Dr. Wall writes about the all too common problem of wives trying to change their husbands and end up failing and having even more marital problems. He suggests a better road and a more realistic goal.

that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

Titus 2:15

You would think I’d never have to deal with this at all, that it should be self-evident, but, alas, it comes up way too often. The scenario is this:

A wife, who is a committed Christian, is put out that her husband is not. Or if he is a Christian, he has a proclivity that she finds unbecoming of what she perceives a Christian to be. Or he has a lack of a proclivity that she perceives is something that he should have. This becomes her mission in life: to scold him into the Kingdom of God or at least what the she thinks the Kingdom of God should look like in her home.

I haven’t met a guy yet who was scolded into anything, let alone heaven. The guys I’ve talked to don’t take scolding from their wives too gently, whether their spouses are Christian or not. It would be right up there on the top things of all time to avoid like the plague. If you want your husband to drink more beer or never help or to spend all his free time in the garage scold him that he shouldn’t do those things. You’d be amazed how successful you’d be on getting those results.

Here’s how this works:

Husband B is a typical guy, meaning, since the Fall of Adam, he’s been struggling with “am I OK?” He finds a huge chunk of his sense of destiny in what he does. “Am I good at this? Am I making a difference? Should I do more of this or that? Does this count. Does any of this matter?”

Along comes Wife B with an agenda. Since Eve decided to take up the Serpent’s challenge, she’s been trying to get her sense of meaning through her relationships. If her relationship with her husband and kids are fine, she tends to do pretty well. She may like or not like her job. Whatever. It’s just a job. But if her husband isn’t up to speed, that could be tragic.

She sees he needs to _________ (fill in the blank: become a Christian, help with the cleaning more often, be more affectionate, not drink so much, spend more time with the kids, be more responsible with money, show her more attention, not be so angry, get a better job, earn more money, not work so much, dump all his worthless friends, be the spiritual leader of the home {That’s a good one: the wife is going to train the husband to be the spiritual leader of the home and then she’s going to let him go and lead while she takes off the “pants of the family” she’s been wearing. Right.} and she lets him know that he’s failed her in no uncertain terms. Her reasoning is: If I just let him know where he’s fallen short, he’ll graciously and generously see that I am right and thank me profusely that I have such wisdom to point out these shortcomings that he was totally unaware of before and jump for joy knowing that finally, after all these years, someone has figured out the key to the success in his life and he’ll think if I just do what she says everything will be fine and all this angst of my soul, this feeling of failure and never measuring up will go away and the two of them will walk hand in hand into marriage nirvana.

But when he hears her chiding and scolding and sees her standing there with furled brow and making those scoffing noises he remembers from Mrs. Quimby, his overweight 3rd Grade teacher, instead of standing boldly up to the challenges his wife presents as she defines the goals of his life in her image, he melts away and shrivels up as a man or he get a fury of injustice and throws a two-year old’s temper tantrum, scaring off all the little chickens.

And then the wife will say he has an anger problem or a control problem and that he’s selfish and they need to go to marriage therapy and if the marriage therapist isn’t careful she’ll go on and on and on and list all his many faults, how he’s failed her and disappointed her and caused her such emotional grief and she doesn’t know how much longer she can endure and then the incompetent therapist will ask Husband B what his concerns are and he’ll sheepishly say, “Well, I don’t like to complain, but it’d sure be nice if she wasn’t so crabby all the time.”

So, if you are a wife feeling like your husband has majorly disappointed you and you are beyond grief, you are in despair, take heart…there is a way, ever so subtle, to influence your husband. No, I didn’t write, CHANGE your husband, I wrote, INFLUENCE your husband.

It’s a little secret that wise wives have known about throughout the millennia. Nevertheless, today it is barely known and little practiced. A key. I should charge you big bucks for this. It’s in our verse at the start of this blog:

Adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

All right, maybe you are not a Christian. That’s fine. But, hey, the things you want for your husband are pretty consistent with Christian principles, right? Love, patience, kindness, selflessness, a generous spirit, gentleness, responsible, disciplined. But if you want these things from your husband, you will not convince him to do them by putting him down. He’s already down enough. If you repeatedly remind him how he’s failed you, you tap into his worthless-piece-of-crap gene and it’ll suck any goodness out of him and replace it with despair and an attitude of “why-should-I-give-her-the-time-of-day-since-I-make-her-so-miserable.”

So if your want your husband to demonstrate Christian-type principles in his life, it would be good for you to demonstrate to him in your word and deed that this Gospel you are touting is, in fact, true. That is: it’s actually changed your life. And it is attractive. Adorned. Beautiful. Becoming. Whoa-baby.

Why would anyone believe a so-called “Gospel,” that turns you into a shrew?


Dr. Bing Wall is a marriage therapist with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bing in Ames, Iowa click here

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bing in Des Moines click here