I think every woman thinks at some point that with enough pressure and chatter, she can change her husband. I have thought this countless times to no avail. No amount of pressure and coercing on my part has done any good in moving Hubby toward an idea, attitude, or action.
I hate to say it but it’s taken me these 2 and half years of marriage to realize that I alone cannot change Hubby. Men don’t like to be bossed. They must be gently encouraged or led. Have you ever heard that song from the movie “Hello Dolly!”? So true!
It takes a woman to quietly plan
To take him, to change him to her kind of man
And to gently lead him
Where fortune can find him
And not let him know that the power behind
Was that dainty woman…
1. Stop trying to change him.
I had to learn with Hubby that my snide remarks, shouting, pestering, nagging ways (boy, I sound awful!) were not working. No matter how much I spoke out about a subject, he didn’t seem to get any better! It wasn’t until I stopped saying things completely that I realized they weren’t doing any good.
You must know a bit about the psychology of men to know that those tactics don’t work. Some issues like picking up dirty socks are easy to change and a man need only be kindly informed to know your wishes and work toward this. Other deeper issues like anger problems or church attendance are spiritual matters. No amount of nagging will get him to change. So stop!
2. Start praying diligently for him.
I pray for Hubby each day when I have my quiet time with the Lord. If there is ever an issue that I see or am having with Hubby, I talk to God about it. He is the One who can change hearts.
Over the course of my marriage there have been issues I have seen with Hubby (just as he has seen with me). I committed them to prayer and resolved not to badger Hubby about it. It was an experiment. Would God work in his life? Did prayer really and truly change things? Slowly over time I could see God’s hand in his life. Specific things he said or did showed me that God was working.
3. Encourage him.
Hubbies don’t need nagging. They need encouragement. Don’t we all respond better to encouragement anyway? Yet why do we wives think it’s okay to treat our Hubbies like the children?
If Hubby is not being diligent in his quiet time with God, I am going to make it a point to praise him when he does do it. If Hubby has been angry lately and losing his temper a lot, I’m going to make it a point to thank him when he does keep calm. These are ways I encourage him to be better. Yes, it’s hard to hold my tongue and not berate him for doing those things he know to do. But I know that doing that will only put up more walls. It takes the Lord’s help to be an encouraging wife.
4. Don’t reprimand him.
Hubby’s ego is fragile. He wants to be my hero. He wants and needs to be respected. When I reprimand him and treat him as a child when he does something wrong or is not the man I want him to be at that moment, he deflates, he becomes defensive and a wall is up. Reprimanding him does not do any good at all! It defeats my whole purpose of addressing an issue, because now I’ve just created another issue: he doesn’t feel I respect him.
While we may get results with children when we reprimand them, it’s not the case with Hubby! I have to fight against this tendency of mine and remember that encouragement it always better.
5. Celebrate small victories with him.
For all the bad that Hubby does (which is hardly anything at all because he’s so amazing!), there is so much good! Yet I tend to focus on the negative because that’s what needs help. I sometimes forget to praise him for those things he does greatly! Taking out the trash every morning, doing loads of laundry for me when I’m tired, putting dishes in the dishwasher, giving me a foot massage, reading Godly marriage books with me in bed, talking with me upon his arrival home: he does these things without my asking or reminding. These deserve praise!
When there’s an area in his life that is lacking and he responds correctly, celebrate! Draw attention to the fact that he did _____. Praise him for not losing his temper in that argument or tiff. Praise him for remembering to check the mail for you. Celebrate the fact that he spent time in prayer today. Celebrate no matter how small!
6. Know that change takes time.
Change doesn’t happen overnight; it’s gradual. Be thankful for what changes have taken place in his life. Realize that with prayer and encouragement he will only get better!
Knowing that change does take time doesn’t mean that you’ll be living in a nightmare until he’s completely better. Focusing on those positive changes in his life and encouraging him will take your mind off of the negative. You’ll realize the good and be thankful for it.
7. Push to be around good influences.
Influences greatly affect us. Unfortunately we cannot always control these. Family and work relationships can be tricky. While you cannot cut off them completely because you are obligated somewhat, you can help Hubby realize that certain influences can be detrimental.
Recognizing that some influences could be hurtful to your marriage, relationship with God, emotional well-being, etc is half the battle. Then you are able to analyze statements, conversations, etc and be proactive in being a positive influence or shutting down negativity.
The influence of Godly family members, friends from church, etc. can be extremely important in the growth of your Hubby. Pushing to be around these people is a good idea because their ideals or attitudes can rub off. Seeing other Godly men can be inspiring for Hubby too.