"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Change Them By Changing You

I've just been reading Marriage Is Easy, a post by Dr. Corey Allen at Simple Marriage and it could prove to be pivotal moment in this old, feeble 47 year-old brain. 

You see, Dr. Allen explains a fact that many psycho-babble-ists have touted for years and years, and that is the fact that if we get what we expect to get.  In other words, (this is merely my take on his words) we create our own reality. 

Please don't get me wrong.  I have never been one to fall for psycho-babble, but the way the good doctors explained it ... wow.  Just ... wow.  I thought of it this way before, meaning that I never had anyone explain it in a way that I could actually believe it.

His opinion is that relationships are easy, but that developing intimacy in the relationship is hard work, especially when you are dealing with an immature person rather than a grown-up who lives with integrity and authenticity.  He calls marriage the "playing field of the 'worst in us,'" a place where all the garbage within is brought into the light and acts as a springboard to help us mature and grow.

Fair enough.

He also points out our capacity to enable immature behavior in our spouses by allowing bad treatment to continue.  He stresses that by tolerating inconsiderate behavior, we are partly to blame because of our lack of leadership in the relationship.

"If you accept bad behavior from your spouse (and friends and family), you are likely to get bad behavior from them."    
How, then do we stop this destructive cycle?  By raising the bar, and acting accordingly; by being what we want to attract.


On the surface it sounds simple for everyone to apply this to their marriages, but I fear it will be anything but easy.  
  • First, you must pray for guidance and a vision for your marriage.  Pray that God will give you a clear idea of the marriage He designed for you and your spouse.
  • Secondly, decide once and for all how you want to be treated. Determine what is acceptable and unacceptable as far as behavior from your wife and family.
  • Thirdly, Communicate you expectations.  No one but God can read your mind.  If you want things to be different, then open your mouth and say so.
  • Lastly, and most importantly,  model the behavior you want them to display.  In other words, if you want your wife to be kind, be kind to her.  If you desire respect, show respect.  If you want her to be generous to you, be generous to her.  If you want her to pursue you sexually, pursue her sexually.   
Men, this article made me think not only about my wife's attitude toward me, but more importantly about my behavior toward her. 

Does she submit to my authority in everything?  Why or why not?  Do I need to look at my life through the lens of submission and make some changes?  How does my own submission to God look?  Am I modeling submission to Him in everything?  If not, then why would my wife ever want to submit to me?  (Ouch, that hurts!)

Have I made it clear, by my actions and attitudes, how I wish to be treated by her and our children?  Do they treat me with disrespect?  Is that acceptable?  If not, then what can I change about myself to show them a better example of respect?   

Will this work 100% guaranteed?  Of course not.  We sin.  It's a fact.  We are all human beings with big ol' nasty flaws and skeletons in our closets, and secret thoughts and feelings, and unexpressed desires, and resentments, etc... Wives will not submit to their husbands, children will not obey their parents, husbands will not submit to the Heavenly Father. 

But if we pray, I mean truly pray for guidance, then we can take maybe one step - one teeny weeny difficult step, and another, and another, until we can transform our marriages into what God intended for every married couple, and maybe we will receive His blessing on our homes.

From the inside-out,

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