My husband was up at 5:30 this morning. I listened as he gathered his workout clothes and tennis shoes, and then proceeded to the kitchen to prepare his protein shake. As the whirring sound of the blender died down, I snuggled deeper into the covers, adjusted my pillow and fell back into some serious REM sleep. Early morning workouts are not my thing—at all. My husband’s morning ritual is one that I am very familiar with. You see, my sweet husband is pretty much the same person he was when I married him more than 20 years ago, in spite of my impassioned attempts to change him. (Young wives, re-read that last statement!)
He loves to exercise. He is very “routine driven”. He likes alone time much more than people time. He takes each day as it comes rather than talking a lot about the future. And he is much less into communication/verbal dialogue than I, keeping his own thoughts to himself unless prodded to do otherwise. He’s also a big sports fan and has trouble sitting still for very long, whereas, I can watch 2 or 3 movies in a row or read an entire book without leaving my comfortable chair.
In the early years of our marriage, we had lots of “discussions”, mostly initiated by moi, about how we could improve our relationship if only he would do such and such. I made numerous ill-fated (although well-intentioned) attempts to change him in one way or the other—to make him more communicative, more social, more engaged, less strict about his routine, etc. I did use a gentle approach—because that’s the way I am—and wrote lots of nice lists and notes for him which I placed in obvious, accessible places around the house. And I prayed for change.
For a time I lost sight of some very important facts:
- God’s unique design for men was intentional. And he made men and women different for a reason. Your husband is not meant to be just like you.
- No human being is—or will ever be—perfect in this life, including the aforementioned, moi. This is why leaving a marriage thinking “the grass is greener” is never a good idea.
- True and lasting change in human beings must come from within.
- It’s easy to see the beautiful things about your spouse if you just look for them.
- Marriage is and will always be more give than take. It cannot be successful unless at least one of the parties involved has a selfless, servant attitude. (preferably both, of course!)
- Most husbands just want simple things out of life. Things like peace, acceptance, respect and, oh yeah, good food.
Over time God taught me these valuable lessons and today, life is more peaceful and settled— but still fun and exciting! We can’t change our spouses. We can pray for their growth, love them, respect them, and make our homes a warm and relaxing place for them, but we have to leave the rest to God. We need to focus instead on our own relationship with Christ, becoming the best partner we can be under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.
I’m so glad I was unsuccessful in re-making my husband. After all, God made him just right the first time. These days I am more grateful than ever to hear that buzzing alarm clock at 5:30 a.m. given the fact that my husband survived open-heart surgery just a year and a half ago. His life is a precious gift to me. And I’m glad he is still the same man I married all those years ago—even if I will never, ever, convince him to sit down with me and watch all four emotional, riveting hours of “Gone With the Wind”!