The other day I heard a story where there was this dog who had some type of crippling injury with her hind legs. So everywhere she went she drug her hind legs behind her. Then later on when she became pregnant and gave birth to puppies, her puppies grew and they also drug their hind legs behind them everywhere they went. Now the puppies did not have anything wrong with their hind legs, they just drug theirs out of their understanding of what they were suppose to do with their legs.
It reminds me of another story where a young wife would cut both ends off her ham before cooking it. Then one day when her husband asked her why she cooked the ham that way, she replied “I don’t know why, but that’s the way my mother did it.”
So, determined to understand this cooking procedure, he asked his mother-in-law why she cut the ends off her hams before cooking. And her reply was, “I don’t know either, that’s the way my mother always did it.”
He then went to his wife’s grandmother and explained to her that both his wife and his mother-in-law cut the ends off their hams before cooking and that his mother-in-law said it was the way her mother always did it. So he asked his wife’s grandmother, “why did you always cut the ends off your hams before cooking?” To which she replied, “oh that’s simple dear. Back in those days I didn’t have a pot big enough to cook a whole ham, so I had to cut the ends off to fit it in the pot.”
Way too often in marriage we behave in some sort of dis-functional way with our spouse and we have no idea why we behave that way. We seem to fall into some type of pattern that seems perfectly normal to us. We may have an awareness that we are not acting the way we should, but unless we take a real good look in the mirror and ask ourselves why, we will most likely keep doing things the way we have always done them.
Embrace positive change
- Humble yourself: The first step to making positive changes in your behavior is to humble yourself and admit that you’re not perfect and you do have some things that need to change. Also acknowledge that there will probably be some things about you that needs to change that you have not been aware of. Some things might even come as a surprise to you. But, remain humble enough to embrace the changes that will work for your good in the end.
- Pray: Always allow the Lord to help you see what changes He would like to help you make. Keep in mind you will always have His unconditional love and acceptance for who you are. But along with that He also knows what potential there is in you if you will allow Him to gently walk you through those changes.
- Confession clears the way: James 5:16 (NLT) “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Confessing your faults and your vulnerability to have faults has a way of clearing out the old and making room for brand new ways of doing things.
- Ask your spouse: Get real with your spouse and allow them to be your greatest support. I believe most of us only have an 180 degree view of our lives, but when we allow our spouse to be joined with us back to back, together we can have a complete 360 degree view of life. Just remember as your spouse tries to help you see some things, don’t be offended and get all defensive. Always keep in mind that your spouse is for you and is not out to get you.
- Study to grow: I strongly believe in the motto that “leaders are readers.” And I believe we are all leaders in some form or another. So there should be a willingness and a disciplined lifestyle that will embrace reading good material that is designed to help you grow in all facets of life that pertains to you. Study to grow as a person, study to grow in your marriage, study to grow as a parent (even if your children are grown), study to grow in how you handle your business affairs, and most important, study to be the best Christian witness you can be.
- Spot the patterns: One of the things that social science teaches is there are patterns in people’s behavior that may come from their culture, family history, personal history, and environment. I know I can look at my own families behavior patterns and I can recognize certain traits in others that I know I also struggle with. I have even begun to notice that if I see certain traits in my parents and then I also see those same things in my children, then there is a good chance I have some of those same traits in my behavior.
The truth here is, you don’t have to be limited by other’s limitations. The behavior you have inherited is still your responsibility and you can choose to make the changes you need to make.
I know for me the more I grow and lose some negative behavior patterns the more I want to keep growing so that no matter what anyone else is doing I can be the best me that I could possibly be.
How about you, what are some things you need to work on, or what is your best solution for making positive change? We would really love to hear from you, feel free to leave us a comment.
Until next time, God bless and keep growing awesome marriages.