Reality check

One of the comments on the tip for Tuesday seemed to be saying that we should do what it right, regardless of what our bride chooses to do. I certainly agree with that – and I’ve  posted about it more than once. But there is a limit to what you can do unilaterally, and if you expect to make changes that require your bride’s participation, it is wise to know if she is willing before you set your mind on those things. The vast majority of husbands can make their marriage better with no action from their bride, but that does not mean most of us can go from a poor to a good, or a good to a great marriage just by our own efforts. If you set your sights on something that requires action from her that is not going to happen, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment, and setting her up for frustration. Even if what you want is right, pushing for it with no regard to what your bride wants is likely to cause problems.

When in doubt, start small, and start with something that does not require her to do much. Choose things you can do and change, and be ready to accept that some things can’t change without her willingness to change. Whatever you do, don’t make your marriage worse by pressuring your bride for things she is not ready to do.

3 Comments on “Reality check

  1. In his most excellent book, Passionate Marriage, Dr. David Schnarch recognizes this very same principle and warned his readers that as you changed your spouse will either change with you or refuse to. And if refusal is the reaction, prepeare yourself to let your spouse go. Hard words but insightful ones.
    As I was grasping the concepts in his book and learning how to change for the better, I perceived that my ex was going from confident to anxious because she could no longer ‘push my buttons’ and get the same reactions she got before. I tried to talk with her about these changes but was rejected because she didn’t want to acknowledge her part in the dissolution of our marriage, even though I could and did. Simply put, she didn’t want me anymore, changed or not. We divorced and I remarried, quite successfully.
    This then is what I havce learned and pass on to you: Just because something bad happens doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad for you. And if you keep your extravagantly purchased, blood-cleansed conscience clean by doing what you know is right and confessing to the hurt party when you do something wrong, especially your spouse, you will see the favor of Jehovah turning something bad into something good.

    Which is why I keep urging you to be good.

    It is, after all, what you were created to be.

  2. I wish you had made this post earlier. I walked right into that mistake yesterday – pressuring a change that was too big and with no willingness.

  3. I’m going to try this again from a different angle. When someone suffers a stroke and they lose the ability to talk, many times they can learn to talk again, but they have to use a different set of brain paths then they used to use.

    That doesn’t even come close to describing what I have learned about not pressuring your wife to do something but leading her without her knowing it to get her to do something that is vital to the marriage for it to survive.

    Maybe it is better said with on old timer’s saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. But you can salt his oats.”

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