In the last three post, I have talked about roles of husbands and wives in a marriage. I've written about men needing to stand up and sacrifice themselves for their wives. I've written about the need for women to openly and constantly show admiration and respect for their husbands. I'v written about the conflict that will arise when these things don't happen. But here is the catch. You can't fix your husband or your wife. You can only work on yourself.
I have seen and talked to many young women whose husbands have not stepped up to the plate. Invariably, they try to "fix" him. Sometimes they give him ultimatums. Sometimes they make massive honey-do lists to spell out exactly how he should sacrifice himself for them. Sometimes they nag...and nag...and nag....and...well, you get the point. Sometime they whine and complain to anyone who will listen to them.
I have talked to young men whose wives are not acting as they ought, and they, too, try to "fix" their wives. They demand respect. They constantly push her to recognize every little thing that they do. They punish her....i.e. if she won't (fill in the blank), then I won't do something for her. They purposefully hurt her emotionally, to "let her see how it feels".
None of these approaches EVER does ANYTHING positive for a relationship. N-E-V-E-R.
Scripture teaches us that we each must walk our own path in service to God and His people, and that includes husbands and wives. We can strengthen and encourage each other. We can cheer each other on and warn of obstacles we see. We can even help one another keep going when we are tempted to give up. But I can't make you do right. And you can't make me. In fact, if you try, I'll probably get mad. I might just dig in my heels and refuse to change simply because I am offended.
So what do you do if your spouse is not fulfilling his or her role in your marriage?
Matthew 7 1-5 "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and wih what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother. Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
In other words, you do your job; you take care of your business. You reverence your husband. You cherish your wife. You fill your space. Don't do it because I said to. Don't do it to "show up" your spouse. Don't even do it for yourself. Do it as unto the Lord. Sacrifice yourself for your wife because He sacrificed Himself for you. Show a deep respect for your earthly husband as a show of respect for your spiritual Husband. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40 When you do this, one of two things will happen. Either, your spouse will start doing a better job of fulfilling his/her role, or you won't mind as much when he/she does not. And perhaps, in time, wisdom will be gained, and with the mote out of your eye, you will clearly see how to help your spouse and your marriage grow.