Nope, You Just Can’t Change Them
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-14
What’s the key to love? Would you say that it’s accepting another person “as is?”
In the beginnings of love and marriage, at first we might not even notice the things that we’re soon tempted to complain about in the other person. But then when reality sets in, being problem solvers by nature, we strive to get the other person to change. This, of course, is usually attempted with the old reward and punishment routine. It may work with a mule, but not with your mate.
When we finally decide we can’t change them, we tend to give up. How do you keep from that point of despair? How do you learn to live with differences?
The following practices can really help.
1) Keep your side of the street clean. This phrase means that we focus clearly on our own behaviors, some of which are no doubt irritating to our spouse. When we mess up, we own it and apologize—quickly and often.
2) Compliment more than you complain. Every single day, you can find something you can compliment your spouse on or thank them for. If you can’t, it’s probably “your side of the street” that needs work.
3) Pray together every day. This is a powerful practice. If you’ve never prayed together out loud, it will take some guts to begin, but probably nothing else is more powerful in keeping a marriage healthy. When you pray together, you reveal the concerns of your heart. You acknowledge that God is your help. Praying together is a concrete reminder that Jesus-centered marriages are made up of three persons, not just husband and a wife.
Resource reading: Colossians 3:1-17