The one thing certain in my house growing up was that if three to four years had passed, it was time to get out the boxes and start packing were moving again! This meant we had to change houses, change churches, change schools, change friendships, change everything! While for most people the only thing certain in life is change, for us, the great certainty was moving and broken keepsakes during those moves right Mom?
Life is so much easier when we have a nice routine. Time can be organized and categorized neatly, like a refrigerator full of labeled Tupperware. You just do things and rarely have to think about what you are doing. But, what happens when someone changes the labels on your Tupperware? Or you run out of space for the Tupperware in the refrigerator? Or you open the door and it all crashes down around you? Or the refrigerator breaks down completely? How do you handle change, especially big change?
In some cases, having a routine is healthy and good. We need to be able to do the little mindless things without thinking about them. Unfortunately, when we become too lazy or too disinterested to change, our routine becomes a rut. And we know what a rut is, a grave that hasnt been filled in yet. Change is a part of growing and "If you are not growing, you are dying.
I recently read a good book on change by Dr. Spencer Johnson, the author of The One-Minute Manager. He entitled his new book on change, Who Moved My Cheese? After reading this book it struck me that an unwillingness to change is one of the big issues that kills marriages. Many mates simply refuse to change, adapt, and grow because it takes them outside their "comfort zone or requires too much effort.
I understand an unwillingness to change. As I have gotten older, I have a fondness for just the right pillow. It has to be just the right height, thickness, and softness. You take my pillow away, and Im not a happy snoozer! This is the way it can be with our bad habits in marriage. We get comfortable with them. We depend upon them. Dont you dare try to change them!
So lets get personal a minute about change.
What does it take to get you to change for your spouse?
Does it take a look, an tongue lashing, a separation, or hitting rock bottom through a divorce?
Maybe even a better question is: How, and where, do you go to get the power to change?
Many years ago an alcoholic asked this same question and he came up with the 12 step plan. This plan has been adapted for all sorts of life destroying issues. Lets remind ourselves of a few of these truths to aid those of us who want to change for the better.
Where do you go to get the power to change?
Confessing that we have a problem changing is a good way to start. (James 5:16a) Then we can do an exhaustive moral inventory of our commitment to our spouse, marriage, and family. There are probably other areas of our life that need a change as well. (2 Corinthians 13:5) As we take that inventory, we need also need to list those things we have done wrong or simply neglected, and ask for forgiveness from our spouse. The more specific our confession, the more they will see the genuineness our intent to grow, mature, and change.
But change isnt easy and were not going to do it by ourselves. Our strength has limitations. We need to pray to our Father in heaven (the True Higher Power), and ask for his forgiveness and help. (James 5:16b; 1 Corinthians 1:25) In addition, were going to need the encouragement of others, a Bible study group, a marriage support group, a mens or womens group.
Life is seldom smooth. Change is inevitable. But, we need to make intentional changes to grow and mature in our marriage relationship. If we can confess our shortcoming, ask for forgiveness, and find the true "power source, then our Father will help provide us a light and a ladder climb out of our rut and open our lives to the transformation that he longs to bring to us. After all, in a growing disciple and in a growing marriage, there is nothing so certain as change... in the direction of Jesus.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we... are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)