“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the tie there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.” Matthew 7:3-5
How often have you said to someone, if only your spouse would change (fill in the blank), your marriage would be better. Women want men to help more around the house. Men want women to have more sex. Women want help with the dishes. Men want women to stop nagging. It is a time old classic issue in marriages that is not likely to go away…unless you find value in the love that you express to your mate.
As a result, both the husband and wife feel isolated and resentful. We think we can so clearly see our spouses fault when all along we disregard our own. In Matthew 7, that is what Jesus was trying to explain. If we work as hard on fixing ourselves, as we do our spouses, maybe just maybe there will be change.
I remember a time in our marriage when I did just that. I prayed all the time for Richard to change. “God if he just understood me more. If he just opened his eyes and realized that what I am requesting is not that unreasonable, then he would be more receptive of hearing what I had to say. I realized that there was no reward in this concept. I was focusing so much on his faults that I failed to see what mine were. I read the scripture quoted above at least 100 times before, and still didn’t understand how it applied to my marriage and its real issues.
One day while Richard was at work, I sat on my bed crying out to God that this was not what I expected life to be with the man who I loved for over 25 years. He had brought us back together and I was finally able to spend my life with him, and now You do this? I didn’t understand. God, like so many times before, directed me to the book of Matthew. I read and reread the scripture and suddenly I got it! I understood what God was trying to tell me. I immediately changed the focus of my prayer and started praying for God to change me. At first I was resentful of praying this prayer. Was there really that much wrong with me? Was I that bad of a wife? As I continued praying for several days, that turned into weeks, that turned into months, still feeling like I was the only one who was working at this, I suddenly realized that we fought less. We enjoyed each other more. We were happier. I decided to explain my revelation to Richard and to my surprise, he revealed to me that he had been doing the same thing. You see once we decided to focus on our selves, things started falling into place.
If you are feeling like your spouse is being unreasonable and uncooperative in your marriage, think about a new approach. Admit that you are not perfect. Confess your own failures instead of focusing on His/Hers. Discuss them with your spouse. Ask Him/Her ever day what you can do to make them a better husband or wife. Then do your best to make those changes. Even if you don’t agree with them, unless they go against scripture, try to make that sacrifice. You will be a better spouse for it and you will HAVE a better spouse for it.
Father, It is much easier to come to you and as for you to change someone else than it is to ask You to change ourselves. Please give me the strength to acknowledge my weaknesses and improve on them. Help me to examine myself daily for improvement and show me how to carry out changing those imperfections. Please make me a better help-meet to my spouse. Amen