Friday, 17 January 2014

Look in the Mirror

Every once in a while The Wall Street Journal runs an article about marriage.  One recent article was entitled “Spouse, Change Thyself”.  As far as it went there was nothing wrong with their advice.  More specifically the advice was to change your reaction to the attitude or behavior that you find objectionable.

Part of that strategy calls for anticipating the reoccurrence of the attitude / behavior in question and deciding how you will respond.  For example if your typical response to the unsatisfactory behavior is to yell or nag – don’t.   If your normal reaction to the distasteful attitude is to go toe-to-toe and argue, try withdrawing.  Try to take the “higher road”, refuse to allow yourself to be controlled by the other person’s habits, behaviors or attitudes.  Your response is a matter of choice.

It stands to reason that if your response is less confrontational and less unpleasant there is a chance that your partner might change.  There is however a broader concept in play.  You really can’t change your spouse, they can only change themselves.  You might influence how they act but that is the best you can hope for.

In addition to changing your negative reaction to an oft repeated transgression decide what else you need to change.  Take a good hard look in the mirror.  What are the irritating mannerisms that you bring to the marriage?   What do you do that adds frustration to your spouse’s existence?  What behaviors do you exhibit that drive your partner nuts?  These are also things you can change.

So whether you change how you react or change how you act, your change can have a profound effect on your marriage and it’s all within your control.

From a Biblical perspective what you will probably find is that what is often amiss is the love and respect that Ephesians 5:33 calls for.  There is a reasonably good chance that the wife’s annoying behavior or disagreeable attitude comes across to her husband as disrespectful.  And the husband’s infractions most likely come across to his wife as unloving.  Just a guess. Take a look at yourself!


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