
Why set aside marital expectations for this season?
God can meet those expectations so much better than my husband ever could. God can come into my need – every single need- meet it exceedingly abundantly more than I could ever ask to overflowing. Then I can love my husband accepting him for who he is.
When the paths of communication are down, odds are my husband is in survival mode. He also has needs but he is more likely trying to avoid drama. He puts up a wall to defend himself, shuts down and shuts out everyone he feels is a threat. A lot of times – I am that threat.
In shutdown mode with a 50-foot wall up, anything I say will start a fight, any expectation laid at his feet will send him over the edge. Now there are reasonable expectations a wife should have of her husband, but let’s set remove anything that will fortify that man’s defenses.
When we start in on changing him what’s he going to do? He’s going to fight against his wife because I’m the one right there in front of him. That is a needless conflict in marriage.
We’ll be touching on Conflict Resolution in the Full Marriage Communication Workshop – this is a sample lesson. Join for more Marriage Communication exercises here.
Today I want you to take your needs and expectation to God.
Make a list of unmet expectations in marriage. Write them out on a notebook or in a prayer journal. While Bud and I were in Marriage Counseling we learned that journaling those things helps us see the growth later (I challenge you to try it).
Come to HIM raw and vulnerable and begging HIM to fill you afresh today with everything you need. He promises that we can come to him and ask Him to give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11) – we can. And He will give us good gifts (Matthew 7:11). Right?
God loves us so unconditionally and He sees every need that’s not being met. He tells us that we can come and cast our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7) why? Because He’s God and he’s a genie who we can come to Him and ask for everything that we want? No. Because He cares for you. He cares for me. He cares about those needs. You are a daughter of the Most High God of the King of Kings The creator of the universe loves you and will bless you with everything He possesses in the Heavenly realm where you are seated with Him already (Ephesians 1:3).
Every spiritual blessing.
And so we have to come to Him and say.
Father, here’s my messy life, every expectation I have, every need I have.
I need someone to; Love me, help me raise these children, support me, encourage me, I need financial security, I need someone to help me take care of the needs of the house, sexual fulfillment, I need a partner who gets what I’m saying, someone who understands me who… Fill in the blank with whatever those needs are…
And these needs are not being, God. I’m angry about these unmet expectations and I’m hurt about it and I’m just hopeless. I See nothing changing there, please help me. Please meet every need – Please be my husband in this season.
Lord, there are days It feels like everything that is love or respect or anything else in my marriage has died and I feel like I have been abandoned like I am a widow. It feels like this is an unhappy marriage And I need you. I need you to take this and to hold onto me and to be my everything. I don’t know how to fix a marriage Lord, but You do so I surrender this to you today and look forward to the say this is a happy marriage, a successful marriage.
And God Does all of that and more.
It’s not enough to set aside expectations, You need to accept who he is right now.
I don’t mean just tolerate him, put up with him, coexist with him, be roommates with benefits occasionally (if that).
Today I want you to take a good long hard look at the man he is right now and make a list. List the things you want to change in your husband. These will be the things you correct him about, the things you think you could never accept him. Here are some from my list.
- He leaves shaved facial hair all over the bathroom sink
- his course attitude
- Brings home scads of candy for no good reason
- his gambling problem
- He dries my dress clothes and bras
- the way that he talks down to my children,
- disrespect me in front of them,
- Hates yard work
- waits until things are beyond prepare before attempting to fix the house
- Throws wet towels on the floor
- Quits a job for no good reason with nothing to fall back on.
These are things that I can’t change in my husband.
Now let’s be fair, I know that if he were to sit across from a counselor (and we have been in couples counseling a few times) and be super honest he would have a whole list of things that he wants to change about me. After a couple of decades, it just happens.
For today we are just making the list. In a couple of days we will do something with the list – so don’t skip this part.
Just a spoiler – we are going to take our list to the One who can change our husband.
As we end our time today let’s pray.
Lord, no one is perfect. I do not kneel before you claiming I am without sin or flaw. Give me eyes to see my husband as you see him. Help me love my husband as you love him. Teach me how to accept him – as he is – and leave anything changes that need to take place in your capable hands.
Thank you for caring for me. Thank you for being more than enough for my every need. Help me turn to you as I work on my part and when I want to lash out at my husband wishing he would work on his part in a way I could see.
I am believing You to do exceedingly abundantly more than I could ever ask for or imagine in this Marriage (Ephesians 3:20).
In conclusion – Acceptance is Key for growing healthy, Effective Communication in Marriage
Today we covered the importance of communication in Christian Marriage and the importance of accepting our husband as he is and asking God to meet our needs. We discussed how to improve communication by getting real about our needs and unmet expectations. This is the second step in the heart deep process of radical change in your Marriage.
If this is an area you are working to improve in your marriage be sure to join the Marriage Communication Workshop, download the effective communication in Marriage PDF workbook that is filled with even more Marriage Communication exercises!
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