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Wifey Wednesday: 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!

So today I have a question. Did you marry a beast?

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 it 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 wtih confronting husbands when they're sinning (like with pornography), but 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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At 8:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I always thought Beauty and the Beast would be better if he didn't change into a prince at all. I also think the Little Mermaid (in Disney's version at least) should have stayed with her family.

Years ago I was in a women's study that went through the Power of a Praying Wife. Initially I was ojay with it but as we went through it week by week, I found it not very helpful. It seemed like we spent a lot of time analyzing our husbands and not much time working on ourselves which is the one thing we might have some control over.


At 8:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Wonderful example. Thanks for the post. I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer.


At 9:58 AM , Blogger Sheri said…

I'm with nebby! LOL I posted my thoughts on it. Happy Wednesday Sheila.


At 11:34 AM , Blogger HomeEdUKMum said…

I read 'The Power of a Praying Wife' a couple of years ago and I too can't recommend it enough. I committed my hubby to God and asked God to change me because I was finally willing to be changed and God is doing just that. My husband is changing too and becoming the man God created him to be. I love the book because Stormie encourages you to take the focus of yourself and to look at your husband and his needs. After all God created us to be our husbands help meet. As for my needs? Well, now that I am less selfish than before my needs are also met, in fact more so than ever and our marriage is richer. Praise God!

Thanks for the post Sheila. In a Godless world that is so obsessed with self it is so refreshing to read your articles - I love reading them. I've recently discovered you through twitter


At 12:25 PM , Blogger sarahe said…

Thanks for the reminder! I forget this all too often.


At 1:25 PM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites among the Disney Princess movies. Her character was so grounded compared to the rest. I think I'll watch the movie differently now.

As for Stormie Omartian's book. I have it, and I agree with your assessment.

You know Nebby, I think the first mistake your women's Bible study made was to use that book in such a setting to begin with. I always thought that The Power of a Praying Wife was meant to be a private support for our private prayers for our husbands.

In that context, it is a powerful and helpful book. At least I think so. It helped me years ago to pray for my husbands in line with God's word and not my will.


At 2:13 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Interesting thoughts on that book! I can understand feeling like perhaps it was forcing you to nitpick him, but that's not the way I took it. In fact, the whole first chapter, if I recall correctly, was about getting our attitudes right before God--that we weren't praying that our will be done in the marriage, but that God's will would be done.

I think perhaps the reason that nebby and Sheri felt like it was focusing on their husband's problems was that each day you were praying for a different aspect of your husband's life, which does tend to get you thinking about his shortcomings! For me it was just learning that I could take my concerns to God, and that I could have faith that God would make my husband into the man He wanted him to be. It was neat, too, because it made me pray in all areas of my husband's life, not just the ones I was most concerned about! It felt empowering praying for him to be powerful and effective at work, for instance.

But I definitely can see how you might feel like you walked through 30 days of looking at your husband's problems. I guess it just depends how you take the book! I still stand by my recommendation, but I understand that others may have found it less useful!


At 11:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Sheila, I have a question for you about husbands and homeschooling...

I get asked all the time how I got my husband to agree to it. I really didn't know it was such a concern in so many marriages. I have many girlfriends who's hearts are bleeding to homeschool but are waiting for their husbands to give them the green light- could you comment on this?? I would love to pass along your advice.


At 10:26 AM , Blogger Your Impact Matters said…

Even as a secular wife and mother I see so much value in striving toward the Bible's image of a godly woman and wife. Thank you so much Sheila, for your books, blog, videos and all the other added value you give to the community of women online and off. Your post today is particularly needed, I think. Many blessings, Janeen


At 6:43 PM , Anonymous Tammy said…

I love this advice to love your husband for who he is. I learned this a few years ago after being married for 12 years. I decided to just love my husband no matter what and only worry about changing myself to adapt to him. I made a decision and asked God to help me to only worry about my actions. Once I did that, God worked in his life too. He has become a wonderful man and God has answered both our prayers. The Power of a Praying Wife is an excellent book! I highly recommend it too!!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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