Richard Paul Evans seemed to have it all—five beautiful kids, a gorgeous home in Utah, and a successful career as a New York Times bestselling author. But he wasn’t happy. His marriage was in terrible shape and his struggles with his wife, Keri, had only grown more difficult through the years. It got to the point where Richard looked forward to being away from home on book tours.
One night, after a long-distance fight on the phone that ended with Keri hanging up in mid-shout, Richard found himself in the shower of his hotel room yelling at God and crying out for help. Why had he married someone so different from him? Why couldn’t she change? And then, in his despair, a profound realization came to him that ended up changing everything: He couldn’t change his wife, he could only change himself.
It’s true, isn’t it? No matter how much you nag, cajole, plead, or pray for your spouse to change, the only person you really have the ability to change is you. Becoming the best-version-of-yourself will help you love your spouse and yourself in a new better way. As hard as change can be, there are plenty of resources to help you start. Perfectly Yourself is a favorite of mine.
Richard asked God to help him figure out how he could change. He was inspired to start focusing more attention on his wife and her needs, rather than on himself. So he went home and began to ask her every morning how he could make her day better. He kept doing it, day after day, week after week, and before long the walls between them began tumbling down, and their relationship became warmer, more intimate, and much more harmonious.
In his hotel room far away from home that night, and in the days and months after, Richard discovered what may just be the best marriage advice ever: If you want a better marriage, change yourself first.
When you get serious about personal change, your marriage will change, too. Because as you begin to live more authentically, with greater humility, commitment and love, it has a powerful affect on all those around you, especially your spouse and those closest to you.
So how do you begin?
First, ask God for inspiration, guidance, and help. Then start with one concrete thing. Maybe, like Richard, you will decide to focus on your spouse each day, like doing something helpful, or saying three kind things. Or maybe you need to commit to something you know your spouse deeply wants you to do but you’ve been dragging your feet. Whatever it is, if you take your focus off what your spouse needs to change and commit to changing yourself first, your marriage will be enriched in ways that may surprise you.
Have a free weekend and want to connect with your spouse and enrich your marriage? Join Dr. Allen Hunt for an event that is sure to bring new Passion and Purpose to your marriage.