If there is one point my dad tried to hammer into me when I was younger, it’s that you can’t change anybody.
People can change their own behaviors, and God can change their hearts, but you are responsible for you. It’s the great struggle. The inevitable inner-turmoil we all stare down at some point: You can’t change anyone.
So it goes without saying that you can’t change your wife. But it should be said anyway: You can’t change your wife.
And of course you always hear this, but once you’re married, you understand why God found it good and right to make sure you heard it so often growing up. It’s hard. And it doesn’t matter how great of a wife you have (Or whether or not you’re still in your “honeymoon stage” of the marriage), at some point you sit back, evaluate, and decide there’s about a million “Well if she would just…”
It’s the ultimate guise because it almost seems noble. At its supposed root, you feel like you’re just trying to help them live a better life (And all the benefits you yourself would reap from this change are just happy accidents.).
Of course, the real root is selfishness. It’s this unconscious “if she would change, I’d be happy.” And it’s all wrong. It’s this idea that things have to be right to be good. And it’s wrong.
I look back on Kelli’s and my short three months of marriage so far (And years of being together), and the times I cherish the most are the ones we were growing by leaps and bounds through adversity. Throughout our relationship, it’s been hard, and it’s been slow goings, but on our wedding day when I could honestly say I wasn’t the least bit nervous, but actually peaceful, it was totally worth it.
Because we’d tried to change each other. And we found it doesn’t work.
This is what I’ve found, instead: For every one annoying, I-honestly-can’t-believe-she-does-this that I can find, there’s about one hundred How-is-it-God-blessed-me-with-such-a-perfect-mate?s to be found, and I am a fool to focus on the plank in my best friend’s eye. So instead, I praise her for all of her incredible attributes (Be they actions, or identity. It’s important to praise her simply for who God made her!)
And y’know what? Eventually, the things she does that annoy me, either stop bothering me or she simply stops doing them.
It’s like the opening to my favorite radio show, Adventures in Odyssey: “Oh hi there! I was just working on one of my inventions here! …This is Odyssey! Hey! Let’s see if this thing works!” (Clattering and chaos) “Woah woah, hold it! Okay… so, it needs a little more work! But that’s the exciting part, because you never know what you’ll discover along the way.”
The things you learn when you surrender yourself and die to the flesh make it seem silly to even get annoyed by annoyances in the first place.
I’m thankful for the things about Kelli that drive me crazy. It’s an invitation to fall deeper in love with her, and to love her because she’s simply…her. It’s an invitation to die to self. I can’t say I’m even close to getting good at it, but I rejoice in the knowledge that there is joy in adversity, and wisdom in struggle.
If I could change one thing about Kelli, I wouldn’t! Can you imagine the mess I’d make if I could? Praise Yahweh!
(Taken from my blog Taylorville)