When I Stopped Trying To Change My Spouse

by | May 7, 2015 | Marriage

As our son’s high school graduation quickly approaches, I’ve spent days going through photos of simpler times. Precious memories are attached to each photo of years past.

I came across an album of candid shots from our wedding day of nearly 23 years ago. Oh, how young we looked. Oh, the smiles on our faces, and the hope in our eyes.

We were helplessly, hopelessly, madly in love.

Bill Julie WeddingGoodness, my husband was handsome that day, and every day since, I might add. But there’s something about a guy in a tux with tails.

In relishing each photograph, I noticed something though. That day my husband did not wear a sign around his neck, nor one on his forehead that said “CHANGE ME.”

I didn’t consciously set out to change him early on in our marriage, but it didn’t take me long to realize he did things different than me.

He managed his money differently.

He folded clothes and towels differently.

He cooked differently.

He cleaned and organized differently.

He drove differently.

He saw life from a different perspective than me.

But after all, my way was the correct way. Right??

It wasn’t until after talking at length with my pastor that I was able to see neither one of us was wrong in how we did things. We just did things differently.

I’ll never forget the story she shared of her marriage. Her husband asked her one day where his striped boxer shorts were. She said he didn’t own a pair of striped shorts. After much conversation, they figured out which shorts he was referring to. Those particular shorts had stripes going around and up and down. He saw them as striped shorts, and she saw them as plaid shorts.

Were either one of them wrong? No. They just saw the shorts differently.

As with my husband and I. We saw and did things differently.

It was a good object lesson for me. I stopped trying to have my husband do and see things my way. I stopped thinking I needed to change him. Only God has power to change someone. I do not. Instead of trying to conform my husband to my standards, I should have been praying all along for him to be conformed to God standards, through God’s ways, and God’s will for his life.

God’s will for my husband’s life is much better than mine.

God's will for my husband's lifeOh, how I wish I could take back those early years.

I’m thankful my husband has a generous, forgiving, and loving heart, and I’m thankful God does too.

And you know? My husband has never once tried to change me, but I can imagine the many things he’s taken to God on my behalf.

We’ll celebrate 23 years of marriage in August. As we’ve grown together over the years, my ways and his ways have molded into “our ways.” It’s been a beautiful journey of keeping God in the center of it all.

If I may encourage you today, please learn from my mistakes. If you’re tempted to try to change someone, namely your spouse, give that job to God. Pray, and ask God to fulfill His will in his/her life. Then do all you can to lovingly support him/her. 

The shorts may be striped, or maybe they’re plaid. Either way, they are the same shorts. It’s okay to see things differently.

Blessings to you today, my friend.


It’s a blessing to link up with Suzie and friends for #livefreeThursday. It’s a great day to live free! Check out the great encouragement over there.

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  1. Michelle

    Perspective is a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing your story. #livefree

  2. Crystal Hornback

    I love this! My husband and I went on a similar roller coaster ride where we tried to change one another…. a ride that left us sick and shaky. Thankful for the CHANGE that happened within each of us as we allowed God to be at the center of our marriage! Thank you for sharing… I’m not sure there’s one married woman who can’t relate! Blessings! #livefree

    • Julie Lefebure

      I believe you hit the nail on the head here, Crystal… “as we allowed God to be at the center of our marriage.” That was key for us, too. Thanks for sharing and for stopping in. Bless you!

  3. Beth S.

    Such good wisdom, Julie. I too spent many years thinking I could change my husband. What joy to come to a place of loving him through the eyes of Jesus. That isn’t to say I don’t have moments of falling short of that goal, but they are far less often. Blessings.

    • Julie Lefebure

      Amen, Beth. Glad we can walk this road together and encourage one another!

  4. Suzie Eller

    What a great visual with the shorts! Love this, Julie. Thank you so much for being a part of #livefreeThursday. You are a blessing. <3

    • Julie Lefebure

      Thank you, Suzie! You are a blessing to me! Thank you for hosting the link each week.

  5. Kim Stewart

    Julie, I LOVE that picture! Thanks for inspiring me to #livefree in my marriage today!

    • Julie Lefebure

      Hi Kim! Thank you for your continued encouragement. God bless you, friend!


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