We can NOT change each other. Sometimes we think we can, but we can't. Not true and lasting change. The sad thing is that most of us spend a very large portion of our relationships trying to do that very thing... trying to change each other. This just leads to a lot of frustration. A LOT of frustration.
Frank and I struggle in this area. Or at least I struggle with this. I am sure just like many of you that we have things in our marriage that have come up over and over and over again. Sometimes those things will change for a little while, but they are never permanent changes. Most of the time there will be a HUGE fight about one of them and then I will end up talking about it to a close friend.
It does drive me crazy. There aren't that many things anymore, but there are a few issues that rear their ugly head every once in a while. And the arguments about them sound just the same every time. I wonder to myself during those moments if things will ever change.
Obviously, my methods have not been working. And I have tried most all of them from the super sweet and nice to the... uhm... not so nice or sweet. Maybe it's time to try a different way.
You see, a farmer can not make his seeds grow into a productive crop. He can't will it, nag it, manipulate it, deceive it, argue it, or demand it to grow and produce. But there are some things that he can do to help it. He can choose the fertile soil, he can give it nutrients and water it, he can protect it from weeds, and then turn it over to God and let Him do the rest.
We could learn a lot from the farmer. If we could do the same thing in our marriages, what would happen? No matter what kind of soil I am working with, I have to prepare for the rain and plan for success.
The key to that success is prayer. No surprise right? Yet, most of the time, it's not our first choice. This kind of prayer is more than just a half-hearted "God help me" or better "God help him!" It's turning to Him before I turn to someone else to gripe about what Frank has done or not done. God already knows anyway. However, prayer does work best when it comes out of love and a humble heart. Don't forget that part.
Have you ever wondered why God lets us have such a clear picture of our spouse's faults? Why can't love really be blind? Is it so that we can nag them to death to get them to change? We all know the answer is "No". It is for effective praying. Nobody else knows what the needs of your spouse is better than you so why do we let others do the praying for us? Nagging is NOT what changes a heart. Prayer is.
The dare for today is to BEGIN TO PRAY FOR YOUR SPOUSE'S HEART. PRAY FOR THREE SPECIFIC AREAS WHERE YOU DESIRE GOD TO WORK IN YOUR SPOUSE'S LIFE AND IN YOUR MARRIAGE.
I need to pray for Frank more. I know from experience that my way of trying to change him doesn't work. And really, it's probably because it's not my job anyway to change him. It's God's. Only He can change a heart. Only He can produce the kind of true and lasting changes that are needed.
So, my prayer during those times should be "God, change him or change me" One of those has to happen. Either God has to change Frank's perspective or He is gonna have to change mine so that I can be content in the situation. Because, believe it or not, sometimes... I can be the one who needs changing...