Remember when your husband was a convertible? Wind blowing through your hair, sun shaded by sunglasses and the two of you roaring to take on life as you headed down a blissful highway?
Now, the old boy is a broken down pick-up truck, barely worth driving considering the high price of gas.
What happened? Well . . . of course it’s the guy’s fault. Or at least it usually is.
He’s just not as . . . well . . . fun as he used to be. Not as loving. Not as caring. He doesn’t seem to make the marriage a priority any more. So what can we do?
It’s simple. We’ve got to fix your husband.
Well ladies. You are in the hands of a seasoned professional, overflowing with first-hand knowledge. After all, my wife has been married to a broken down jalopy of a soul mate for fifteen years.
Yes. The poor dear got herself sold a real lemon and only after some heavy duty divine intervention was she able to get me back on the marital road.
Okay, so she still is dealing with a clunker who backfires and spits out black smoke on occasion. But, if you would have seen the piece of work she started out with, you would shower her with admiration. So if your fellow, like me, is arrogant, lazy, self-centered, non-communicative, unmotivated and disinterested, I’m here to tell you there is hope for getting him refurbished back to manufacturer’s specifications.
If you follow these time-tested rules, and add in a little TLC, we’ll get you leaping in the air again shouting, “Oh, what a feeling.”
Rule #1 – Put Down your Tool Kit
I hope the title of this post didn’t give you the wrong idea. You see, you’re not actually going to do the repairs. That’s well beyond your skill set. Your beloved bloke is too far gone. After all, he’s a man.
So. If you’re standing there with wrench in hand, duct tape at the ready, preparing to swing your ball peen hammer, you’re going to need to stand down. I’m going to share something you probably already know: It ain’t gonna work, sister!
Trying to fix your husband on your own will shape-shift you from loving spouse to nagging wife in a heartbeat. No. This kind of job requires a Master Craftsman.
Your role in this is prayer, patience, and perseverance. Then, if by chance, your hubby actually manages to do something right, encourage him with every means possible. Guys are just like Flipper. We’ll do amazing tricks for you if you’ll toss us a few anchovies now and then. Nag us and we’ll head to open waters.
Rule #2 – Turn Off The TV and Get Out The Owner’s Manual
Fortunately, everything you ever wanted or needed to know about your husband has been carefully recorded and preserved for thousands of years. Yes. It’s all in your Bible.
But what you’ll have to do first is put away your magazines, the How-To-Books, the romance novels, and turn off the Oprah channel. Those aren’t answers. They’re distractions.
To get the answers you need, you’re going to need to refer to the manual written by the One who created your husband, and who loves him despite his many shortfallings.
Rule #3 – Check Out The Battery Connection
If your husband doesn’t have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, true repair is going to be impossible, and his miles remaining are few. The Great Physician and Teacher for us here on earth is the Holy Spirit. Without that connection, your husband is not to going to grow spiritually and your relationship is going to remain broken down on the side of the road. Sure. The seats may be fine leather, and the stereo might be fully digital, but at the core, both he and your marriage will be on a path of slow decay.
If your husband is a Bible-believing Christian, but his life is not evidencing his beliefs, it’s possible he’s allowed his battery cables to get corroded. The corrosive influences of the world are plenty: pornography, greed, career worshiping, envy, and addiction are just some of the few. Oftentimes only his wife and children see the emptiness of his faith at home as he’s gifted at being Mr. Wonderful to the rest of the world.
In either case, the Holy Spirit will do the heavy lifting once he is connected (or re-connected) and growing in the Lord. Prayer will be your greatest tool for helping to make this happen.
Rule #4 – Get Him Into The Shop
Helping your husband to build a stronger relationship with God is no small task. It will take a team effort to make this happen. This is why it’s vital to be an active participant in a local church. A vibrant church will teach the Bible and will stress the importance of building Godly relationships. These friendships will offer the greatest hope for your spouse.
If your husband refuses to go to church, you’ll have to bring church to him. How do you do that? It starts by remembering the Church is not a building, it’s a group of people. If you have Christian girlfriends with godly husbands, make an effort to socialize with them as much as possible. Helping your husband to forge friendships with other Christian men is the best strategy you can use to get him interested in church.
Sometimes getting him to be part of a small group is an excellent first step. He may refuse to go to church, but might be open to joining a couples group at someone’s home. It’s okay if he comes kicking and screaming. It’s good for him.
Rule #5 – Hire Some Mechanics You Can Trust
It might be possible that your husband is already abiding by rules one through four, but he remains a wreck. Unfortunately, there is a large percentage of Bible-thumping men who are sad sacks when it comes to loving their wives.
The problem is they come to church service but refuse to be serviced. They’ve got the “amens” and the” hallelujahs” down but feel the sermons are designed to help everyone else.
Your husband is not alone. Men are swimming in their own self-delusion. Our pride and self-righteousness keep us from facing the facts obvious to everyone else: We’re in need of serious repairs.
The fix for us is to find other men willing to be accountability partners in our life and who have both the courage and concern to get under the hood and let us know what’s wrong.
By nature, guys naturally become the Lone Ranger, glad to be the hero for everyone else, but eager to ride into the sunset when the light shines on us. We are embarrassed to let others know how alone we are, how fragile we are at the core.
Sometimes it’s one godly man or it’s a small group of men who are willing to stand beside your husband and help him start changing the oil, spark plugs, and if necessary, the head gasket.
God, in his deep mercy, put men in my life early in our marriage who selflessly served as mentors. These men loved me enough to confront me whenever my life drifted towards being a lie. They never hesitated when I needed a good tongue lashing. And whenever I fell into a ditch, they would jump in there with me, and together we would climb out.
When they would ask me how I’m doing as a husband and father, I would tell them the truth. Because I knew if I didn’t answer honestly they would say, “How about if we ask your wife?”
I know it’s disappointing to discover you can’t fix him on your own. It may even be somewhat hurtful.
But the secret is to put man’s competitive nature to work for you. If he hangs out with the right friends, he won’t be focusing on being the best softball player on the team. Instead, he and his friends will all be trying to prove who is the most loving, caring, and God-fearing husband and father of all.
Rule #6 – Allow Him To Believe It Was All His Idea
Now, of course, none of this will happen over night. Most of these steps will take time and much prayer. The change will be gradual and probably undetectable to most eyes.
But, over time, you’ll start to see that engine hum as it never has before. As it does, his short-term memory and fragile ego will want to take credit for his transformation.
It’s okay. Keep praying. The secret is between you and God.
After all. We said we’d fix him. That doesn’t mean we’ll make him perfect.
Looking for more from Michael K Reynolds? You might also enjoy The Evil of Applesauce?
Michael K. Reynolds is a writer with more than two decades of experience in crafting fiction, non-fiction, journalism, copywriting and documentary production. He is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency. He is the author of a series of Irish historical novels published by B&H Publishing Group. These highly acclaimed books are available in bookstores and libraries across the nation and beyond.