Have you ever wanted to change something about your spouse? Maybe they do something that really annoys you. Maybe they don’t do something, and it really annoys you. Yet they never seem to change. What do you do? At our May Family Camp, we looked at this question of change using Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Marriage You Always Wanted.
In his book, Dr. Chapman tells a story about how his wife was a “drawer opener” but not a “drawer closer.” This absolutely drove him crazy! He asked her to change, but she didn’t. One day he even showed her how the drawer worked by taking it apart. (That didn’t go over well.) Another day, their 18-month-old daughter had to be taken to the hospital for stitches after hitting her head on an open drawer. He knew his wife would change now out of concern for her daughter’s safety. She still couldn’t seem to remember to close the drawers!
So Dr. Chapman sat down and listed his choices.
- He could leave his wife.
- He could be miserable until one of them dies.
- Or he could start closing the drawers himself.
We all have imperfections! Some of them are small things that annoy our spouses, but we can’t or won’t change for each other. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. But we have to remember that we are called to love others whether they do what we ask them to or not.
Sometimes, though, our imperfections are not small. Sometimes one spouse may struggle with addiction. Sometimes one spouse may have an affair. Sometimes one spouse may be abusive. These imperfections separate us from one another and God. They are our sin. What do we do then?
Whether your marriage is dealing with small imperfections or large ones, our human tendency is to dwell on the imperfections. We look at others and see the long list of things they are not doing or things they shouldn’t be doing. We assign blame. We keep a record of wrongs. Dr. Chapman suggests we rethink this approach. Instead of starting with the other person, we should start with ourselves.
What have you done or not done that has separated you from your spouse or God? Take a moment, write them down. Lift these up to God and ask his forgiveness. Now go to your spouse, and both of you start from a place of confession and forgiveness. Then, your relationship will be open to reconciliation and grace.
Our May Family Camp was a fantastic weekend filled with fun and laughter. We ate lots of wonderful food, shared, sang songs of praise, played, prayed and a whole lot more. God blessed our weekend through the amazing families that shared their lives with each other and before our awesome God.
Some families began the long process of confession and forgiveness.
Thank you God for showing us yourself in Jesus through these families by the power of your Holy Spirit. Continue to be with them, continue to lead them to reconciliation through your grace.