This post is written by contributing writer, Brenda from Triple-Braided.
I have a bad habit.
A habit that drives my husband out of his skin.
I leave shoes all over the house.
There are running shoes by the front door. Flip flops under the coffee table. Sandals next to the bed. And another pair of sandals in the bathroom.
Yes, they are everywhere.
The problem is that they are in all of these places without me even knowing it. I can walk past each pair of shoes five times in a day and not even see them or think about them…
…until my husband trips over a pair, makes an “Ugghhh” sound out loud, and almost hits the floor.
Then I know they’re there.
I’m not deliberately leaving my shoes all over the house so that he can trip over them. They are not my secret traps.
However, to him, that’s exactly what it looks like.
He asks me to pick them up, start putting them away, and stop leaving them everywhere, and of course I vow to do so and promise that I will be more careful and he’ll never trip again.
And then comes the next fall.
We all have little tendencies, little quirks,
little habits that we don’t even realize until there’s someone else sleeping beside us every night. Then they all come out, right there, spewed onto the floor.
Leaving shoes everywhere for my husband to trip over is not my only habit. I have other ones. And my husband has a set of his own, too. He leaves used paper towels on the kitchen counters without throwing them away.
Most of our habits we can laugh about: leaving the toilet seat up, not putting the top back on the toothpaste, keeping the refrigerator door open.
But there are others, usually the secret ones, that have more serious effects:
- binge eating
- going to bed too late
- overusing alcohol
- reading romance novels
- Facebook stalking
- using bad language
- excessive dieting
- too much reality TV
- time on hobbies
- surfing the Internet
What do we do when our spouse has a habit, especially a bad habit, that is affecting our marriage or will eventually affect our marriage?
As women, our tendency is to try to control the situation by reminding, dropping hints, and nagging. But for anyone who’s been married for longer than a week, we know that nagging doesn’t work. If anything, this leads to more of the same behavior.
It is not our job to control our husbands (or mother them). To get them to do what we want them to do. To get them to change. Change can only occur through an act of the Holy Spirit. Change is the Holy Spirit’s job.
This is something I struggle with almost daily. I have to remind myself over and over again that I am not my husband’s Holy Spirit. God provides my husband the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will, whatever that may be.
A very wise pastor gave me a piece of advice recently, and a simple phrase, to remember when there is a behavior I want to change in my husband.
He said, “Bless to Success.”
Yes, we must bless our husbands, then we will see the work of God within them through changed behaviors and attitudes.
How can we bless our husbands to success?
1. Pray for him.
Pray that God makes your husband all that He wants him to be – not what you want him to be. Pray that God opens your eyes to see the blessings you have in your husband.
2. Lead by example, not words.
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” (1 Peter 3:1-2).
We all know the cliche, “Actions speak louder than words.” If a wife is always nagging, picking on, belittling, or even degrading her husband to become what she wants him to become, then what motivation is there for him to become more like her?
Let your husband see the Holy Spirit in your life. That may cause him to ask, “What is it within her that gives her such peace and joy?”
You may just see those habits disappear and a new heart emerge.
How do you deal with the bad habits, small or large, that you see in your marriage?