Planks and Specks - Why you can't Change your Spouse | Enduring All Things

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Planks and Specks - Why you can't Change your Spouse

I've always been told that I can't change other people. And I know that to be true. I mean, it just makes sense, right? You can't make other people do anything. You can't change them. God can. God can work on them. Maybe you can change yourself and hope they change as a result. You can pray for them. But you cannot change them.
So then why do I always fall back into the mindset of trying to change Pearson? And please tell me I'm not the only one. Please.

Even if I'm not consciously thinking the words "I really wish he would change the way he does this", I often find myself wondering why in the world he would do something a certain way. Or why he won't do what I want (even when I don't tell him). And if I'm not careful, I may even start to resent him just for being a different person from me!

However, sometimes it's easier to stop trying to change our spouse over the little day-to-day things than it is when it comes to major faults. Sins. Hurts they've caused us. But...
"Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye." -Luke 6:41-42 (ESV)
Here Jesus is calling our own faults planks and our spouse's faults specks because our own issues cloud our judgement. We have to work on ourselves first.

It's not our responsibility to fix our spouse or anybody for that matter. That's God's job. Jesus never called us to fix others. He called us to love them and care for them, but not to fix them.

This applies to our spouse as well. I think your spouse is the hardest person to not try to fix because you know them the best.  You live with them. You do everything with them. The two of you are "one." So you really know their faults, right? But guess what! Jesus doesn't want us to change them either!

When we choose to remove the plank in our own eye first, others are more likely to see Jesus through that than if we just try to change them directly. People don't like being forced to change but often they change with their environment.

When I chose to remove the plank in my own eye, it made all the difference.

When I started to work on my anxiety and depression by making myself go to social events and do things other than sitting on the couch watching TV, he did too. When I started going to therapy, he became more self reflective and started making changes to become a better person. When I started getting serious about my health, he did too (as much as he could while in grad school). When I wanted to connect with him and do fun things together to really work to make our relationship the best it could be, he eventually got on board, stopped staying so late at work and started planning things. When I put forth effort to let him know he's the most important person to me, he did the same!

So maybe you've heard it a million times, "You can't change your spouse!" But maybe you haven't thought about it in the plank/speck context. I know I hadn't until I read Alisa Dilorenzo's book, Called to Love (aff). And to me, this analogy. given by Jesus, makes the concept that much more important. Here's to becoming your best self and focusing on bettering yourself rather than fixing your spouse's flaws!
Have you experienced this in your marriage? Do you ever fall into the trap of trying to fix your spouse? Thanks for reading!

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