The Official “Husband Improvement Program”*

When I first met my husband, he seemed like THE perfect man. My mom likes to tease me that I once said he’s the closest thing to Jesus. Of course, I deny saying such a ridiculous thing! Mom insists I did and I guess I WAS a little love struck. Love makes you do and say some CRAZY stuff!

Once you marry a person, you find out all those “special” little things about them that you were blind to previously. You know what I’m talking about. The way he snores at night. The way he slurps his soup or the milk in his cereal bowl. The messiness or the other extreme of OCD cleanness. Wet towels on the bed. Socks left everywhere, turned inside out…jeans too. The inability to change the empty toilet paper roll. And so on…know what I mean?

Now these are “little” issues in the grand scheme of the world and life in general. Annoying at times (or always), yes. But we can deal with these little nuances in our spouse, right? If you said, “No,” girlfriend, you need to step back and take an eval of your life. Any time I start feeling like a psychotic woman, having to hear that snoring for ONE.MORE.SECOND, I stop and think about how much I love my husband and how wonderful he is to me and the kids. He’s such a wonderful daddy and provider. We are so blessed to have him in our lives. Truly. Then, of course, I give him a violent shake and make him roll over. When he throws his wet towel on my side of the bed, I just shut my mouth and hang it up for him. It’s no reason to start World War III. It’s all about perspective people! Or so I’ve learned…

I’m a fixer by nature. When I come upon a problem, I feel the need to find a solution. I frequently fight the urge to jump in and “save the day.” All my life I’ve been like this! I looked at my husband and saw some problems, the need for some fixin’ up. Can you feel the trouble brewing? Something in me told me it was not right, but I just couldn’t help myself!

The plan for an overhaul on my main man was not met with enthusiasm by all parties involved. Lew has been quite resistant to Susie’s Official “Husband Improvement Program.” My need to fix my man went much deeper than wet towels, dirty socks and toilet paper rolls. His behavior, his speech/grammar and level of spirituality went on the “to-do” list, as well. I attempted to micro-manage his relationship with God. I told him what he should and should not be doing, saying and feeling. I expressed great displeasure and disappointment with him when he did not measure up to MY standards. *Show this to your husband and then tell him how blessed he is to have YOU for his wife and not me! 😉

Now, I’m not going to go into my issues of why I’m such a control freak. That would take up more time and space than this blog warrants. But, I will share with you how I have changed.

In an effort to catch my husband “up-to-speed” in the program, I nagged him, criticized him, questioned him, badgered him, tried to make him feel guilty, and more. My efforts to force my convictions and standards into his very being drove a wedge between us. My actions and his non-action caused frustration, great anxiety and stress within me. And my hubby felt as if he didn’t measure up, he felt inadequate as a husband, like he could do nothing to make me happy, like he could do nothing right for me. Sounds like a recipe for misery, eh?

I will add a disclaimer in my defense here: My motives were in the right place. I see what an awesome person my husband is. He is gifted with many talents and abilities that I know God wants to use in great ways in His life. I, being the person I am, want to help him get to the place where he is being “all he can be.” I love him and want the best things for him. Okay, that being said, let’s move on.

Of course I prayed for my husband while putting him through the “program.” One day, I was having a talk with the Lord and begging him to make Lew this and make Lew that. And do you know what He said? Something like this…”Susie, I love Lew way more than you ever could. Relax, I’m in control. I’m working on him and making him what I want him to be. Leave him ALONE!”

Ka-Boom. Schmack down.

Sigh. Okay, okay. I get it.

Around this same time, I received a daily devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries in my email. It was all about praying for husbands, covering them daily in prayer from head to foot. I printed it out and hung it on my kitchen wall. I read it every day. For weeks, for months, for years…to this very day. Somewhere along the way, I’m not even sure when, things began to change between he and I. The interesting thing is that I’m not sure if he is the one who changed or if I am the one who changed. You see, sometimes when we pray, WE are the ones who change. I’m not saying that my husband has not become a better man, but MY attitude, demeanor and actions changed too. Prayer works, people. It works.

With God all things are possible.

Lew knew that I was praying for him each day. Not because I told him, but because he saw the paper hanging on my kitchen wall. I believe he felt my prayers each day as he drove to his job. That knowledge alone empowered him as a husband and as a man. He read what I prayed. He saw the desire of my heart for him. God began speaking to him about our life. He shared, we talked. Instead of him asking me questions about God and the Bible all the time, now he gives me great advice and counsel according to God’s Word, as well. His relationship with God has grown exponentially. I feel confident, safe and secure with my husband. He feels loved, accepted and affirmed as a husband. One very important point to take away: The changes that took place in me and Lew had nothing to do with what I could do in my own power (the nagging, criticizing, fixing, etc). It was only because of prayer and the surrender of my life and my husband to God. Period.

Our pastor talks about how marriage can be like a little slice of heaven on Earth. I used to think, “Yeah right. That’s never happening in this house.” But lo and behold, my marriage to Lew IS a piece of heaven to me. Not perfect, of course. But REALLY great!

In closing, I encourage you, dear wife, to stop nagging and start praying for your husband. Stop trying to change your man and start working on yourself instead. Place your husband in God’s hands, no matter how bad you think he is. He’ll see the change in you and get aboard. It may take some time, but with God’s help, your marriage can be that little piece of heaven you so desire. Below, I’ve posted the link to “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe.” Please, print it out, hang it where you will see it every day and start praying!

*Susie’s Official “Husband Improvement Program” is not an actual program used for the improvement of a husband’s unsavory behaviors. It is a fictional, literary expression of the author’s feeble attempts to change her own husband. No studies have been conducted to test the program, save the author’s own. As stated above, the “Husband Improvement Program” resulted in the epic fail of peace and harmony within the home of the testers. Use at your own poor discretion and the ultimate demise of a happy marriage.

Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. ..
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.
Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord.