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If you are dating a guy – and you cannot accept him exactly the way he is – it is time to do some soul searching.

A LITTLE KNOWN TRUTH ABOUT MEN

Guys are pretty much “what you see is what you get.”  If he loves to play music all the time before you get married – he’s going to want to do that after you get married.  If he doesn’t like to talk much about difficult subjects before you get married, you can expect more of the same after you marry him.  If he likes to drink a lot before you get married, marriage won’t change that.  If he is introverted before you get married, he will be introverted and need a lot of time to himself to recharge after you get married.  If he gambles before you get married, he will gamble after you get married.  If he cheats on you a lot before you get married – he will probably continue to cheat on you after you get married.  If he is irresponsible with money before you get married, he will be irresponsible with money after you get married.  If he has ADD or Asperger’s or depression or mania or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder before you get married – he will have those things after you get married.

Women often do NOT get this!  We think that we can and should change our men to be what we want them to be.  This is an extremely unhealthy idea and will cause massive heartache if you get married and hold onto this belief.  We can be SO BLIND to who our men really are before we get married, just believing whatever we want to believe and thinking we will mold them into the image of what we want them to be.  Nope!  That will NOT work.  Just like we can’t change God as His people, a woman cannot change her man.  He will resent her for trying to change him.

In fact, marriage will MAGNIFY your man’s faults.  It will also magnify your own faults, too – especially your own selfishness, pride and any strongholds of sin.

And, marriage will change you both in ways you really cannot anticipate.

But a man’s personality, preferences, priorities, plans, dreams, goals, mannerisms, hobbies and annoying habits will continue after marriage.  So please be sure you can accept that!

The biggest 2 things men need in marriage from their wives are:

1. respect

2. cooperation with their God-given leadership

These are the commands of God for wives in marriage and they are also what men need in order to be their best (Ephesians 5:22-33).

WOMEN BELIEVE THE LIES

MANY women think things like:

  • if I love him enough, he’ll change
  • if we get married, he’ll settle down and stop X behavior
  • once we have children, he’ll stop partying
  • if I really don’t want him to do something, I can make him stop
  • when we get married, he’ll stop flirting with other women
  • if he loves me enough, he’ll change for me
  • marriage will change him
  • marriage will solve all of our problems
  • I’m sure he has the same expectations I do about X – sure we’ve never actually talked through it – but why would anyone want anything but what I want?
  • marriage won’t be hard for US.  We are the exception.  We won’t have conflict.

PLEASE!!!!  PLEASE!!!!!!!!  PLEASE, HEAR ME ON THIS

You cannot change your man.

Your love cannot change him.

Only God can change him.

You can only change yourself – and, really, you need God’s power to even do that!

It is your job to respect and accept him or you should not commit to marriage with this man.  SERIOUSLY.

REALITY

There are many thousands and thousands of women who ignored who they were actually marrying and made a lot of false assumptions that their man would change for some reason once they were married – and these women are bitter, resentful and extremely disappointed now.

You can INFLUENCE your man in a godly way.  But you cannot MAKE or FORCE him to do what you want.  If you try to make him do things, you are being controlling – and that is actually a form of idolatry.  Men HATE when their women try to control them.  Our attempts to control will repel our men and destroy our relationships.

BUT MY GUY DOES THINGS I DON’T LIKE

  • he is rude and hateful to his family/friends/waitresses/customer service people sometimes
  • he watches tv /plays video games 50 hours per week
  • he loves sports WAY more than I do.  I don’t want to watch sports with him.  YUCK!
  • he doesn’t work out enough
  • he is prideful
  • he flirts with other women/ogles other women
  • he has an addiction to alcohol/drugs/pornography
  • he won’t go to church
  • he won’t pray with me
  • he doesn’t get along with my parents/my parents don’t approve of him
  • he was molested as a child and has a lot of issues and woundedness
  • he isn’t very generous and doesn’t want to give to charities and the poor like I do
  • he doesn’t hold the same theological principles that I do

YOUR CHOICES

You can calmly, respectfully tell him (usually once) that it makes you sad/afraid/upset when he does X.

Then he has to be able to choose what he is going to do for himself.  If you try to force him – he will rebel against you, unless he is extremely emotionally crippled.  (If he allows you to control him and is total putty in your hands – that is a big red flag!)  Then if he continues with the behavior, you have two choices:

1.  You accept that this is how he will be and make peace with that fact.

2. You decide you can’t tolerate this behavior and back way off – becoming much less emotionally available and making less time for the relationship – and see if he will change then, or you actually break off the relationship.

BUT

Keep in mind that if you marry a man – he WILL be a sinner.  Even a man who loves Jesus with all his heart will sin a lot.  You will need to be prepared to offer grace.  A lot.

If you marry a man who does not have Jesus as Lord of his life – you are going to be sinned against MUCH MORE.  You can count on the fact that your marriage will be extremely painful, frustrating, hurtful, lonely and very difficult.

ONCE YOU ARE MARRIED, AND HE DOES SOMETHING YOU DON’T LIKE -YOUR CHOICES ARE:

1. You tell him how you feel – respectfully.

Then if he doesn’t change.  You must accept him or wait for God to work in him.  Meanwhile, even if he never, ever changes – you are still responsible before God to respect him and submit to his leadership (unless he is asking you to commit or condone sin). Sometimes  if it is really serious, you may have to

2. Ask for a pastor, godly mentor to intervene – in cases of addictions, infidelity, etc.

Marriage is a COVENANT relationship between a man, woman and God.  We are supposed to stay in that relationship until death – unless there is infidelity.  But God can and does heal marriages even that have been ravaged by adultery.  The idea is, we are to be together until death.  We are supposed to be living out an example of the very great mystery of Christ and His church – and He does NOT break His covenant with us – THANK YOU GOD!  The husband represents Christ and His sacrificial love and leadership and the wife is to represent the church and the church’s love, reverence, submission and adoration of Christ.  There is way more at stake than just my marriage or just my children – each marriage is to be a portrayal, a living parable about Christ and His bride.

THE IRONY

In marriage, when you want your husband to change – the only way to actually get him to consider changing is to completely accept him and respect him as he is.  When I obey God’s Word, then God becomes my partner and He begins to change my husband.  It has to be about God’s will, not mine!  And God’s glory, not my way.  I have to want God more than my husband and want God’s will more than anything in life.  Then God can work miracles.  But I have no guarantees!

My job as a Christian wife is to accept my husband, give grace, forgive, respect him, allow him to lead and not try to take over and run the show my way and to trust that God is big enough to lead me through this imperfect man.

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