This is the seventh post in the Building a Great Marriage series.

“Within this Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!”  –  Tim Keller

When you married your spouse you married them in AS-IS condition. Obviously, you liked the state and condition of your spouse when you said your wedding vows. As both of you mature, grow together, and get to know each other better you may notice things about your spouse you wish you could change. Or it may be your spouse is already awesome, but you see their potential and want to inspire them to be better. Encouragement and support is nice, but you can’t force change on your spouse.

Only God can change hearts, motivations, and desires through His Holy Spirit.

Through His goodness He shapes husbands and wives to look more like Jesus.

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There are times when I wish I could change Daniel, but I know I can’t. I resist the urge the nag and begin to pray. I pray that if God wants that change to happen, then He’d put it in Daniel’s heart. So when Daniel wakes up and tells me he wants to start working out and eating better I’m not surprised. I laugh and tell him I’ve been praying for him to get healthy. It’s not that I want him to get healthy to look better, but I’m worried about genetic health concerns and I want him to be around a long time.

Whenever you desire a change in your spouse then pray, don’t nag.

When a husband or wife is nagged, guilted, or badgered over changing an area of their life, then they are more likely to resist change. Being annoying about the subject will only bring resentment, annoyance, and animosity. Your spouse won’t want to hang out with you if you nagging them about something all the time.

Take your concerns about your spouse to the Lord, then pray and wait.

We don’t know the plans God has for our spouse. Maybe God is more concerned about other matters we can’t see and He is working on those first. Place your concerns in the Lord’s hands and trust that He will take care of the change.

In the process of prayer you may find the change you wanted to see happen in your spouse may not be a problem at all. Or the Lord may convict you the change is something you should work on in your own life first. God will change one of your hearts through the process of prayer.

We can’t be our spouse’s Holy Spirit and force them to change. Instead, let’s have patience and bring our concerns to the Lord. Our marriages will be a lot better when God brings the change we desire.