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Treasure Digest: This Old Spouse: Making Over Your Mate?

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Treasure Digest

This Old Spouse: Making Over Your Mate?

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With all the reality TV shows around, it probably won't be long till someone comes up with the ultimate makeover show: This Old Spouse. Even before marriage, many people already have a list of habits and characteristics they want to change in their mates.

Problem: It doesn't work.

Maybe after 12 years he'll start picking up his socks or she'll stop nagging, but don't count on it.

The methods we use to try to change our mates are "counterproductive at best," writes Gary Smalley in The Joy of Committed Love. Too often we mislabel our mates' differences as problems. He relates the story of Jim who devastated his wife with this outburst: "I'm sick and tired of you taking everything so seriously. You're just too sensitive! If I had known you were this emotional, I probably would never have married you." Mr. Smalley writes that Jim "fails to understand the basic difference between the natures of men and women. Jim has taken two of his wife's greatest natural strengths, her sensitivity and intuitive awareness of life, and labeled them weaknesses" (page 175).

The Bible advises changing ourselves as the only sure way to improve our marriages. What can we do for a marriage makeover? We can write our part of the script using scriptures such as Ephesians 5:21-33 Ephesians 5:21-33 [21] Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. [22] Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. [24] Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. [25] Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; [26] That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, [27] That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. [28] So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. [29] For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: [30] For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. [31] For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. [32] This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. [33] Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
American King James Version×
, Colossians 3:18-19 Colossians 3:18-19 [18] Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. [19] Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
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, 1 Peter 3:1-11 1 Peter 3:1-11 [1] Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; [2] While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. [3] Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; [4] But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. [5] For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: [6] Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, as long as you do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. [7] Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. [8] Finally, be you all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brothers, be pitiful, be courteous: [9] Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that you are thereunto called, that you should inherit a blessing. [10] For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: [11] Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
American King James Version×
, 1 Corinthians 7:4 1 Corinthians 7:4The wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband has not power of his own body, but the wife.
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and 13:4-8.