I suspect you are frustrated with your husband. He just doesn’t see things the way you do. He doesn’t communicate, at least not as well as you would like. He won’t talk about the things that you feel are important.
He doesn’t share his feelings with you openly like he did before you were married. He doesn’t follow through on all the things you wish he would. Sometimes you argue with him.
You don’t know what to do or where to turn. You need to talk about it, but when you and your friends get together for a “down on your husbands” session, you don’t feel any better. In fact, you feel a little guilty.
Not every wife feels like this, but most do. Especially early in marriage.
You are not alone. Even Jesus felt this way. As his patience was tried by the choices of others around him, several times He said (Matthew 17:17):
…Oh faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?
Do you ever feel like that towards your husband or children?
I believe that we can find the solution to this problem in the scriptures and in the personal revelation we can receive when we study them.
Here are a few verses that I believe will help you. They are the “five scriptures that will change your marriage” from Brent Barlow’s book Just for Newlyweds (1992).
I promise if you study these verses, ponder them, apply them, and answer honestly the questions that follow them, you will feel better about your marriage and have the insight you need to start moving forward today, not only in your marriage but in your personal life.
Scripture #1: Matthew 7:12 The Law of the Boomerang
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
This single principle boils down all of holy writ in one concept: Treat others just the way you would like to be treated.
Let me ask you then: Are you treating your husband with the gentleness, kindness, respect and love that you want yourself? Are you loving him the way he wants to be loved, just as you wish he would love you the way you want to be loved?
Do you treat yourself with kindness? Are you treating yourself the way you want to be treated? This is important, even if it sounds silly, because if you are being severe on yourself, you will likely be severe on others, especially your husband.
Dr. Barlow calls this the law of the boomerang. How you treat others will hit you on the back of the head like a boomerang. You decide if that boomerang will be made of hardwood or gold or maybe padded with foam rubber.
Scripture #2: Matthew 7:3–5 The Change-First Principle
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Are you worried about the changes you wish your husband would make but haven’t gotten around to changing yourself? If you want to change others, you have to change yourself first. You have to be an example of what you want your spouse and children to be like.
If you don’t put in the effort to change yourself—and I mean honest effort—how can you expect to see clearly enough to help others change?
A woman in our ward once said, “You teach what you are.” What you are teaches other people that it’s okay to be like you. It gives other people, especially your husband, the quiet permission to be just like you. What are you acting like?
Scripture #3: Galatians 6:7 The Law of the Harvest
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Most of us sow wild oats of some sort or another for six days and then on the seventh day we pray for crop failure.
Whatever kind of seeds we are planting in our relationships, even the tiny ones, they will take root and sprout. If you are sowing resentment, what will grow? If you just hold the thought and feeling of blame and accusation, even though you are not saying it out loud, you are sowing blame and accusation and they will grow up and, like weeds, will choke out the good plants if you do not kill them down to the roots.
If you are planting patience, kindness, gentleness and love, what will you get back?
Whatever feeling you hold in your heart towards your husband, you will get back, even if you are trying to hold it secretly.
Your thoughts and feelings are your forecast for the good or bad weather that shows up in your relationships, but unlike the TV weatherman, you will be remarkably accurate in forecasting what weather you enjoy (or don’t enjoy), based on what you believe about the man you are married to.
Scripture #4: James 1:3–4 The Patience Principle
…The trying of your faith worketh patience…let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke on patience in the April 2010 priesthood session of general conference. Here is something he said that really penetrated my heart:
Patience [is] far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience require[s] actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results didn’t appear instantly or without effort. There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well! Impatience, on the other hand, is a symptom of selfishness. It is a trait of the self-absorbed. It arises from the all-too-prevalent condition called “center of the universe” syndrome, which leads people to believe that the world revolves around them and that all others are just supporting cast in the grand theater of mortality in which only they have the starring role.
What I take from Pres. Uchtdorf is that if we expect others to change, we must work and hope and exercise faith and endure well. We can’t have a “throw my hands in the air” attitude. We have to stick with it. And if we are impatient with our spouses, perhaps it is a symptom of our selfishness.
Scripture #5: D&C 1:10 The Divine Principle
…The Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.
Once again, the Lord will measure back to you what you deal out. You will reap what you sow, and the boomerang that you throw towards others will make a wide arc and hit you on the backside. If you don’t let go of your resentment, it will search for you and haunt you. If you want your spouse to change, you have to do the changing first. If you are not patient, you may be being selfish and perhaps childish.
I have put these thoughts into my own words, but what I have said is what I sincerely believe the scriptures say and mean. I know because I have lived it. I have personally experienced both sides of these verses. This is not just a hollow lecture.
We are still working on it, of course, but for the most part, we as a couple have moved beyond blaming each other for our unhappiness. We communicate. We talk about everything openly but in a safe way. We do not belittle each other or call each other names. We treat each other with respect. We are patient with each other. But we are also honest and unafraid to talk about the things that really count. We don’t have “the perfect marriage,” but we are on to something better.
The changes I wanted to see in my marriage started to happen when I started changing myself, and with faith and confidence in what God has said on the subject, I know you will experience the change you want in your marriage when you really start changing yourself from the heart. When I took my frustration and converted it into efforts to change myself, that is when my marriage and my life started to get a lot happier.
Moroni said it this way (Alma 60:23):
Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.
It starts with me and it starts with you. Isn’t that great to know? It means that you have the power to change your life, no matter what anyone else says or does.
Please read Part 2, a continuation of this topic.