I remember a chat I had with Rebecca Saville, Psychologist and contributor here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, several moths ago. We were talking about men and women and about how we view change in our marriage relationship in very different ways. She said this:
A woman marries a man thinking she can change him.
A man marries a woman thinking she will never change.
-They’re both wrong.
Most of us learn the reality of this truth the hard way. I know I did.
I write frequently about change and releasing unrealistic expectations. Most of you know my personal story and how my marriage changed when I allowed Jesus to change me first.
However changing doesn't always have to be about us. It is not wrong to want our spouse to change in some areas, especially to have a heart-change and become a believer. There are opportunities where we can gently “coach” our mate.
I want to share a story with you about one of my good friends who created real change in her marriage.
He worked long and crazy hours, traveling in a large metropolitan area to different job sites. His day-planner included numerous appointments and some socializing which often took him over an hour’s travel away from home on busy California freeways. His job required him to work frequently after the dinner hour.
In his haste to meet with clients and get everything done in the day, he didn’t come through the door until after she was almost frantic with worry. As the hours between 5 p.m. and when he arrived home ticked away, she worried about an accident on the job site or possibly on the freeway. She rarely knew when to expect him home for dinner. He never thought to call her to release her from worry and give her a time when he might arrive home. She could rarely reach him by phone to still her fretting.
They argued about the situation frequently. Promises were made but were later broken and the cycle went on like this for a while.
They both loved each other deeply but this one area of contention between them began to grow bitterness. She was angry he never called to say when he would be home. He was angry she didn’t trust him and felt he didn’t need to check in like a child.
One day on her birthday as they sat over a wonderful candle light dinner, she gently yet firmly explained her hurt. Then she said to him, “I want a phone call for my birthday. The only thing, the best gift you could ever give me, is a phone call by five o’clock.”
He gave her this gift. The best and easiest gift he had ever given her.
Since that day he telephones every day at five and to her delight and further still, he also calls her during lunch just to check in and say, “Hi, I love you.”
Would you be willing to give up a new sweater or earrings? Could you ask for a similar gift like this for your birthday, Mother’s Day or Christmas?
As you consider what gift you might ask of your spouse, be very careful that your request is simple and doable. Make sure your gift request is not manipulative or motivated out of spite or sheer selfishness. Consider carefully, prayerfully how your spouse would consider your request and is it something that truly is worth this rare opportunity.
Be Blessed, Lynn