I remember early in our marriage when I would see a flaw or annoyance in Joe, my first thought was, How do I get him to…. and fill in the blank with whatever the latest issue was. It’s clear as day to me, the ways he needed to change, to make me happier, to fulfill my definition of what’s right. And I found myself thinking, I can be the one to get him to do those things. (Cue the sinister rubbing of hands.)
However, at its root, trying to get someone to do anything is pretty much the definition of controlling, and then when that doesn’t work, we resort to manipulation. We want that person to do something, for our benefit, and we’ll even use deceitful, I mean it’s not that deceitful right? ways to achieve the outcome we want. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be married to someone who was that set on changing me.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have enormous influence on our spouse or the people around us. Our ability to influence is enormous, if we learn how to steward it well. We can affect change when it is rooted in honesty, and truly wanting the best for someone else. Self-sacrifice, self-control, and submitting the outcome to God is where we start.