Lord, Please Change My Crazy Husband!

urica-1251980_640Have you ever thought that if only your spouse were more righteous, more Biblical, more favored by God, well, then life would be so much better? Have you thought; if only he followed Jesus closer, read His Bible more, prayed more often, matured in Christ, well, then wouldn’t life be rosy?

None of these aspirations are bad. Would that all of us were more righteous, more Biblical, more favored by God. Would that all of us follow Jesus closer, read our Bibles more, prayed more often, and matured in Christ.

The assumed outcome of these  actions is the problem. Ask some Biblical wives what it was like to be married to righteous men. The word “rosy” won’t come up.

Mrs. Noah was married to the most righteous man of his time. It saved her life and the lives of her children but for one hundred years of ark building in a desert that had never seen rain, I’m betting Mrs. Noah suffered through more than her share of snide remarks and mocking snickers. Then there’s the long trip locked inside a floating brick full of filthy animals and the work of starting again, alone in a world now completely strange, unfamiliar and devoid of history or the comfort of friends her own age – and, just think, no one had yet invented post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Or Mrs. Moses. Now, there’s a marriage on a long, strange trip full of fat exploding frogs, endless manna recipes, people grumbling and rebelling against your man who spends countless hours meeting in a tent with God appearing, periodically, only to erupt in outbursts of anger that eventually cost him the Promised Land. Now, there’s a Hallmark anniversary card that writes itself.

Or, you could be married to King David. I’m sure he was great in the poetic romance department but you’d have had to wait your turn with all the other wives and concubines. That is, when you weren’t being carried off by his enemies. And then there’s figuring out how to respond when he’s worshiping God with such abandon that his tunic flops around letting everyone in on the family secrets. Oh, yeah, good times married to a godly man.

“But,” you protest, “these are all Old Testament heroes and I’m thinking about life with a New Testament man.” Keep reading, sister, that included long imprisonments, years of travel, public beatings, rejection by everyone with power or place in society, drastic career changes with low pay and few benefits, shipwrecks, stoning and eventual martyrdom. Sounds dreamy.

Are you wasting precious moments of life willing your spouse to be more righteous, thinking “if only” kind of thoughts and wondering why God isn’t giving you the marriage and the life you deserve? Are you waiting for that grand day in the future when “he comes around” and everything finally straightens out?

Here’s a bit of advice: throw out the photo of that smiling, righteous looking family on the cover of Sunday’s bulletin and open up your Bible. There’s nothing in there about sitting around wishing your spouse were better or resenting God because He won’t answer your prayers to “set him straight.” (Trust me, on this, I have searched – you know –  for a friend.)

There’s plenty in there about how Christ came, not to be served but, to serve and that we should do likewise. There’s plenty about being content. There’s plenty about how all of our righteousness is a gift through Jesus Christ. There’s a lot about how love is patient, kind, long-suffering, forgiving, and keeps no record of wrongs. There’s a pretty nifty passage about taking the plank out of one’s own eye before trying to remove the speck of sawdust in another’s.

None of us is married to the ideal spouse. I know my husband isn’t. We all have very real faults that make living with us a challenge and holding-hands-1031665_640there’s nothing romantic or easy about that. Sure, we should pray for our spouses. Sure, we should work, each of us, to be more like Jesus. Certainly, when the bonds of human love have been stretched beyond endurance, we should cry out for a source of love that transcends. What’s amazing is that it exists. Christ supplies new love in abundance for those open to the transformation.

In this way, we will discover the power of Christ to supply ALL our needs, even the ability to love a crazy husband or be patient with an imperfect wife.

Seriously, why did you think you had to take formal vows that covered worse, poorer and sickness along with better, richer and in health? Ask Mrs. Noah. Even marriage to a righteous man isn’t a rowboat ride down a lazy river. Sometimes it’s a struggle to survive under the rush of a tsunami.

It’s not a greeting card or a plastic cake-topper, it’s something more – it’s life in abundance. We can’t change the ones we love but we can allow ourselves to be changed by the One who loves us perfectly. Which, in the end, is a much better plan than trying to pray the crazy out of the ones we love. Trust me on this one, loved ones. Ask my husband.

**My historical novella, Red Pen Redemptionexplores the ups and downs of a lifelong marriage through the eyes of Helen Bancroft. She’s not a sweet woman and it’s not a sweet story but it is a finalist for a Selah Award. If you haven’t checked it out, I invite you to do so! It’s a story that just may change your life.

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    The Conversation

  1. AM says:

    I read this and agree with everything you have said. My question would be, how does this apply to the woman married to a man who does not know the Lord at all? This is a rapidly growing group, or maybe it has always bigger than we realized but how does a woman limit her expectations; her own very real needs when the man can not meet them? Every aspect of her life is affected; the relationship with her husband with whom there can be no fellowship ( what fellowship has light with darkness?), relationships with children who see the disconnect within their home; relationships with other believers because she’s a woman by herself who is not single. I am seeing a lot of young Christian women taking this route. They need to know how to manage the relationship in a way pleasing to the Lord and respectful of their relationship with their husband and the husband’s needs. I have to wonder how many of the homes where the wife is struggling have just such a situation.

  2. I like this for the honest approach to people in the Bible. Thanks for keeping them real, Lori.

  3. VLW says:

    I’m still laughing about David’s tunic! Got to share this message. So apt, and I’m told we retain best those lessons we learn through humor!

  4. I used to focus on my husband’s little irritations and feel sorry for myself. One evening I was at a women’s event and the speaker was talking about marriage. Suddenly, the Lord began to whisper,” Praise Me that he doesn’t gamble away all his money, that he isn’t an alcoholic, an abuser, unfaithful…” In a few minutes I was in tears. When I got home, I shared the experience with my husband and asked for forgiveness. I stumble a lot but God often reminds me to praise Him for my husband’s virtues and accept his quirks with joy.