Doing the same thing and expecting a different result; isn’t that the definition of insanity? You’re not a failure if you “fail.” You’re only a failure if you fail to learn from your failures and keep doing the same thing over and over expecting it to work. Applying that truth to your relationship can help you drop the insanity in your marriage.

I hear from husbands and wives every day who are insane. Well, that’s not true. But they are creating insanity hoping that if they just try harder the same behaviors will lead to different outcomes next time. You explode, or perhaps sulk, at your spouse for being late – again. One person begs and pleads for sex and the other says no. Perhaps you yell and fight unconsciously hoping this time you might “win.” Or you stuff your feelings about the hard problems because, well, they’re hard and talking hasn’t changed anything.

How’s that working for you?

A number of couples have just gone through our Fully Alive Marriage course and had their patterns of insanity disrupted. I’ve been thrilled to see some of what God has done in their lives and relationships as a result.

Here are three of those most important insanity-disrupting keys.

  1. Stop trying to change your spouse!

Newsflash; you can’t change your spouse anyway. Trying to do so will just wear you out. They can change! In my many years of working with deeply troubled marriages I’ve seen some of the most hopeless relationships completely turn around.

But I have yet to see a marriage that has been helped by one spouse finally discovering the right formula with which to manipulate or change the other person. Not one.

Barry had been trying so hard to make his marriage better. But all his efforts had been focused on his wife. He was frustrated and exhausted. But through this course Barry learned a different focus. “It has been very freeing to learn to not try to control my wife and understanding I’m not the Holy Spirit!”

The irony, the insanity, is that trying to change your spouse usually makes it less likely they will change. Human nature resists attempts from the outside to change it. Taking your grubby hands off so that God can do His work may be the most transformative things you can do for your relationship.

  1. Become the spouse God needs you to be

This is both challenging and totally energizing. When you stop trying to change your spouse (who you can’t change) and start focusing on the only one you can change (yourself), you’re suddenly no longer insane. The fact that you can’t change your spouse does not mean there’s nothing you can do about your marriage. As you become different your relationship will change!

Most spouses I talk with find themselves trying to stuff their marriage and their spouse into the box they imagined when they said “I do.” They’re trying to figure out how to make it work rather than looking to God as the One who knows what both they and their marriage need.

Becoming the spouse God needs you to be is not simply being “nice.” It may take some discernment, prayer, and outside perspective to understand who God needs you to be to your spouse in this season. He might be calling you to let go and trust Him. He might be calling you to step up and have some hard conversations, or set some difficult boundaries, or learn some new skills that feel awkward at first. Or He might be calling you to make some really big changes in your own style of relating.

George said of the Fully Alive Marriage course, “It’s helped me focus on what I can do. There’s so much to learn and take to heart.”

  1. Trust God with your marriage

For most people this is not as easy as it may sound. Since what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working, perhaps it’s time to learn what it means to do marriage God’s way. That starts with your mindset. God designed marriage as a laboratory in which you learn to love well, even when you don’t feel like it.

Trusting God with your marriage doesn’t guarantee your marriage will become exactly what you want. Not even God will override your vote or your spouse’s vote. But everything can change when you invite Him into the process – not as a magic wand, but to show you what to do and to change your heart where it needs to be changed. Keep showing up. Keep saying Yes.

Jenny and her husband had struggled for years. But after the Fully Alive Marriage course she said, “We’ve done counseling with at least 4 different counselors. THIS is THE BEST that we’ve experienced. And you tell us how to pray – actual words.”

No More Insanity 

Perhaps you can stop acting insane on your own. I hope you do! I hope you stop trying to change what’s outside your power to change and focus on what you can do. And I hope you experience God being right in the middle of your marriage today and every day.

But if you’re struggling to stop acting insane, the Fully Alive Marriage course can help you change direction. You’ll discover practical ways to overcome the issues in your relationship, learn to love well, and know you are doing what’s necessary to build a Fully Alive marriage that lasts.

I wish for you to joy and freedom of no longer living in insanity!


Your Turn: Have you been doing the same things over and over hoping the insanity in your marriage would end? What are you going to do differently? Leave a comment below.

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  • Doing the same things and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. It’s time to drive out the insanity in your marriage – by doing things differently! Here are some ways to do that.  Tweet that.