When Your Spouse Won’t Change

These are common phrases that hit the counseling room, prayer request time in group, and across the coffee shop table with a friend. There is a real pain in these sentiments. Sometimes these thoughts come pouring out before the marriage is even a year or two old. Did this couple make a mistake? Should she leave him? Does he consider divorce? God calls us to lay our life down for our spouse. What does that look like when it feels like we are the only ones upholding the covenant?

1. Pursue deeper study

Find a discipleship group to dig deep and study the scriptures with. Create a rhythm of regular Bible reading that puts you through entire books of the Bible. There is nothing wrong with a 5-minute email devotional, but they won’t feed your soul when it feels like your spouse is sucking it out of you. Don’t give up. Find something that works, until it feels unnatural to not read the scriptures. 

2. Go to counseling alone 

Find a biblical mental health counselor that you trust, and go to them alone. Make it a safe space to share your doubts, your fears, your sin, and your brokenness. Your marriage may always be a place of great trial, but you can change the way you react to it. Look deeply at the issues you bring to the marriage and the ways that you are reacting in unhealthy ways, and work to change them. 

3. Find a friend to tell your scary thoughts to

Cultivate a friendship with a trusted friend of the same gender. Someone that has a healthy marriage — not someone to commiserate with. Text and call constantly. Share your temptations and the really scary stuff that crosses your mind. Allow them to speak truth to you. Listen. Ponder what they say. When you are in the midst of a hard moment, let them know, so they can pray for you and speak life over you. Bring the darkness into the light.