Advice on How to be a Better Husband or Wife
People often come to me to learn how to be a better husband or wife. During that process, they will either ask questions or make statements as such:
“How can I be a better husband or wife?”
“How do I change?”
“I know what the Bible says, but it’s just hard.”
“Knowing is one thing, but doing is another.”
“Exactly how do I put this into practice?”
A Not Too Glamorous Answer
Let me say something that is not all that glamorous or palatable for the average person today. There are times when we need to learn more, deal with internal issues, talk about problems, read good materials, and seek out the advice of others. However, at the end of the day, all the help in the world will be to no avail if we fail to walk in obedience to what we have learned.
An Easy Way Out
The sad thing about our society today is that there is usually an escape hatch that we can take that keeps us from raw obedience to the Word. That is, greatness comes when we find ourselves in a box and the only way out is to invent our way out of that box. Unfortunately, in our day, we do not have to invent our way out of many boxes because there is often an explanation, a diagnosis, a government program, or a reasonable excuse as to why we can feel like a victim.
When I was in my younger twenties, I found myself staring at my own sins and the negative repercussions of those sins. Honestly, though I needed to learn much, talk about my issues, understand the Christ-life, and deal with internal struggles, there came a time to do the following:
1. Take sole responsibility for my actions.
Repentance is not saying, “I’m sorry that I did this, but if they would have acted differently, maybe I would not have sinned.” True repentance is saying, “I’m sorry for doing this, and I am the only one that is responsible for my behavior.“
2. Act like an adult
1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “. . . quit you like men, be strong.“
Truthfully, the Bible is simply telling us that we need to grow up and walk as grown-ups.
Children blame others, whereas adults take personal responsibility for their actions. Children make excuses, while adults secure results. Children wait for others to solve their problems, however, adults do everything within their own power to better their situation.
3. Obey God regardless of the consequences
The main emphasis of the Bible is not victory, it’s obedience to God. In fact, faith in God is obeying Him and leaving all the consequences to Him.
4. Get Tough
In II Timothy 2:3, Paul told Timothy to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.“
There comes a point when the last ingredient that should be added to our problem solving process is probably the worst tasting ingredient. And, that ingredient is toughness.
Though we all tend to despise having to be tough, it is, nonetheless, vital in order to secure long lasting results.
That Awkward Moment in a Counseling Session
There seems to be this awkward moment in a counseling or coaching session that comes after we have looked at all the hows, whys, and whats. This moment is usually after someone asks a question like, “So, how do I do this?“
I then respond by saying, “You do it by doing it.”
It is not uncommon for someone to respond by saying, “But that’s easier said then done.”
My typical response is, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.“
I use the word awkward because the human heart desires a little more than this. The human heart is looking for a magic bullet, an easy way out, or a quick fix. But, unfortunately, no such drug exists. Problems are usually solved over long periods of time and after long battles with unbelief, laziness, haste, and difficult people.
Something that Does Not Exist
I often say that the problem with most is not that they fail to find what they are looking for as much as they look for something that does not exist. And, a pain-free way of becoming a better husband or wife simply is not within the realm of reality.
Growth is always painful is some way. It may hurt our pride, timetable, spirit of laziness, or our expectations. However, rest assured, it will hurt. And, it is not unbiblical or harsh to encourage some to take up their own cross and endure the pain of obedience in order that the life of Jesus may be manifested in their life and in their marriage. (II Corinthians 4:10)