- That person is perfect for me if only she/he changes ..
- If only my spouse can change, I’ll be happier ..
So what happens if the other doesn’t change at your clock?
That’s where it get worse. We try to force change. Stop right there!
Even God does not force you to change. He allows you to choose. “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve” Josh 24:15
He gave you the gift of a freewill and guess what? He respects it.
So when I try to enforce change on my spouse or someone I love, I’m playing God.
The change agent is always the Holy Spirit, and even he operates in hearts that are open and receptive.
If you are in a serious relationship with this “if only he/she changes” attitude, you are in for trouble. I’ve lost count of the number of married couples and relationships I’ve known where one is waiting for the other to change and the result is both are frustrated, bitter, angry and insecure.
I once really liked this guy who was good looking and loving and sweet – but on the inside I was always hoping he will change his lifestyle and his habits. I figured time will change him. Then I tried to force change – it worked momentarily, but it made our relationship even worse. Eventually it ended on a bitter note. He actually told me later that he obviously knew he fell short of my expectations. That’s not good – because that means I always made him feel very small.
Girls express it and guys suppress it. Girls taunt and nag and complain and grumble and on and on and on. And guys do nothing. They might either be too quiet or they might abuse, if it gets too bad.
Even right now in my marriage, I get tempted to force my husband to make a big decision that I think is right… but I don’t want to play the role of the Holy Spirit in his life. I just tell him what I feel about something, and allow him to pray about it and take his time on it. Now that we are married, we have all the time in the world !!
But I would never want him to change who he truly is, because I never had a problem with that even before. When I dated Mark, this thought never occurred to me “He has to change so much!”
So if you’re getting that thought again and again about how miserable your life is going to be if that person does not change, then that’s a red flag right there.
Love never tries to fix people. Love is not self-seeking – I am not seeking always to see what will make me happier, and then try to force it. That is emotional abuse – forcing someone to change, when you want, and exactly how you want.
Let your spouse know that you love him as he is, and celebrate him – celebrate and appreciate what you love about him. Pray and leave the rest – that’s between him and God.
When you give him love that accepts, he is at peace, and only when he is still can he hear the voice of God. But if he is always only listening to your nagging voice, he will feel smaller and the frustration builds up until it bursts out one day. And you are shocked!
Is God like that?
Problem is we think that’s how God loves us – he “requires” us to always change and fit his norms and standards. Truth is we cannot fit his perfect standard, and that’s why the new-born experience is a supernatural one. He doesn’t demand that we change our nature, instead he imparts and imputes his righteous nature to us, by his Spirit. His Spirit helps us change from the inside out, through a change in our thinking which is called renewing of our mind. This is a personal and a deep spiritual process. But unless we understand that God is not after our back with a whack to fix us, we will never have peace with him.
Once we learn how to have and enjoy that peace that comes from being truly reconciled with God through Jesus, we can give what we now have.
God is extremely patient as he allows his goodness to lead to our repentance (Rom 2:4). I’m amazed at how patient I am with myself (to change) and how impatient I can be with my spouse.
I once heard a counselor say this – if there is something major that totally doesn’t agree with you in the person you are dating – lifestyle, habits, or attitude – expect it to amplify after marriage.
You trying to change that person is demeaning and a waste of time. Either you accept the person as he/she is or simply move on. Don’t try to fix the person!
In my life, I have learnt it the hard way (& still learning) – to stop being Ms. Fix-It or even worse – Ms. Fix Him!