MARRIED TO THE WRONG PERSON
"I married the wrong person."
I’ve heard that statement a number of times from a despairing husband or wife. It is usually said in sadness and pain. I’m sure many of you have heard it as well. Maybe you have even said it.
Many times when that statement is made, "I’ve married the wrong person," the husband or wife is thinking it is time to end the marriage. It is time for both partners to go their separate ways, divide the savings, share the debt, battle over custody rights, and move on. What else can you do when you are married to the wrong person?
What makes a spouse think they are married to the wrong person? Usually it is because they aren’t happy anymore. The expectations of the wedding day have gone awry. All that initial joy, excitement and hope is gone. Sure, they were happy for some months, even for years. But lately, they don’t communicate much, they don’t date, they don’t celebrate anniversaries, they day dream about what might have been, and they just don’t feel that spark of love any more. All enthusiasm for their mate has waned. Isn’t this a sign that they are married to the wrong person?
Could be. Or it could be that it isn’t the mate that is the wrong person. The wrong person in the marriage might be the one thinking the other spouse is the wrong one. Am I making that clear? The one who says, "I’m married to the wrong person," might be the wrong person. How is that?
For starters, there is no perfect person out there for us to be married to. If there was a perfect person, why would they be married to us? Let’s accept that anyone we marry is going to be "wrong" in someway - imperfect, sinful and struggling. Anyone we marry will be full of character flaws. At first we don’t see those flaws, or we think they are cute and manageable. It is over time that those flaws begin to grate on us and inflame our nerves, but they have generally been there all along.
A second thing to realize is that if we do divorce the "wrong" person we are married to, the next person we marry is going to be wrong as well. We can’t leave this spouse and expect the next one to be perfect! It doesn’t happen that way. The very problems we are trying to escape in this union will surface in the next one. Happens nearly every time.
Thirdly, realize that we are imperfect, sinful and struggling ourselves. We bring our own character flaws to our marriage. Our flaws are likely as irritating to our spouse as theirs is to us! So rather than being too judgmental to the inadequacies of our spouse, we might take the more humble approach of removing the beam from our own eye. It is amazing how much more accepting we can be of another’s imperfections when we recognize our own.
There are two imperfect people in your marriage. Not one, two. There is only one of those imperfect people you can do anything about, and that is yourself. Don’t even try to coerce your husband or wife to be the kind of person you want them to be. That is manipulative and unfair, plus it will fail. Instead, work on yourself. Practice humility and patience toward your spouse’s faults. Learn to be more accepting and gracious. Practice the love of God which says, "I will love you no matter what." Be forgiving. When you do these things you may see something amazing happen: you spouse will practice these same gracious behaviors toward you. In time you might both realize that you are actually married to the right person.
"What God has joined together let man not separate" (Matt. 19:6) is a divine mandate to stay where you are, work on yourself, and let God bring your marriage to maturity, health and happiness.