Marriage can be an enthralling and maddening venture. You spend your life with a person that you love everything about and yet somehow they manage to drive you to the brink of insanity some days.
Of course you recognize your own short comings, you have your fair share of stuff to deal with. But their shortcomings and their stuff, it’s enough to make anyone crazy you think.
Most years of our young marriage I have spent picking up the magnifying glass and holding it up to my husband. Assessing this flaws and scrutinizing his imperfections. The mentality of ‘if he would ____ then I would ____ ‘ had pervaded my thoughts.
We would have good weeks and months. But then we would slip back into our vicious cycle, which we referred to as our ‘shit cycle.’ We would get back into our familiar rut of unhealthy interactions, medicating behaviors and disconnection.
We would try and try. We would work on our marriage (which translated into, I tried to change him and he tried to change me). Yet nothing ever seemed to change.
And so finally, in the past few months, after some strong urging, wise counseling and utter brokenness, we dug in to do our own work.
He’s been doing his. I’ve been doing mine.
I’m not so involved in his, giving unwarranted feedback and offering unwanted opinions.
Instead of being consumed by and involved in what he is or isn’t doing that will make our marriage better, I’ve put my head down to do my own work.
Rather than picking up the magnifying glass to scrutinize him, I’ve pick up the mirror to assess myself.
And that act, holding up the mirror to myself instead of the magnifying glass to him is where the work has happened in our marriage.
The change in our marriage, the healthy patterns we have developed, the medication behaviors we have let go of and the connection we have experienced, that is all a result of us doing our individual work. Not trying to work on one another. Not by scrutinizing the other but by assessing ourselves.
It’s humbling and hard work. It’s often counterintuitive and countercultural.
But the best way to change your husband is to start by holding the mirror up to yourself.