Once upon a time, I was a young bride who had grand ideas of what married life would be like. I imagined clean bedrooms, romantic overtures, and spontaneous date nights (among other things). What I found, however, was that these were my ideas and that my husband had his own thoughts (imagine that!)
Therefore, I often spotted socks and clothes in our bedroom like balled-up armadillos, romantic overtures were pretty much lost on my hubby (bless his unromantic heart), and I found that date nights needed to be scheduled (and my husband is NOT a planner).
It didn’t take long for me to realize that married life wasn’t like a rom-com movie. And after 13 years of marriage, it’s been just that: more com-than-rom.
I now expect my hubby to always roll up his socks and leave them in unsuspecting places, and I now know I can’t force him to be romantic. (I mean, here we are the day after our wedding in Ireland…and he’s frowning…just to annoy me!) I rest my case.
But what about spiritual growth? Is it okay to help him change in that area?? Cleanliness may not matter, but should I ignore his spirituality?
Well, in 2014 I got my answer.
This is when my relationship with God went to a whole new level. I became fascinated with the Bible (for the first time in my life), I was praying for hours (on purpose!), and I had actual cool Christian mom friends (who knew those existed?!)
Because these things had changed my life, I wanted my husband to experience the same thing. So I figured if I could coerce him into reading his Bible, or manipulate the elements for him to join a small group, then he’d be transformed too.
But the more I pushed, the more he pushed back.
Then one frustrating morning I walked into the prayer room at Northtown Moms. I was all exasperated and upset because my husband wasn’t seeing life MY way, and I knew these prayer moms would help me (aka, I figured they’d tell me what I wanted to hear). But they didn’t.
Instead, one sweet and loving woman turned to me and said:
You need to duck low enough for God to hit your husband in the face.
Wait, what??!!? Did she just say that??! Stunned, I wiped my woe-is-me eyes and asked her to tell me more.
“It’s real basic,” she said. “Every time you think you’re right, take it to God. Then pray with all your might that God will move in your husband’s heart……while YOU get out of the way.”
Why was this so mind blowing?! Her words penetrated deep into my heart all day, though, until I finally realized something:
God is the God of intervention. He may not care where my husband puts his socks, but he does care about his spiritual growth, even more than I do.
It therefore isn’t my job to change him; it’s God’s.
At that moment I vowed to get out of the way. I decided to stop harassing him and pray with all my might. And no joke, God completely clocked him in the face!!!!!
Within 30 days, my husband was leading a small group with me and had started going to a men’s group – all on his own! He also gave more to our church that month than I ever thought possible, and he started taking ownership over the spiritual direction of our family.
I was in literal shock. I had been praying for this to happen for years, and in 30 days God moved faster than I ever could (obviously). All because I got out of the way.
If any of this resonates with you, take it from me: we can’t change our husbands (or anyone else for that matter). They are who they are. Period. BUT… there is someone who can change hearts, and it’s God.
So when you feel that tug on your heart to start fixing, nagging, or steamrolling your hubby, remember to:
Get out of the way.
Take off the gloves.
Give them to God.
And then stand back and watch God hit him in the face.
Jonna Meidal is a mother to three girls who seeks to parent them by the fruits of the spirit (and her Quiet Hat). She’s been to 20 countries (yay!), loves to write & laugh (a LOT), and can’t get through the day without eating popcorn (duh!). You can read more of what she’s been up to at jonnameidal.com or follow her adventures on Instagram @jonnameidal.