We are examining the theme of “When I get him to the altar, I’ll alter him.” Here’s manipulative myth #2:

In all these myths, the motive is to alleviate ourselves of pain caused by our spouse. We are eliminating God as the source of our joy and contentment, and instead trying to change someone else to be come through for us.

Here’s another story, this time, from Alan and Tina who have been married thirteen years.

Because of Alan’s drug use and workaholism, Tina felt lonely and isolated. After becoming a Christian, Tina prayed for Alan continually, yet his addictions grew worse. She saw no alternative other than to divorce him.

Threatened with losing his family, and challenged by some godly men, Alan dedicated his life to Christ.

Together they began a wonderful adventure in seeking God. But the fear of Alan’s sliding back into his old sin patterns made Tina try to manipulate him to perform as a Christian. She hounded him to read his Bible. She bought him every book she could find about becoming a man of God. She became angry if he wouldn’t go to church. She felt responsible to keep him sober and making wise choices. She became a complainer and controlled by fear, not trusting God. 

Tina explains, “Everything I said was meant to make him stay on the straight and narrow. Now I understand all my manipulative devices were meant to guarantee that Alan wouldn’t go back to that old lifestyle and leave me. I felt insecure. Now I tell myself over and over again the truth: my security doesn’t have to rest on Alan. Besides, Alan’s love for God is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit, not me. It’s a burden I’m not supposed to take on.”

It boils down to whether we trust God to change and help someone to grow. We can certainly influence them, but if we get tense, angry, or discontent, it shows we’re trying to take responsibility.

Next time, we’ll talk about:
“If you change, we won’t have any problems.”