Back some 25 years ago, I didn’t marry the man that I now call my husband. No, I haven’t gotten a divorce and remarried a different man. I simply married the man I believed would change to suit my preferences and ideals. In hindsight, I can clearly see that was the …
You see, the more I tried to mold my husband into the man I thought he should be, the more he resented and resisted me—which in turn, made me resent and resist who he really was. So I figured that I just needed to try a little harder (Remember, slow learner). I would just come at him from a “different” angle, to get him to see things my way …
Wrong-er Approach!! Ugh!!
I had become consumed with trying to make my spouse into the perfect husband that I’d dreamed he would be one day … after I got through with him. (Ouch!)
- If he asked me to do something his way instead of mine, I would think, My perfect husband would’ve given me the opportunity to weigh in and ultimately call the shots, because he ‘loves me like Christ loves the church.’
- If he spent too much time at work or socializing with his friends, I would think, The perfect husband would desire me above his other pursuits, putting me as his sole focus at all times! He would never deviate to watch the game with his buddies, when he could be cuddling with me on the couch while we watch, The Sound of Music. (Yeah, hope springs eternal!)
- If he lost his temper, I would think to myself, My dream husband would never have lost his cool with me, his precious wife! He would instantly turn to God, humbly ask for Christ’s ‘peace that passes all understanding!’ And then a heavenly glow would emanate from his face. (You know, like the Shekinah glory Moses experienced.) And I would turn to him and say … “You had me at hello.”
Suffice it to say, I was rather idealized in my thinking way back when I was first married.
Worst of all, I didn’t see it.
All I saw was that my husband was not willing to allow me to chip away at his imperfections. After all, wasn’t Eve called to be Adam’s “helpmate?”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that a spouse should never encourage, challenge or influence his or her spouse to healthier and holier actions. But I am saying that we need to continually take a close look at our motives whenever we want to change our spouse.
Over time, God began to convict me that in rejecting my husband’s humanity—his need for grace—I was not chipping away at him with a sculptor’s chisel—I was blasting him with the sledgehammer of disrespect.
Now, let me just say, it’s super easy for me to see that I was consumed with my spouse’s perfection way back then. But not so easy to see when it subtly worms its way back into my desires and thoughts now. I guess what I’m hoping we ALL see is that …
If we ever hope to have marriages that reflect Christ’s heart, then we have to daily, minute by minute, accept our spouse’s imperfections and forgive our spouse’s sins. Anything less than that is just … perfectly wrong.
Photo credit by Elvert Barnes (Flickr)