Did you marry a beast?
It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up! And today I want to talk about the fairytale Beauty and the Beast–and how that can wreck our perspective of marriage.
Let me explain. Many of us think that the Beauty and the Beast storyline goes something like this:
Beauty meets a Beast. Even though she knows he’s a beast, she sees something deep inside him which is very beautiful. And as she loves him, the beautiful side emerges and he becomes a prince.
There’s a problem with that attitude when it comes to marriage. What it is really saying is that we did not marry our husbands; we married the potential inside our husbands. We married that part of him which would one day emerge, simply because we loved him enough. We could see it was there, even if no one else could, and by loving him, we’d bring it out.
Then what happens if that potential doesn’t emerge? It’s his fault!
We’ve done the loving part; but he hasn’t stepped up and done the changing part. And we become quite bitter. It’s as if he hasn’t fulfilled his end of our (unspoken) deal.
But what if we had the storyline wrong? What if Beauty and the Beast actually went like this:
Beauty meets the Beast. At first she is repulsed by the Beast, but as she gets to know him better, she falls in love with him, as a Beast. And she marries him as a Beast. And because of that acceptance of who he already is, he changes into a prince.
The key to the Beauty and the Beast story isn’t that Beauty married the potential inside the Beast; it’s that Beauty accepted who the Beast was, flaws and all, and loved him thinking he was going to stay that way forever. And because she accepted him, he changed.
What we all need is acceptance. Every single one of us. But how many of us get that? And how many of us have been withholding it from our husbands?
I know this is a tough one, because some of our husbands are doing things that we cannot accept. Perhaps they watch pornography, or they ignore the children, or they never ever pick up anything around the house.
How can you accept that?
But I am not saying you must agree with everything he does; what I am saying is that for a marriage to work, you have to accept him as a person without needing to change fundamentally who he is. He may have issues he needs to work on, and I completely agree with confronting husbands when they’re sinning (like with pornography), but if we’re going to decide to stay in a marriage, at some point we have to say: I love you for who you are. I accept you for who you are. I won’t try to change you anymore.
Instead of waiting for your perfect man to emerge, become the perfect woman.
I don’t mean become the perfect woman FOR HIM necessarily; I mean become the kind of woman who can bloom exactly where you’re planted, with the kind of man you married. Find some hobbies that keep you happy. Find ways of organizing your home so it runs smoothly, even if he doesn’t give a lot of help. Find joy in God, in parenting, in nature, in the world. Don’t get hung up on “I’ll be happy when he finally changes”, because then it’s like you’re consigning yourself to being miserable all the time. After all, what if he never does?
Today, take the reins of your life and decide to be happy and find joy regardless of whether he changes. And if you’re having a hard time with that, let me offer a suggestion.
Stormie Omartian’s book, The Power of a Praying Wife, is so good for this exercise. It takes you through a month of prayers that you can repeat, over and over, for your husband. And as you pray, you release your husband so that God can do His work in him, not so that you can do yours. It’s not about praying for what you want for your husband; it’s about praying for what God wants. It’s such a refreshing perspective, and you will notice a difference in your marriage.
And it does deal with prayers on how to handle his major failings, and that he will overcome them! So it doesn’t make you live forever with a man who is really doing something wrong; it just gives you a strategy that is useful for dealing with it.
I’d really encourage you to ask yourself this question today: Have I been holding back from my husband because I’m waiting for him to change in some area?
Have I been failing to accept him? If you have, I’d encourage you to love him, Beast and all. That’s what makes the change in your marriage. It makes both of you into the Beauty. And that is what God wants.
So buy the book–I’ve never recommended a book this strongly, and I can’t say enough good things about it. But pick up that book, pray through it, and start seeing your husband in a different light. And as you do, you finally set him free!
Now, what advice do you have for us today? Have you ever had to confront your fantasies and throw them aside? How did you do it? Or do you have something else to tell us? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!
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