If you’ve been married longer than two hours, you know that marriage isn’t always easy. When Trish and I got married, we had this core belief: “We love each other, we love God, so we’ll have a great marriage.”
Man, I wish it was that easy.
The quality of our marriage isn’t a reflection of our intentions, it’s a collection of our choices. Great intentions have never improved our marriage.
No matter how good or bad your marriage is, I bet you’d like to improve it. But many times, the way we go about improving our marriage does more damage than good.
Here are two huge mistakes we made as we tried to improve our marriage.
1. Changing my spouse will improve my marriage.
Trisha hates my driving. Like, I mean, hates it. Funny thing is, I’ve driven the same way, everyday, for our entire 21 years together.
When we were dating, she had no problem when I looked over at her while driving. It was cute when I reached over and gave her a kiss and slightly took my eyes off the road. That hasn’t been cute in 20 years. In over 20 years together, she hasn’t changed me.
So many couples believe that if they can change their spouse, their marriage will improve.
If I can get him to go to church …
If she would stop spending money …
If he would clean up after himself …
If she would stop nagging me all the time …
If he would drive better …
If she would be on time …
Here is the deal … those changes COULD improve your marriage … no doubt. But YOU don’t have the capacity to change your spouse. You can’t change a human heart.
You can’t argue, guilt-trip or cold-shoulder your way into a changed heart.
If you could, your spouse would have changed by now.
If you want to continue to have the same marriage you have right now, keep trying to change your spouse.
If you want to drastically and immediately improve your marriage, allow God to change you. As you transform, your marriage will change. It may not solve all of your problems and it may not change your spouse one ounce, but it will allow you to see him or her and your situation differently.
2. Stop trying when improvement doesn’t happen immediately.
I am 6.8 lbs. into what I hope to be a 40 lb. weight loss plan. I have consistently gained weight over the past 20 years. I’ve accumulated a pound here and then a pound there. I’ve lost weight, then gotten off the diet and gained it back. I didn’t gain 40 pounds in a week, it just kinda happened over time.
I have an app that I use that helps me track what I eat and gives me a weight loss plan.
I wish I could lose 40 pounds tomorrow. But it took me 20 years to gain 40 pounds and it is going to take me more than 40 days to lose it.
“This plan will enable you to achieve your goal by July 2, 2014.”
So many couples do the same thing with their marriage that I tried to do with my weight … improve it fast.
Why isn’t my marriage improving, I read a book?
It’s been two weeks since that marriage conference, and nothing has changed.
We’ve been praying together for three days, and my husband still isn’t changing.
We’ve gone to counseling for two sessions, and I’m about ready to give up hope … she isn’t changing.
There are some changes that can happen quickly. But most of the time, if it took you some time to get to that place, it will probably take you some time to get out of that place.
Would you keep trying if you knew you could reach your goal by July 2, 2014? Probably. But so many couples give up on April 2 or June 2 when they were so close to achieving the change they desire.
Give up trying to change your spouse. Don’t give up allowing God to change you.
Give up expecting transformation tomorrow. Don’t give up knowing that “He who started a work will be faithful to complete it.”