“MY MATE NEEDS TO CHANGE” (Marriage Lies 6)
Every counselor knows they can’t listen to just one side of the story when there are relationship conflicts. No matter how clear everything seems or how convincing the person may be, the other side needs to be heard before conclusions can be drawn. That’s because there are always two sides. Seldom is it all one person’s fault while the other is completely innocent. Counselors know that, but Satan feeds that lie to anyone who will listen.
Single people can feel this way about their relationships with family or friends. Difficulties arise there as well. Are they faced or do we pass the blame off on someone else? It’s very easy to see the speck in someone else’s eye and miss the log in your own (Matthew 7:5).
It’s so easy to think that whatever happens is all their fault. We say, ”If they were like when we first met, we’d be fine, they’ve changed and expect too much of me.” “I’ve tried for years and it hasn’t helped, now its up to them.”
The lie behind the lie here is quite obvious: “It couldn’t be my fault.” “I’m doing OK.” “If they would change it’d be all right.” “If they would accept me like I am and stop trying to change me, our marriage would be OK.”
Sometimes the lie is the opposite: “It’s all my fault.” “I’m a mess and hopeless.” “I’ll never change.” “I’ll never be good enough for them.” “It’s impossible, so why should I even try?” “I’ll never be perfect.” Satan doesn’t care which form the lies takes because it all comes from pride and self-centeredness. He is the originator or pride and knows all about it (John 8:44; 1 Timothy 3:6).
The solution in both extremes is the same, look for where you can grow. Unrealistic expectations of ourselves, our mate or our marriage are the basis of many marriage problems. We bring assumptions into our relationship that are often idealistic and not possible, then wonder what is wrong when they aren’t met. Singles do that as well as married people. The truth is that no human being can meet our deepest needs, only God can do that (Philippians 4:19).
When we believe the lie that it’s my mate that needs to change, not me, then we develop a taker mentality, not a giver. We need to confess our critical, judgmental attitude. Jesus condemned those who look for fault in others but ignore the bigger problems in their own life (Matthew 7:5). To change John Kennedy’s famous quote, we should ask not what our mate can do for us but we can do for our mate. That’s what Jesus does for us.
We can’t change anyone else, only ourselves. We are called to unconditionally love our mate, like Jesus loves us (1 Corinthians 13). We need to honestly and humble ask God to show us where we need to grow and mature so we can be a better Christian and mate. God promises to help us grow (Philippians 1:6). There is nothing we can’t overcome with His grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). No matter what issues w face in our life or our marriage, God’s grace can help us cope and, through it, grow to become ore Christ-like.
The only person you can change is yourself? How are you coming along with that? How willing are you to let God change you? Take a few minutes to give Him the authority to change you where you need to be changed.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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