Marriage Challenge: How to Change You Husband In 30 Days
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Do you think a marriage challenge would help you and your spouse?
Don’t worry. It’s ok to admit you are stuck in a rut. No one is immune from life’s troubles. We all have times of conflict and disharmony.
Perhaps you feel like your marriage is so bad that it is hopeless and a marriage challenge wouldn’t work. In fact, there is little or no communication between you and your spouse any longer. You have both shut down.
And now you are doing the blame game. Each of you pointing fingers, thinking the other person needs to change first.
And then the classic line erupts from one of your mouths, “If only my spouse would stop doing ______, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
Somehow you have it in your brain that if you criticize your marriage partner long enough, something will be different. You will force a change.
Your spouse may try to please you for a while, but eventually, the change won’t be permanent because it is not from the heart. And many times resentment follows the forced change.
The reality is you can only change yourself–not your spouse.
In this post, I am going to talk about a possible problem, a critical spirit, and how to stop it with a marriage challenge. You will be shocked how positive words will affect your spouse.
Do You Have a Critical Spirit?
A critical spirit is “a negative attitude of the heart that seeks to condemn, tear down, and destroy with words. In contrast, constructive criticism involves opinions that are meant to build up.”
Many times, a critical person says he is coming from a place of help, guidance, or advice when making suggestions. He wants to make sure you do it “right.”
Unfortunately, “right” is ambiguous to most people because many tasks can be done “right” in multiple ways. Example: dishes, laundry, cooking, yard work, cleaning, and parenting can all be accomplished in various ways.
In reality, the “help or advice” given is actually nitpicky, judgemental, or controlling. What it says is, “I don’t approve of you.”
A critical spirit can leave the other person feeling completely useless, inadequate, or even feeling stupid because “right” wasn’t achieved.
Being right or perfect becomes more important than the spouse or the relationship. You are contributing to your marriage problems when you do this.
This is why a critical spirit is wrong and sinful. In fact, it is destructive to any relationship. No one likes to be pushed or forced to do things a “certain way” when there are multiple ways to do them.
The criticism may start with little things like how she balances the checkbook, cleans the house, or makes dinner. Or how he bathes the kids, squeezes the toothpaste, or mows the lawn.
After a while, you start criticizing and embarrassing her in public or berating him in front of the kids.
Over time, the narrative of your marriage becomes hostile. You are constantly cutting each other down.
Sooner or later a critical spirit will erode the marriage until there is nothing left. This is when the marriage is most vulnerable. A man will look for another woman who will admire him, and a woman will look for a man who will cherish her.
If you have a critical spirit, you could be driving your spouse away into the arms of another person who will appreciate what you have.
This is Satan’s strategy to tear your marriage apart. And it is working…really well.
Did you know Satan is called “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10)? Are you following in the same behavior?
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The Root Cause of a Critical Spirit
The root cause of a critical spirit is hard to identify. In my research, I found all sorts of reasons. I am highlighting just a few:
1. It was modeled in childhood
Perhaps, this is how your parents modeled marriage. And now you are repeating it. The thing you hated the most when you were a child is part of who you are now. You criticize your spouse just like your mom criticized your dad or vice versa.
2. Pride or insecurity.
Pride and insecurity can worm its way into our hearts. We feel superior when we criticize, berate, or correct our spouse. That ugly spirit inside of us is threatened by someone else doing things a different way. Or even better.
There is a sort of righteous indignation or rigid view about how things are to be done. While it is true some tasks have to be done in a certain manner, we find it difficult to tolerate preferences or personality differences.
3. Negative or bad attitude.
Some people are just going to have a bad attitude or choose to be negative. It may be because of work, family of origin issues, illness, or some other pressing problem.
No matter how things are done, it is wrong. This kind of behavior is difficult to tolerate. Over time, negativity can ruin the marriage and the atmosphere of the home.
4. Anger and unforgiveness.
A spouse who is angry and unforgiving will keep poisoning the marriage with acidic remarks, not allowing for forgiveness or healing to take place.
One of my friends, who does marriage counseling, says when she sees a spouse who is highly critical or verbally abusive (due to infidelity or some other problem) she knows the marriage is in serious trouble. If the critical spirit doesn’t leave then it will be next to impossible to move forward.
The Bible says, “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that builds up and provides what is needed so that what you say will do good to those who hear you” (Eph 4:29-Good News Translation).
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How to Have a Healthy Marriage
If you want to move forward into a healthy marriage and deal with your marriage problems, it is important to examine your heart and see if you are the one poisoning your marriage with a critical spirit.
God does not act this way and neither should you. God is 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).
It doesn’t matter how big or small your marriage problems are. A critical spirit is toxic.
Marriage Challenge: The next time you feel your spouse is doing something wrong, close your mouth and breathe. I know this is going to throw some of you overboard when I say this, but no one is going to die if the dishwasher is not loaded your way.
It is okay if your spouse does things differently. Embrace the fact that he or she is helping.
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.
Related: Read this article on encouragement 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! This is the spirit of the marriage challenge.
Do the 3o-Day Marriage Challenge-It Will Transform Your Marriage!
Try this for 30 days. You will have a different husband at the end of the month.
1. For the next 30 days, do not say anything negative to your husband. Nothing to him or about him to anyone else.
2. Replace the negative talk with this routine. Only give positive and encouraging comments to your husband for the next 30 days. Make them sincere, and do it often. Make sure you talk publicly about how wonderful he is both when he is listening and when he is not.
Many of you will struggle with this after one day. Keep going! Your struggle only shows how deeply you have gone into negativity, and how desperately you need to reverse the tone. You can do this!
After 30 days, examine your marriage. I bet you will find your spouse is different, and most of all, you are different too. You will have a much better attitude about your husband. (This doesn’t mean you bypass marriage counseling if needed.)
If you want to really push it along, pray for him every day. This will help your attitude and reinforce the marriage challenge. I challenge you to try the marriage challenge!
Are you critical of your spouse? I would love to hear how your 30-day challenge goes. Leave it in the comments.
Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!
Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store.
This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family, but it also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.
Creating Family Memories Book
Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids. It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.
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