In your marriage, you are more powerful than you probably realize. There were very few things that surprised me when I got married. I was mature, I knew my husband well, and we took the time we needed to be sure.
But one thing DID surprise me, and at times still does. I’m still sometimes amazed at how powerful I am in my husband’s life.
It’s not because I have tried to change him, or that I’m especially “strong.” I don’t have any magic formula. And I don’t think I’m all that unique in this area.
I believe both husbands and wives often underestimate how much impact they have, or at least can have, on each other. You waste time and energy trying to force your spouse to change, when if you realize where your power really does lie, you’ll be much more successful than you ever imagined.
This kind of power can be used in both good and bad ways. You have the power to hurt and to heal, to build up or to tear down, to make your spouse dread coming home or anxiously look forward to seeing you again during every moment you’re apart.
Here are only a few of the positive effects you may have on your spouse:
- Change a bad habit
- Learn or experience something new
- Become strong in the face of outside opposition
- Develop characteristics such as confidence, grace, or courage
- Grow more mature spiritually
What does it take to make that kind of impact on your spouse? Here are some of the things you can do to help your spouse exceed even your own expectations of them:
- Be proud of them. Knowing someone who loves you is proud of you is an incredibly strong motivator. Be their biggest fan.
- Honestly encourage them for little and big things they do in a positive direction.
- Unconditionally love and accept them. This does not mean you accept abuse, but it does mean you don’t demand that your spouse “perform” in order to gain your love. Ever!
- Be a safe place for your spouse’s feelings to land.
- Allow yourself to need your spouse.
- Pray for them.
- Never give up.
- Share YOUR heart with them.
For two people of good will, carrots produce many more results than big sticks. Nagging, yelling, giving the silent treatment, complaining – none of that works, and it will only make your spouse resent you. Become irresistible, and your spouse will likely follow.
And remember, you’re not doing any of this in order to change your spouse. You’re acting in this way because you love them. Any change that results is really only a side bonus. But the change that comes may surprise you!
And just as powerful as you can be to your spouse in a positive direction, it may even be more so in a negative way. Just think how deeply your spouse would be able to wound you if they wanted to. Or perhaps they HAVE wounded you. Well, your spouse’s heart is vulnerable too!
The way you hurt your spouse may be unconscious on your part, but it’s never-the-less powerful.
Here are a few things you may do that cause your spouse’s heart to bleed:
- Ignore their feelings.
- Refuse to listen to their thoughts or beliefs.
- Speak ill of them to someone else.
- Speak harshly to them when they do something you dislike.
- Don’t notice their positive efforts in some area.
Your goal is not to mold your spouse into someone you think you would like them to be. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. And you and I don’t make a very good Holy Spirit!
Instead, your goal is to “love, honor, and cherish, till death do us part.” And in doing so, you’ll be amazed at what a difference you have made in your spouse’s life.
Your Turn: How powerful do you believe you are in your spouse’s life? Have you noticed things about your spouse that you wish you could change? Have you tried to change them? Have you noticed things that HAVE changed in your spouse that you have had a part in helping to happen? What made the difference? Leave a comment below.
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