Are you struggling to get along with your spouse? How about doing a 30-day marriage challenge to turn your marriage around?
Perhaps you feel like your marriage is so bad that it is hopeless, and a 30-day marriage challenge won’t work. In fact, trust has been broken and there is little to no communication between you both.
Before you give up, give yourself 30 days for God to work on your marriage. Allow Him to change both of you in ways you never thought possible.
In this post, we will address how to get out of the cycle of a critical spirit (and blaming) and change the trajectory of your marriage with a 30-day marriage challenge.
Are You Stuck in the Blame Game?
Before we talk about the 30-day marriage challenge for couples, let’s address the blame game. Let me guess… each of you is pointing fingers, thinking the other person needs to change first.
The classic line erupts from one of your mouths, “If only my spouse would stop doing ______, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
Or how about “You made me do this!” (They can’t make you do anything. You choose.)
Somehow you have it in your brain that everything is your spouse’s fault. Meanwhile, you continue to force a change with your words.
How’s that working for you?
Your spouse may try to please you for a while, but eventually, the change won’t be permanent because blame doesn’t produce a heart change.
If you are caught in the cycle of blaming, make a commitment today to stop pointing fingers.
I know it seems upside down. You feel like your spouse should change first, but this is how God’s economy works: The way you change your spouse is to change yourself first.
When you change, it forces your spouse to change the way they do things.
Why Do We Criticize Our Spouse?
Most of the time, criticism plays a big part in the cycle of an unhealthy marriage.
Many times, there is an underlying anger about something big, and it comes out left-handed in the small things. Chances are you criticize subconsciously and don’t even know it.
So what is a critical spirit, and do you have one?
A critical spirit seeks to condemn, blame, denigrate, and destroy with words. It often manifests as complaining, having unrealistic expectations, controlling, noticing failure in others more than in oneself, and being judgmental.
A critical spirit can manifest as revenge. By the time the verbal lashing is over one can feel disrespected, inadequate, and unloved causing the other person to withdrawal or completely give up.
In contrast, constructive criticism involves opinions that are meant to build up, encourage, cheer, hope, endure, and believe in a person even after a failure. (See 1 Corinthians 13)
If you want to do a 30-day marriage challenge, then realize it starts with being kind, loving, and positive.
It doesn’t mean you negate your feelings, you just choose to believe the best of your spouse and speak life into their life instead of death.
In Matthew 22:37 and 39, God commands us to “love Him with all of our hearts, with all our minds, and with all our souls and to love our neighbor as we already love ourselves.”
Get your FREE CONFLICT RESOLUTION PDF to help you and your spouse talk through difficult subjects.
What Does It Mean to Be Critical of Your Partner?
If you want to know how to change your spouse with a 30-marriage challenge, then it is time to see how you respond to your spouse on a daily basis.
It starts with little things like how she cleans the house, hangs the towels, or makes dinner. Or how he bathes the kids, squeezes the toothpaste, or mows the lawn.
All of these things need to get done, but they don’t need to be micromanaged.
If the criticism gets worse, it may go to a new level. Perhaps you start criticizing and embarrassing each other in public or berating each other in front of the kids.
Over time, the narrative of your marriage becomes hostile. You are constantly cutting each other down.
This is why a critical spirit is wrong and sinful. In fact, it is destructive to any relationship, no matter what has happened in the past.
This is Satan’s strategy to further tear your marriage apart so that reconciliation is next to impossible. When a spouse feels like they can’t do the small things right, they will eventually give up and stop trying to overcome the big thing.
Did you know Satan is called “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10)? Are you following in the same behavior?
Proverbs 15:15 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels” (The Book).
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How Can I Change My Spouse in 30 Days?
If you want to do a 30-day marriage challenge and move forward into a healthy marriage then it is important to examine your heart and see what part you are playing in hurting your spouse and ultimately your marriage.
Moreover, in what ways do you not display God’s character (love)?
John 4:16 says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them” (New Living Translation).
When you do need to speak up, choose your words wisely. Focus on being encouraging and not critical. Your job is to cheer for your spouse just like a coach or a great teacher cheers for a student.
Think about this…Your spouse has been cheered by his or her parents, family, in sports, job, and then you come along and “boo.”
Would you want to come home to “boos” every night?
RELATED: Read this article on encouraging your husband by Dave and Ann Wilson (FamilyLife Today) for further explanation.
Make it your goal from now on to catch your spouse doing things “right.” You are on the same team. When your spouse wins, you win too!
And when you tear down your spouse, you tear down your marriage because you are one.
This is the spirit of the 30-day marriage challenge.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing ” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV).
What Is the 30-Day Marriage Challenge?
Try these 3 tips when you do the 30-day marriage challenge. Why? Because it takes 30 days to break a habit. You will have a different spouse at the end of the month. (The different spouse may actually be you.)
1. For the next 30 days, do not say anything critical to your spouse. Try to be positive in your words and deeds. It doesn’t mean you ignore bad behavior. Just handle it in a calm and even-toned manner.
This doesn’t mean you bypass marriage counseling either. Sin needs to be confronted and addressed.
2. Replace your critical heart with love. (Positive and encouraging comments will flow out of it.) Say positive things to your spouse for the next 30 days. Make them sincere, and do it often. Do this both publicly and privately.
The key to overcoming this negative spirit is to swap out hate for love, tearing down for building up, and grief for grace.
Many of you will struggle with this after one day. Keep going! Your struggle only shows how deeply you are entrenched in blaming and criticism.
Check out these printables to give you more ideas on how to love well.
3. Pray for your spouse every day. This will help you change your attitude and forgive your spouse.
I highly suggest using the prayers written at the end of each chapter of The Power of a Praying Wife. Stormie O’Martian does an excellent job covering every subject possible. (There are 31 chapters)
When you get time, read the whole book, but for now, start praying the prayers every single day.
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What to Do After the 30-Day Marriage Challenge?
After the 30-day marriage challenge, examine your marriage. I believe you will have a much better attitude. And hopefully, you will see an overall change in the spirit of your marriage.
By all means, keep encouraging, loving, forgiving, etc.
Once you get the attention off your unhealthy reactions, your spouse will be more center stage to deal with the bigger stuff. Psychologically, your spouse needs to feel good at dealing with the small stuff, because they really need support when overcoming the big stuff.
Shaking off a critical attitude might seem like an impossible task, especially when it’s become a part of who you are. But don’t fret! If you ask the Holy Spirit, He will give you the power to truly love your spouse like Jesus loves you.
Did you do the 30-day marriage challenge? Comment below.
Is Your Marriage Struggling? Do You Want to Change Your Spouse?
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