Here is another post on the theme of “I’ll get him to the altar and then I’ll alter him.” This time, let’s look at the idea of “If you change, I won’t feel embarrassed.”
If we think that, it’s because we believe our spouse is a reflection of us! We may even have stopped appreciating the very thing that drew us to him/her in the first place.
For instance, you may not value your husband’s love for details, yet friends call him to find out his opinion on buying a car because he’s read the latest consumer magazines. Maybe you don’t appreciate your wife’s gift of gab, but she receives invitations to everyone’s party because she brings it to life.
Or you might think your husband is boring for telling everyone all the details. Or you might think Susie is being silly for needing so much attention. It could feel like it’s a reflection of you because you should be correcting Don or toning down Susie. Isn’t that what a spouse is supposed to do: help them change their flaws? Since I’m not able to do that, I must not be important to my husband/wife.
You might further argue saying, “But everyone is calling Don on the phone and he doesn’t have time for me.” Or “Susie is the life of the party, but she rarely talks to me.”
Could it be that your lack of appreciation or criticism of your mate’s strengths (which you perceive as weaknesses) has caused him/her to seek love and significance from others? He or she may have given up trying to get it from you.
That’s why Larry found lots of extra reasons to work and fly early in our marriage. Tweet that!
I could only see his flaws and point them out. Certainly that would change him and he wouldn’t embarrass me with his cop demeanor if I even got him to go to a public or family function. He didn’t want to talk to anyone. So I went overboard with trying to be friendly to counter-act his lack of it. I was embarrassed. Why did I pick such a non-social guy?! How stupid is that!
But in time, I realized I was fulfilling Proverbs 27:15: “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike” (NASB).
We need to see that no amount of criticism, manipulating, nagging, or any other creative thing we think of is acknowledging God’s ability to change another person. We think we should be our mate’s Holy Spirit.
Next time I’ll be featuring a book give-away but after that we’ll examine how to motivate instead of manipulate.