Y’all I’m about to give you a FOUNDATIONAL piece of marriage advice.
Honestly, if you choose only ONE PIECE OF marriage advice to follow, choose this one.
The day I said “I Do.” I really had no idea what I was getting into. I mean, did any of us?
I can honestly say that now, 7 years later, I love my husband with my whole heart and I wouldn’t change him for the world but back then, I wasn’t the wise old owl that I am now! 🙂
I was just an eager bride with a dream of happily ever after! After about 3 years and 3 kids (Yes – thats right 3 in 3), I started wondering if we were going to have “ever after” at all? Forget “happily.” I started reading book after book about what I was doing wrong. Why was my marriage falling apart? No matter how hard I looked, I just couldn’t figure it out! What I wouldn’t have given for someone to give me the advice I really needed. It wasn’t until we went through some SERIOUS marital problems and several months of marriage counseling that I started understanding what I’m going to share with you now!
YOU CAN’T CHANGE HIM
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. You may even consider this type of “cliche” marriage advice sort of weak-minded. I know I did. I can’t tell you how many times I thought “Well maybe YOU can’t, but I can”. In the early years of my marriage, I even had the niavete to congratulate myself for the progress I saw him making. I was COMPLETELY missing the point! Slowly, I was creating a spirit of self doubt in my husband and convincing him subtly that I did not respect him, trust him, or love him for who he was.
So here is the point, plain and simple.
He is the only person who can decide if he will change. Yes, you can nag him about it, but if he does change because of it, that’s a sign of strength on his part, not yours! Many guys wouldn’t have the strenth to take your constant criticism and would go looking for someone else who would be more encouraging! But as women, we tend to want everyone to approve of our choices, including our choice of a husband. Most of us can’t handle having an imperfect man by our side! But a strong woman can stand by her man when the rest of the world is judging him. Did you hear that?
Your husband’s need to be loved and respected should not be pushed aside beacause of YOUR need to be accepted. Stop telling him how to get his act together and figure out how to get yours together. As I tell my preschool aged children repeatedly when they are tattling, “You worry about you.”
Now, you might be thinking, “So what can I do about his anger at the kids?” or “But I need him to get his act together and help me around the house.” Trust me, I understand!! So what can you do to encourage your husband to change without criticizing him?
Offer him rewards
As funny as this might sound, we ALL love a reward. And lets be honest, MOST husbands respond very well to the idea of a nighttime reward. But be careful that your “reward” doesn’t turn into a threat. Rather, give him a flirty smile and say, “Hey you, can you help me clean up these dishes before we get dirty.”
Ask him honestly
When you’re really overwhelmed and you can’t even muster the energy to offer a reward just be honest with him. “Baby, I’m so exhausted today, but I can’t leave the dishes in the sink. Will you please help me get them done real quick?”
When he does something really awesome, let him know. This will not just encourage him to do the things you want him to do but it will also leave him feeling great and wanting more. If you’ve ever worried for even a second that he may leave you, this will help ensure that that doesn’t happen! It’s hard for a man to leave someone who makes him feel good about himself!
Let him cool off
If your hubby is prone to anger outbursts, I find it’s usually best to let him cool off. Take the kids outside to play or up to their rooms for a story. They’ll be none the wiser and your husband will have all the time he needs to change his own attitude.
Pray for him
I have personally been a witness to the power of prayer in marriage. That is a crazy amazing story for another time though. God has the power to change your husband from his core. Something you could never do! I love the movie War Room, because it is so perfectly an example of this simple power!
Well friends, I hope you have gleaned some wisdom from my experience! Please don’t toss this marriage advice to the side like I did. This isn’t a cliche or glibb bit of marriage advise. It’s the kind of marriage advice that will change your life and your husbands!
For more great tips about dealing with marriage problems check out this post on 21 Day Marriage Fix