Can GOD Change My Spouse and Help My Marriage?
“I’ve prayed and prayed for change in my spouse, but it doesn’t seem to do any good. My husband/wife just seems to stay the same or get worse – more stubborn, more selfish, and angrier. Will he/she ever change? Can God change my spouse?”
That is a very common question and one that many women and men ask in seeking marriage help. Perhaps they (you) have heard that “Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. “While that is often true, that statement denies the transformative power of God in our lives and relationships. It’s important to understand the change process and what’s my role and what’s God’s role in the process.
The Change Process for Marriage Help
Change, under the best of circumstances, is not an easy process. In these more difficult cases, there is still hope for change, but it can be a more difficult and lengthy process. To ask for God’s help is a wise move. It has been rightly said that only God can change a human heart. This doesn’t discount the role of marriage seminars, life coaching or counseling or other means of help. In the change process, God has a part and we have a part. It becomes a partnership as we take responsibility for our lives and relationship and God directs and empowers the process.
Consider the following:
- Most people are resistant to change
- Most change happens after a life-altering event. As Dr. David Hawkins says, “It takes a breakdown to have a breakthrough.”
- Change is unsettling and chaotic
- There are a lot of mixed emotions, especially fear
- Most change is forced upon us. We don’t go looking for it!
- Most change leads to a positive outcome
- Usually, we only change for one of two reasons: 1.) The pain is too great and we want relief or 2.) The reward for change is compelling.
Your Part In The Change
It begins with you. No matter what changes you desire to see in your mate, and they may be just the changes that need to happen, it all begins with you. Have you created an environment that is conducive for change? What about your own fear of change? Are you really ready for your mate to change and become healthier? Are you clear about what change you must experience or expect in your life?
What part have you played in enabling the status quo? How do you make it easy for him/her not to change? What do you do that tolerates the way things are and thus diminishes the need for change to your mate?
Prepare for the chaos of change. Are you really ready to let go of the ways things are and step into the unknown territory of change? You, too, will be thrown into the uncertainties of change. Will you trust that God is in control?
Prepare for resistance as you face your spouse with the challenge of change. It is unlikely that they will thank you for the prospect of altering their lives and behavior. It is likely that they will become angry and resistant, blame you and come up with a million excuses whey they can’t go to counseling or a marriage retreat or a marriage seminar with you.
Create the need for change. Often this means that you have to create a crisis to disrupt the status quo and help your spouse feel the gravity of the situation. This may force your spouse to see things from a different perspective and shock them into the need for change.
GOD’S Part in Helping Your Marriage
It has often been said that only God can change a human heart. And while ultimately this is true, God most often works in partnership with us to bring about this transformation. God’s part in the change is to work through circumstances, through people (including you), through scripture and other spiritual writings and through prayer and meditation to change the heart of your mate, and possibly even your own heart.
God will work with anyone who is willing to change for the better to empower that change and to “create a new heart” within that person. The willingness to change is the key. As already pointed out, most of us are resistant to change and so it takes a crisis or a breakdown to bring us to the point that we are willing to go through the change process. Sometimes God’s allows or brings the crisis, but often he uses us to be the catalyst for change in our spouse’s life.
How GOD Uses You
Pray and be very clear and specific in your own mind on the change that needs to happen. Trust the outcome to God, whatever that might be. Then, in no uncertain terms, let your spouse know what is acceptable from this point forward and what is not. Set and maintain very clear boundaries in your life that reinforce this change. Ask God for strength to help you be bold, yet compassionate, and to make it clear that you will not settle for the way that things have been. Assure your spouse of your love for them and invite them to take this journey with you when they are ready.
Yes, change is scary. It can be compared to approaching a tunnel. It’s dark and uncertain inside the tunnel, but until you travel through it, you will never reach what’s on the other side. You can decide to turn around and not go through the tunnel, however every road leads right back to it. Will you trust God and go through the tunnel of change for both you and your spouse, or will you continue to detour? It begins with a decision. It begins with you.