Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Are you waiting on your Spouse to change?

By Dr. Gary Chapman

What are you doing to improve your marriage? Most of us want a better marriage, but we're waiting on our spouse to change. Most people start at the wrong place - trying to force their spouse to change.

We have said that the place to begin is by changing your own behavior. If you want a better marriage the place to begin is with yourself. Why not get alone with God and pray, "Lord shine your light on me and show me where I am failing." That's a prayer God will answer. He will bring to your mind the times you have been unkind, unthoughtful, unloving to your spouse.

Ask the average husband what would make his marriage better, and he will talk about things his wife needs to change. Ask the average wife, and she will tell you what her husband ought to do. We nag our spouses and try to shame them into doing what we want. It should be obvious that this approach isn't working. It only creates resentment and hostility.

Most of us would like to have a growing marriage. Marriages either grow or they regress. They never stand still. But how do we stimulate growth? Most of us have some ideas, but usually we start at the wrong place. As one husband put it, "I know we need a better marriage, but every time I try to talk about it with my wife, she's too busy. I think she's given up."

Now, if a wife has given up, there is a reason. Most often it is because she has tried in the past and found him unresponsive. She has shared her hurt, but he has turned a deaf ear.

Now after many months and years, he realizes that the marriage is in trouble, but she has no more energy with which to work. She tried, and has now turned off her emotions. It is her way of coping with the pain.

What's a husband to do?

Take the initiative! Confess your past failures, ask forgiveness, and then change the way you think and act toward your spouse. Go to your spouse and say, "I've been thinking about us, and I realize that I have not always been kind to you. Sometimes I have spoken harshly, and I know I have hurt you. I'm really sorry about that. I was wrong, and with God's help, I want to make that up to you."

Your behavior will positively affect your spouse. Don't expect an immediate turn-around, especially if you have neglected your marriage for a long time. Hurt and pain take time to heal. But the place to start is by saying, "I was wrong and I am sorry. I want to give you the love you deserve in the future."

Then, concentrate on changing the way to treat your spouse. Give positive words. Look for things you can compliment. Express appreciation for the daily things they do for you. Tell the children what you like about your spouse and do it when your spouse is present and absent. Think about those things your spouse has complained about in the past. Write them down and begin to work them into your schedule. Kind words will go a long way in creating a growing marriage and any relationship.

Spend more time playing with the children, paint the bedroom, iron the shirt - whatever they have complained about.

It is this kind of positive change that will influence your spouse. Talk is cheap, but actions speak loudly.

Don't demand that they reciprocate, but love them unconditionally. Take positive action today!


  1. Great Shawnte! This is very good advice. Its hard in a marriage to take a long look at ourselves to make a change when we are unhappy. Its so much easier to point the finger or bring out our spouses faults. I know I am personally guilty of it.

  2. Hello,

    I wanted to let you know that I am following you from Moms Blogger Club, "The Simply Follow" group. I am hoping when you get a chance you can follow me back at http://www.britneysbeautyblog.com and http://www.britneysbeautymark.com. Also, I would love to place a link to your site on my blog if you want to do the same with my blog on yours. Please let me know by sending me an email regarding this and it has been nice meeting you via the web.

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    (a.k.a Britney/ author)

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  4. Great post!!! There is a reason why a marriage is called a partnership! I found your blog through MBC and am now following via Google Friend Connect and NetworkedBlogs. Hope you'll follow back!

    Thank you!