If you’re living in a messy marriage (and who isn’t to some degree or another?), you probably want change, at least for the better. Problem is, you might want that change to occur in your spouse rather than strapping the load to your own back.
Mistake Number 1 – Expecting your marriage to get better by trying to “fix” or change your spouse.
I hate to break it to you, but even though you’re “one” in the eyes of the Lord, you are not “one” in perspective or motivation. Just remember this: You are not the Holy Spirit in your spouse’s life—only God is the real change agent in your spouse.
Mistake Number 2 – Confusing a goal with a desire
My New Year’s resolution is to “die to myself and live to Christ.” Lofty goal, I know. And really, it is not a goal per se. It is a desire. That’s because a goal involves specific, measurable criteria. I can’t determine if I’ve reached 50% “death to my selfish desires.” What I need to do is find specific tasks that help me practice “dying.”
For example, I’m praying daily the “Psalm 139:23-24 request” that God search my heart and reveal my sin. Then when He reveals my sin, I quickly confess it to Him and another, like my husband. I’m also reading a book that deepens my understanding of my sin nature, which I will tell you specifically about in an upcoming post.
Doing specific tasks that I can identify as “done” or “not done” helps me to achieve my goal and in turn obtain my desire. Use this template as a way to see if you’re New Year’s resolutions are goals or desires.
Mistake Number 3 – Trying to do it all by yourself
It goes without saying that I want to include God in this process. Without His Word challenging my heart daily or His Spirit convicting me of sin, I wouldn’t be able to truly “die.” But even if your goal is to work-out more, then asking God to give you the motivation to persevere is critical. He wants to be part of the process.
Also, involve friends. I’m part of a marriage prayer group and I’ve asked them to pray for me in this area. They know I want die to myself and live to Christ so that my marriage improves and deepens. They hold me accountable on that. And their support and prayers are making a difference!
Mistake Number 4 – Thinking failure is a cue to give up
Just the other day I really blew it. I felt this HUGE temptation to give up—to feel like I’ll never really change. But God reminded me of just how frail and human I am through that sinful act. It was good for me to see that and to realize He forgives me and wants me to use that experience to reignite my passion for my goal, relying on His strength this time around.
Is there a change you want to make in your life and marriage, but feel you’re losing steam or that “real change” isn’t happening?
Tell us about it!
That could be the first step to really confirming and clarifying your efforts to reach a goal. And remember restarting your pursuit of a goal is not failure but perseverance!
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