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Christian Marriage Help: Change Yourself, Not Your Spouse

This Christian marriage help will enable you to take back your power to change your life whether your husband or wife changes or not. Here is how you can do that...

The problems in your marriage are real and the changes you want your spouse to make are most likely reasonable. The dilemma that you have is that you can't make him or her change and as long as you are waiting for change and pushing for change, you are stuck in the same patterns.

We try to change our spouses by praying, wishing, nagging, lecturing, explaining, begging, threatening, controlling, and manipulating. Consider these questions: How much time and energy do you spend trying to change your spouse? What else could you do with your time?

Powerless means "without power." Can you stand at the seashore and command the waves to stop? Can you ask the sun not to rise? Can you make your husband or wife change? No! So if you can't do it, why waste your life trying?

The only sure way to make your life better is to focus on changing yourself. And I don't mean changing yourself to please your spouse, hoping he/she will change as a result. I mean taking back your power to do what you want with your own life in spite of the circumstances.

The following Scriptural principles reinforce the fact that you are responsible for your own choices and that you are not responsible for your spouse's choices:

God's Word tells us clearly that each of us is responsible for ourselves and we will each stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of our own lives-not our spouses' lives (2 Corinthians 5:10).

We are to take the plank out of our own eyes before commenting on the splinter in the other person's eye (Matthew 7:3-5). (This applies even if your spouse has the plank and you have the splinter.)

Galatians 6:4-5 says, "Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else." We have to do what is right, even when our spouses aren't.

Since you will give an account of your life, it makes sense to focus on changing yourself and not on your spouse. What are some of the things you can change? You can change your reactions, your choices, your boundaries, and your self-care. You can decide how you want to use your talents and gifts and your time. You can't control his/her reactions, choices, boundaries or self-care. You can't make your spouse live in a way that uses his/her talents, gifts, and time the way God wants your spouse to.

Let go of the efforts to make your spouse be who you want him or her to be and change yourself instead.

By Karla Downing
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