Right now, my kids are 5, 4, and 14 months. To be completely honest, these little years are not my favorite due to the sheer amount of care these three small boys require. I've never been one of those moms who mourned the passing of each stage of babyhood and wished they would stay tiny forever. However, the thing that I do love about these little years is observing all those light bulb moments that happen as each child has learned a new skill. My kids are a work in progress and seeing them learn new things is absolutely thrilling and fascinating. It's amazing how they don't get something and they don't get something and you start to think they'll never get it and then suddenly they get it. Somehow, even though you have brief moments of thinking they'll never learn how to crawl or walk or read, your true expectations are never that they will not grow or mature. You never expect them to stay the same. You never expect them to constantly fail. What kind of a mother would you be if you didn't believe in your kids and their potential?
For some reason, it's harder to think that way about our husbands.
Your husband is also a work in progress. Maybe you have an area in your marriage where you've struggled for years and you just think he's never going to get it. Sometimes he'll even acknowledge that he knows he needs to change, but it hasn't quite clicked. Maybe a counselor has given him strategies for confronting that behavior and making an effort to change. And yet, the same behavior keeps popping up. So, you stop expecting good things. It's too discouraging to be continually disappointed.
Just like our kids can figure out that we expect them to fail, so can our husbands. It's certainly not a magic cure, but I can't help but wonder how much it affects a man to know that his wife believes in him, can see past the sin to the gifts God has given him, and believes that he has the strength to change.
Back when I met Dave, he was not what you would call the model of a Christian man. Basically, he was a partier and a player. I initially refused to date him because of those behaviors, but at the same time, I also clearly saw his heart and his strengths and believed that he could be a better man. We got married and struggled in some similar areas, but I remember repeating to him frequently, even when he failed, that he was a good man. Somehow, even though the same mistakes kept happening for a few years, God gave me a hope to see what could be instead of what was. He gave me eyes to see inside Dave's heart instead of focusing on disappointing behavior.
Remember that if your husband is a believer, he will always have the Holy Spirit within his heart convicting him and prompting him to change. He's got the power of God and he has grace covering his every sin. Every time you choose to believe he's only going to fail yet again, you forget that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor 5:17).
In many ways, choosing to not believe he can change and choosing to hold onto the bitterness and disappointment is an expression of unforgiveness. I don't believe that God notices a sin we commit and thinks, "Wow, she just doesn't get it. I guess she'll never be different." No, we're forgiven. Every single sin is blotted out. And we're commanded to forgive others - even our husbands - in the same way. Unforgiveness will kill your marriage. And it will cause any love for your husband to dissolve. Can you allow your husband the benefit of the doubt? Can you grasp on to his good qualities and verbalize to him that you're in his corner and that you believe that the things you both want to change can be different? Can you forgive him in the way that Christ forgave you?
Sharing with: The Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, Graceful, The Wellspring, NOBH, Monday's Musings, Covered in Grace, Rachel Wojo, Yes They're All Ours, Matrimonial Mondays, Time Warp Wife, Far Above Rubies, Growing Home, Thankful Homemaker