A Bible teacher shared that a strong marriage requires meeting the needs of the spouses. Thus, a husband and his wife must change for each other.
"Nobody arrives ready. For a marriage to grow strong and healthy, each person has to change to meet the other's needs," Cathe Laurie wrote on Charisma Magazine.
Laurie is a podcaster, the director of a women's ministry in Harvest Christian Fellowship (HCF) and wife of HCF Senior Pastor Greg Laurie.
She said that asking a spouse to change is never easy. However, being married for almost 50 years, Laurie shared the lessons she learned that helped strengthen her marriage.
First, checking the heart.
"A good starting point is to examine my motives in wanting my husband to change," she declared.
She disclosed that before she comes to her husband to point out something that needs to be changed, Laurie checks herself first, applying the Biblical principle in Matthew 7:3-5, and tries to understand his reason.
"I need to ask the Holy Spirit to show me what fuels my feelings by examining them through the light of God's Word. So often, He gives me a filter to run things through before I even go to Greg with an issue," she also stated.
Next, choosing the right time to discuss the issue.
The Bible teacher shared that she and her husband avoid having the discussion when they are tired, in a hurry, "in the heat of conflict," or hungry. She discouraged having this kind of conversation when the couple's emotions are high and suggested to find a better time instead, wherein spouses can talk about the issue calmly.
Third, choosing "battles."
Laurie stressed that nagging, complaining, verbal manipulation and silent treatment do not help in addressing an issue between spouses.
If something needs to be raised, one must tell it to the spouse after praying for it. The individual must also be willing to negotiate and extend grace to other person.
Fourth, tolerance for differences.
Laurie revealed that she and her husband have different relational backgrounds, wherein her parents stayed married all their lives, while her husband belonged to a broken home. This results to also having differences in expressing themselves.
"So, understanding how we communicated was crucial for us. I needed to be sensitive to his upbringing and speak to him effectively and constructively," she noted.
Finally, prioritizing prayer.
"Making prayer my default-and continuing-course of action keeps me in a place of depending on and cooperating with the Holy Spirit in my life and marriage. Greg is God's man, His child. He belongs first to God, and it's the Holy Spirit's job to change Greg, not mine!" she said.
She also emphasized that marriage should never be neglected but must be given "constant attention."
In conclusion, she urged the spouses to accept change in order to have a healthy marriage.
"Whether you have been married for a few months or many decades, I encourage you to not fear but embrace change-both in yourself and your spouse. A good marriage is like a fine wine: it improves with age," Laurie declared.