How Not to Fix Your Husband

As women, some of us secretly believe that the decision to spend our lives with someone comes with the understanding that we are entitled to change them in areas we feel need improvement. Of course, we know what's best for our spouse €¦ I mean, what kind of man can make good choices when he can't even remember to put a new garbage bag in the trash container after emptying it (and after having been asked to do so four times, I might add)?

We, the silent members of the Perfect Wives' Club, have no time to be introspective and focus on our own imperfections, because we're exhausted after spending all of our energy on fixing our mates' flaws. What in the world did they do before we took over their lives? How did they dress themselves, show up to work on time, or find the closest parking space at Target? We got there just in time, ladies before they collapsed in a heap on the floor!

OK. We all know this isn't true, at least entirely, but for some reason many of us have felt called to be our husbands' keepers. When my husband met me, he was attracted to my ambition and courageous zest for life. In contrast, I was drawn to his steady ability to handle whatever circumstances came his way. Someone once told me that the things that attract you to your spouse in the beginning may ultimately be the things that drive you crazy. Given the opportunity again, I would still choose to marry my husband. But I won't lie to you our differences have been challenging. There have been moments when I've told him that he needed to fix everything that doesn't make sense in our marriage: our finances, his job, our families €¦ and while he's at it, my postpartum depression. You can imagine that my lectures come complete with graphs, solutions and timelines. Following one of these €śpresentations, €ť I'm usually met with €śthe glaze, €ť as we like to call it, of my rather disinterested recipient.

It isn't because my husband doesn't share my goals and dreams, nor is it because he's not motivated toward positive growth. We are simply different. After all of my efforts to fix him, no matter how valid or well-intended those endeavors might have been, I've learned that they accomplish nothing. No, that would be incorrect; they actually do accomplish something. They succeed in making him feel like less of a man, minimizing his efforts to provide for his family. They make him wonder if he'll ever be enough or if I'll ever be proud of him. The more I try to make myself feel secure and safe by pushing him, the less motivated he becomes, the more insecure he feels, and the lower his shoulders sag.

I'm sharing this with you, because, while I haven't always chosen the higher road of understanding and compassion, I'm beginning to see that this is what my husband needs most. I'm learning to extend grace to him in those times, rather than taking an opportunity to communicate my need for answers. My father once told me that regardless of what anyone else thought of him, my mother's opinion was what mattered most. If this is true, I've got an enormous responsibility as a wife. It may be a lifelong journey for me, because of who I am and whom I chose as my partner. But, with each opportunity I am given, I will continue seeking to build rather than bully. If any of you struggle with some of these same issues, join me as Valentine's Day approaches in seeking to love our husbands in the manner that God loves us €¦ with more grace than we can possibly imagine.

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