So I’ve tossed a number of “second hand” issues at you – things you can do that bleed over and hurt your bride. But how do you fix/change any those things in your life?
First you have to identify them. Some are easy to see if you are honest with yourself, others are more difficult. Your bride can help you with this, if she trusts you to not punish her for telling you the truth about what she sees in you. Have her go through the last week plus of tips, and let you know where she sees you in any way.
As too fixing it, the tag I put on this post is “I choose”. I use this tag fairly often, because the reality is that changes can only occur when we choose to change. We may need more than just making the choice, but unless we make that choice, any efforts will fail. I see men and women go through various forms of counselling or therapy not because they have chosen to change, but because they want to convince their spouse there is hope. That works at first, a few times, but then the spouse caches on and decides there is no hope, and that there will never be any real change. I say this to warn you – don’t ask her what she sees if you do not intend to deal with it, and don’t make any promises you won’t keep. A failed attempt is far worse than no attempt . If you know you are not ready to deal with something, don’t pretend or discuss it as a possibility – wait until you are ready and able to deal with the issue.
A variety of things can help you make changes, depending on the severity of the problem and how you deal with things:
- Accountable to your bride: This requires a history of trust and you responding to what she says.
- Accountability to a friends: This requires some “naked” honesty about yourself and what you do.
- Accountability to another couple: Find another couple serious about their marriage, and met regularly to pray and discuss how each of you is doing.
- Pastoral counselling: Some pastors have a true gift for helping – make sure your pastor feels well able, as opposed to doing it because it’s expected of him. Also, ask for a referral if s/he feels unable.
- Professional counselling or therapy: It can take several tries to find an individual you “click with” – don’t give up after one failed attempt, and don’t put in a lot of time if you know the person is not offering what you need, or there is a personality conflict.
- Various ministries: See the “Get Help” links for some good miniseries that can help with many issues.
Choose to change, then do whatever it takes to make that happen. It may be tough at first, but in the long run both you and your bride will be glad you did it.