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. 

Related: The Best Way to Change Your Husband Through Prayer

How to Change Your Husband in 30 Days

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.

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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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Husband and wife in bed with their backs to each other.

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.

Related: Why Laughter in Marriage is Important

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).

Related: How to Forgive Those Who Hurt You and Let Go of the Past

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How to Change Your Husband in 30 Days

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.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing ” (1 Thessalonians 5:11-NIV).

Husband and wife holding hands. He is wearing a suit and she is wearing gloves.

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. 


Book on Family Estrangement From a Christian Point of View

Are you experiencing family problems? Perhaps you and a loved one are no longer speaking. Don’t go another day without reading this book. It addresses family problems and estrangement from a biblical point of view. Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart is on Amazon or in your favorite digital store. 

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book

Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.

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Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Parenting and Family. This is a place for moms with preschool-age kids or older to talk about their struggles with parenting, family life, education, or marriage. You will find biblically-based advice from other moms who want to raise godly kids.

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Julie Plagens


  1. Romina Gomez on March 24, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    I just loved this part “Your struggle only shows how deeply you have gone into negativity”. Thabk you very much for beeing so clear and brave in writting those words. Those were the push I needed. Ready to bring more joy and gratitude to my marriage and family right now!!

    • Julie Plagens on April 21, 2019 at 7:52 pm

      Romina, I am so glad this was helpful for you. Dealing with your part will definitely help your marriage in so many ways. Praying for your spouse will really push it along. God can help the most troubled marriages if we will put a stake in the ground and say no more.

  2. Erin on March 23, 2019 at 11:27 am

    You bring up some great points that I use when I’m doing therapy!

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 1:04 pm

      Erin, I am so glad that you use these same points in therapy. Having a critical spirit is destructive in any marriage. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Erin @ on March 22, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    There is so much truth here! I’ve found that the things I nag and fuss about the most are the things that become sore spots in our marriage, but when I change the narrative and instead begin to encourage and come along side my husband, real change begins to happen. But it’s not just his actions that change, it’s my heart and attitude toward him ❤️

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 1:06 pm

      Erin, yes! You have the concept down. I know it is tempting to push your husband to change, but you can only change yourself. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Sara on March 19, 2019 at 8:52 am

    I have found this to be so true in my marriage as well as in my relationship with my children. When I am overly critical and don’t leave room for grace or personality differences then it tears us apart. I have had to learn to tame my tongue and it has made a huge difference in our family.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      Sara, I know what you mean. It is easy to filter everything through your own lens and not see outside that scope. We miss so much when we don’t have empathy for others and understand how they feel. Thanks for your comment.

  5. meg on February 28, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    It seems like such an uphill battle to get rid of this spirit, its hard work working on yourself!

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 10:58 pm

      Meg, yes, it can be hard. Thank heavens we have a God who can give us the power to control our tongue.

  6. Carla Natali on February 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I couldn´t agree more with you!
    I have a critical spirit and I´m coincidentally addressing this issue on my next post, tomorrow!
    How I found a way to stop criticizing my husband and focus on my own flaws instead and how that made my 20-year-old marriage feel like it was brand new again!

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 10:59 pm

      Carla, that is great. I hope you share how and what you have done to make your marriage new again. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Vaishali on February 27, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    I think being critical is not bad as long as love and understanding trumps it

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:00 pm

      Vaishall, I guess it depends if you are the one giving or receiving. I have run across some critical people and it is not fun being the object of their attention. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Bailey on February 27, 2019 at 7:24 am

    It’s so important to address this! It makes me cringe when I see couples do this but I know I’m SO inclined to be critical. I know praying and asking the Holy Spirit to help guard my mind and mouth from criticism.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:01 pm

      Bailey, I think it is in our DNA to want to criticize others. I have to really watch my mouth too. Thanks for your comment.

  9. Kristin B Cook on February 27, 2019 at 5:12 am

    Yes! These are all so true! I often have a critical spirit. Some of it comes from insecurities, but I also saw this critical spirit modeled in one of my parents because of their anger in the marriage. It’s so easy to get caught up in a cycle of “how your parents did things” but I have been trying to improve because like you said, we are a team and my husband should be cheered on, not criticized.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:02 pm

      Kristin, it is amazing when you shower someone with praise instead of criticism. Good for you for working on it. That is the best thing possible.

  10. Shanab on February 27, 2019 at 12:59 am

    Super introspective post. I think everyone has every emotion at some time and we should all be self aware.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:04 pm

      Shanab, yes it good to be self-aware. I think we all have to work on things in our life. It is just a part of our nature.

  11. Kristal Molina on February 26, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    This post was much needed. THank you so much for this post. I have noticed that I do have a critical spirit at times and it was definitely modeled by my mom within her marriage during my childhood. Something I certainly don’t want to repeat. Praying and working on it for sure.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:05 pm

      I am so glad you are working on yourself. We all have issues to deal with from time to time. Thanks for your comment.

  12. candy on February 26, 2019 at 11:05 am

    I think we all do at times so always something to keep working on.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:06 pm

      Candy, yes, I do think we have to keep working on our stuff! Thanks for your comment.

  13. Cendu on February 26, 2019 at 8:56 am

    This is a new concept to me and I found it very interesting. I never looked at it quite like this. Sometimes you get so caught up in being right instead of fixing the relationship. You are right, if it isn’t constructive it seems it won’t actually fix a problem.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:07 pm

      Cendu, I am glad you are looking at things in a different way. Hope it helps you with your marriage.

  14. aisasami on February 26, 2019 at 6:10 am

    What a great post. I never experience a bad marriage because I am not but I have seen them fall apart.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:08 pm

      Alsasami, I have seen quite a few fall apart too. Thanks for your comment.

  15. Sheena Moncatar on February 26, 2019 at 6:05 am

    Oops, I am single and not yet ready to settle down. However, your post got me glued ’till the end. To make a marriage work it actually involves a whole lot of effort from both parties. Lastly, I agree that a critical spirit is the heart’s “negative attitude” that seeks to condemn, tear down, and destroy with words. But I do know that at the end of the day when two parties are willing to compromise, everything is going to be alright.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:09 pm

      Sheena, I am so thrilled you enjoyed this post. Something to think about if you get married someday. Thanks for your comment!

  16. Mane on February 26, 2019 at 4:42 am

    Thank you for sharing this very informative. Although I’m not yet married I will always remember your points and Yes I agree to all, the Root Cause Of A Critical Spirit especially when pride intervenes.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:10 pm

      Mane, yes, pride does tend to seep into marriages from time to time. Thanks for your comment!

  17. Elizabeth O on February 26, 2019 at 2:27 am

    The points you mentioned here is very true. They can create a cause in the marriage and to run smoothly our marriage life we should avoid these circumstances.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      Elizabeth, yes, it is good to avoid a critical spirit in marriage. Thanks for your comment.

  18. Matija Antonić on February 26, 2019 at 1:20 am

    We all know that marriage is never gonna be easy, there will be hard times and fights, but during those times you shouldn’t blame your spouse for things you have done, if you see there is a problem you need to talk it out, communication is key to keeping a marriage last 😀

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      Matija, you are so right. There is no substitute for good communication.

  19. Nina Nichols on February 25, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    The success of a marriage is a two-way process. I am blessed to have a husband who is patient and very forgiving. I think it is just because we just respect each other so much.

  20. Folabest on February 25, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    This is so thoughtful of yours to share. Sometimes we forget that in love we are one.

  21. Monidipa Dutta on February 25, 2019 at 10:14 am

    In marriages, stress is a leading cause of interpersonal tension and dysfunctional relationships. … A lot of the stress in marriage is avoidable when both parties are aware of stressful triggers.

  22. Janay on February 25, 2019 at 9:24 am

    I am not married but I found this very interesting. My parents have been almost married for 30 years I can I se from their marriage that marriage is not easy. However marriage can last if two people are willing to fight.

  23. Tracy C on February 25, 2019 at 9:20 am

    You are so right when you wrote that you can’t change another person. Trying will just make you crazy.

  24. Kyanne Mader on February 25, 2019 at 7:20 am

    I think there are many concepts here that we need to remember. There are definitely things I will apply in my marriage.

  25. Keshia Richmond on February 25, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Tons of people have a critical spirit and this was such an interesting read.

  26. maysz on February 25, 2019 at 4:51 am

    I’ m not married yet but some of my friends had a problem with marriage but they are the strong bond relationship to resolve their problems.

  27. Jena Leigh on February 25, 2019 at 3:36 am

    I have never heard of the term critcal spirit. Seems like a nicer title of a narcissist.

  28. Ashli on February 24, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    I’ve never even heard of this before so this whole post was a learning experience for me! great job!

  29. Arianne p on February 24, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Great post, going o book mark this. Sometimes I feel as tho I’m being unfair to my husband, he’s a saint but I completely identify with many of these.

  30. Samar on February 24, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    I didn’t know about the term critical spirit.

    Thanks for sharing.

  31. Corinne on February 24, 2019 at 10:21 am

    This is something I’m working on in my marriage. We both realized that we were wrong, so we decided to go to marriage counseling. My husband and I are getting much better at not criticizing each other, it’s great.

  32. Andrew on February 24, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Marriage is not easy, but the real marriage will resolve the problems!

  33. Akash on February 24, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Nice informative article

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