If you’ve followed me on Instagram for a bit, you’ve probably noticed I’m pretty open about the fact that Braxton and I struggled A LOT in our relationship up until this year . It was just so unhealthy. I mean, it definitely could’ve been worse, but it was just not good. We were arguing nearly every day. About important things, about unimportant things. There was so much resentment and bitterness [mostly from me, I’ll admit] that it was almost impossible to get through the day without arguing.
Then at the beginning of 2019, I heard the best relationship advice ever. And I say “relationship” advice because it can be applied to all types, not just marriage! So are you ready for it?!
Don’t focus on what he can do better as a husband, but on what you can do better a wife.
BOOM. Mind. Blown. I had honestly never thought of it that way. Do you know how much time I spent thinking about and telling Braxton how he could be better or what he was doing wrong? I didn’t tally it up or anything, but I don’t need to for me to know it’s A FREAKING LOT.
Now replace the words “husband” and “wife”, and do you know how much time I spent magnifying the flaws of others I have been close to in my life? Still a lot. It’s so easy to focus on your own feelings and how others could cater to them better, rather than the other way around.
And maybe you’re thinking about more than that. Maybe it’s not just about your feelings. Maybe you feel it’s your job to say something because what they’re doing is going against God’s kingdom, not just yours. I’ve been there, and luckily this person gave me advice for that as well:
Don’t convict him of his sins; Let God convict him.
How many times have you informed someone they’re doing something wrong and they were just 100% receptive of it? More often than not, they’re gonna get a little defensive. Not only that, but you have to keep in mind that you only have one perspective. You have to humbly accept that you may be wrong about them. You also have to humbly accept that you yourself are an imperfect human as well.
So how do you let God convict someone? Pray for them. Don’t point your finger at them and call them selfish or a liar. Just continue to be the best wife, husband, friend, sister, whoever that you can be, and pray for them. Pray that God shapes them into the person HE wants them to be. Pray that God opens their eyes and brings them guidance and clarity. Be consistent in your prayer and be patient, because change doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen.
As hard as this advice is to carry out [especially in the heat of the moment, because I’m forrrr suuureee one to speak out of emotion], it has made a TREMENDOUS improvement in our marriage. Instead of focusing on what I need from Braxton, I try to focus on what he needs from me. Don’t misunderstand; I’m still taking care of myself and my needs. How I can be a better wife, or mom, or friend, is more than just improving in our relationship; It also involves improving as an individual.
For example, instead of me thinking about how I wish Braxton had a closer relationship with God and made more of an effort, I’m focusing on how I can have a closer relationship with God and make more of an effort. And I’m just praying for Braxton in the meantime [NOT IN A CONDESCENDING WAY; BE MINDFUL OF YOUR HEART].
I won’t lie though; When I first heard this advice, it sounded straight BOGUS. Like, how is Braxton gonna be aware of what he’s doing wrong if I don’t tell him? How is he gonna know what to improve on? Well, he’s not an idiot. He knows the same way I know what I need to improve on. He knows because he has a conscience just like I do and feels convicted just like I do. And it’s not my job to point out his flaws or judge him; It’s my job to love him unconditionally and support him and pray for him. And the coolest part is, in doing all of these things, Braxton naturally starts mimicking the same behavior! So we both end up getting what we need and pouring the right things into our relationship.
I KNOW that it’s not an easy change to make. It can honestly feel like you’re choosing to let someone walk all over you, and that obviously doesn’t feel good [emotionally or physically-speaking]. But I promise it will pay off! It’s something you really have to be intentional about at first, and eventually, it will come naturally. Just give it a shot today, then take it one day at a time.
I’d love to know if you notice any changes after trying it out. Or if YOU have heard any life-changing advice you wanna share! So let’s chat soon in a comment below or through email! Relationships can be HARD WORK. You’re not alone. And I’m rooting for you.
Don’t forget to pay this advice forward if it’s something you find works! Whether verbally or by clicking a social icon below to share this post. We’re all struggling, and it’s so important for us to help each other out how we can!
Photos by Sam Wilde Photography