Why is it someone vows to love their spouse as they are and then spends the rest of the time trying to change him/her?
My feathers ruffled a bit and I became a tad prickly. I am not normally one to discuss marriage (because I feel so passionately about it). However, though the question was most likely posed in jest I felt it deserved a response…and one not as exasperated as I. My reply, simply stated, “Perhaps the person did not truly know his/her spouse when they married him/her.”
I shall use myself as an example. I grew up in the body of Christ. I was baptized as a teenager and my heart belonged to God (and Jesus). He was/is my everything, my all in all. The love, felt as though it was going to explode from my body which was too inadequate to house it all. Then, something horrible happened. In college I became bitter (not at God but at the world) and (foolishly) I rebelled against the One I loved the most! (It’s ridiculous! Secular Psychology might call it “displaced anger”.) I was covered in ugly, sin when I met my husband and stayed that way for a handful of years. I was, in essence, the prodigal "son". And, as with him, my Father was waiting for me at "home" (and called me back to the church). With great repentance, utter remorse, and devastating sorrow I returned, vowing never to stray again! Now, bear in mind, my husband never knew the obedient me…he only knew the rebel. This, understandably, could have been a deal breaker!
I believe Jesus meets us where we are (at the particular moment when we feel Him drawing us to Him). There is a song I love, currently, called “Come As You Are”. God’s word says we are a work in progress! (Philippians 1:6). Further, I feel spouses are like iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17). If I am up to no good, dishonoring God and not living to glorify Him…or if I sin against someone in the body, God’s word says it is the responsibility of those around me (my spouse, my family, my friends, my enemies, etc.) to set me straight (Matthew 18:15-20)…albeit very unpleasant for everyone.
Today, I see marriage as a dance. Generally, the man leads and does the lifting. If both try to lead, well, it turns out to be quite a mess...and perhaps even dangerous. Further, it is rare I see a female lift her male dance partner. Sometimes the rhythm gets lost or one is out of step and things get sketchy. Other times toes get stepped on (which is, of course, unpleasant). Every now and again, a gal might get dropped on her head. (I did, for real, have a dance partner who accidentally dropped me on my head, ONCE! I was angry. I fought back the tears as I scolded him. And, God love him, he was very apologetic…and probably a tad scared of me.) Then, there are the times when one feels he/she is a better performer than the other and actually considers (or sadder, tries) finding a new partner. The choreography is never going to be perfect! It takes an insane amount of dedication and countless hours of practice and commitment to make things look and flow beautifully. A multitude of mistakes get made and at times improvisation is necessary (especially when the judges are watching)! There are no "short cuts". There is, however, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into it. It takes years and years of practice to get the technique right. Overall, it might not be the best. Usually, there are other couples that are better, at times or even most times, that is just the way it is. But, unless you have a conceited, arrogant, selfish (or "harsh and badly behaved" (1 Samuel 25:3) or under the influence of something) partner, he/she knows your style the best. Oh yeah, and the more flexible (and trusting) you are, the better. Finally, I leave you with this:
(Most importantly, there is no better illustration of marriage than Christ and the church! Ephesians 5:22-33.)