Human love and respect are very powerful. They can inspire people. They can encourage people. They contribute to strong marriages and relationships.
When two relatively spiritually healthy people love each other in marriage and decide to honor one another, they can seek to be a huge blessing to each other.
Many wives believe their love can do miracles.
Can a wife fix or change her husband by loving him enough?
We sometimes tell ourselves things like:
- He just needs my love.
- He just needs a good woman like me.
- If I just show him enough respect, things will be okay.
- I can help him and make up for all that has happened to him in his past.
- He’s my project.
- I can change him.
- I can fix him.
- I can make him be a better man.
The reality is, dear sisters, these things are not true!
Can I fix or change my husband?
If we try to change our guy—another word for this is, “control,“— we will make him miserable. And we will make ourselves miserable, too.
We can’t change other people.
Here’s the thing… only God can fix, heal, and change people. He does this through Jesus and the power of His Holy Spirit.
Sometimes He chooses to work through people to reach those who are hurting, bound, lost, and broken. But they are simply an instrument. He is the Great Physician. He is the Power Source.
Jesus is the only Savior there is.
We sometimes exalt ourselves, thinking that we can do things that only God can do. As if we are deity.
That’s a big problem.
I am definitely not God. Neither is the institution of marriage or parenthood.
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.Acts 4:12
I am a terrible Holy Spirit.
If we go into marriage thinking we are going to wave a magic wand and fix all of our husband’s spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, and addictive issues—we are heading for major disappointment and heartbreak.
When I attempt to convict my husband of sin without the power of God working in me, I end up just:
- Shaming him.
- Trying to control him.
- Condemning him.
- Humiliating him.
- Disrespecting him.
- Nagging him.
- Discouraging him.
- Repelling him.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Rom. 5:8
Jesus died on the cross to save people from their sin and give them eternal life. I did not. He is deity. I am not. It’s important that I not get confused on this critical issue!
Our men are not our “projects.”
I know this is a very popular belief among women in our culture. But getting married to a guy and/or having children with him won’t change him or fix all of his problems automatically.
If he has a major sin issue in his life, marriage won’t magically make that disappear. It will magnify his flaws and sins and expose them. And being a dad won’t necessarily suddenly make him a godly, responsible guy.
Marriage can be wonderful when you have two people who are committed to Christ, humble, and willing to grow in the Lord on their own. Even then, of course, there are challenges.
Marriage is a sanctification tool that God can use to help make us more like Christ, IF we are willing to learn from Him.
But each of us has to make the decision for ourselves to be open to God’s voice and His leading. We can’t decide that for each other or force our way on our spouse or anyone else.
The only God-given free will I have is my own.
Jesus, my husband, and myself each have different roles.
God didn’t design a wife to fix her husband. Or a husband to fix his wife. Marriage is a holy covenant that He ordained to display the gospel. In that covenant, there are three of us, each with different roles.
Jesus is the Savior. He is God. He convicts people of sin. He draws people to Himself. He opens people’s eyes to the truth of His Word and the power of the Gospel. He changes hearts and lives and heals people.
He empowers people to live in holiness, love, faith, and His Spirit. He is the vine and we are the branches. We need His sap flowing through us then He produces the good fruit.
Apart from Him, we can do nothing good for God or for people. (John 15:1-15)
My husband has free-will from God. He must decide for himself whether to follow Jesus or not, what his priorities will be, what he thinks, how he feels, who he wants to be, and what his personal convictions are.
My husband must decide on his own to obey God or rebel against Him. And he must decide what kind of man/husband/dad he wants to be. I can’t take on his decisions for him. And he can’t make mine for me.
When we try to make other people’s decisions for them, that is a dysfunctional/codependent relationship.
He is supposed to love his wife as Jesus loves the church and lead her the way Jesus leads His Bride. That blesses the marriage. But it is his choice to do this. His wife can’t force him to obey God.
I also have free-will from God. I decide what kind of relationship I want with Jesus. I let Him work in me or I can refuse His Spirit.
Ultimately, I am simply responsible to God for my thoughts, my motives, my priorities, my words, and my actions like every person is. I can’t force my husband to do what I want him to do. He can’t force me to do what he wants me to do.
What I can do in Christ, however, is even better than trying to control my husband.
I can set a godly example for my him where I invite Jesus to do absolutely everything He wants to do in and through me. I can totally yield my life to the Lordship of Christ in every area.
I am supposed to honor my husband the way the church is to honor Jesus and have a cooperative spirit with his leadership (unless he asks me to sin or go against God). And I am to treat him with respect. That blesses the marriage.
I can pray for him and invite God to work—not to do my will, but His. I can be a teammate, a cheerleader, and an instrument in God’s hands for blessing. But then I leave the results and timing to the Lord.
Thankfully, as I learn to trust in Jesus and depend on Him rather than myself, the waiting becomes sweet and I learn to rest in Him.
Much love, dear sisters!
All the baby steps God showed me for healing in Christ and breaking out of trying to control, fix, or rescue my husband and for finding genuine peace in Christ are in my book, The Peaceful Wife.