Have you ever asked this question? Don’t lie! If you are married, I bet you’ve wanted to change a thing or two about your spouse. When I saw the CD How Do I Change My Husband? by Merrilee Boyack at the store, I wanted it! I have another talk on CD and a book by her and I also attended two different classes by her at BYU Education Week. She is enthusiastic and funny, but also has great insights. Merrilee talks about how important love and patience are in a marriage. Sometimes we just need to give our husband time to work through his own problems, instead of taking ownership for them and trying to force him to change. She also talks about how we can study his attributes and really see his strengths. I know in my case, many of my husband’s strengths are my weaknesses, so remembering that helps me to think “If only he did ___ like I do, instead of the wrong way” a lot less.
One of her great points is the “Treat as if” strategy. She says that if I continually treat my husbands as if he possesses a certain quality, eventually he will conform to actually possess it. She gave the example of a wife who wanted her husband to be romantic, but he was not at all. Instead of nagging, or being disappointed at the things he didn’t do, she would really dwell on and talk up what he did right, even if it was small. She would say, “Thank you for opening my door. You are sooo romantic.” “That was so kind of you to leave the last cookie for me. That was very romantic.” After a while, he started doing more and more very romantic things. Merrilee does say that you have to be “relentless” and willing to follow through and be consistent. You can’t say, “You are such a great father” one day and then “You never spend time with the kids” the next and expect it to work.
Along with that concept, she challenged the listener to say and do the following: “Every day I will commit to treating my husband to the level of his divine nature.” We should strive to see our husband as he could really be and may one day be, not only with his faults and struggles. I know that it would help me to want to do better if someone encouraged me that way instead of nagging me or telling me I needed to change.
I highly recommend this CD for lots of laughs, but also wonderful insights. I have lent the CD to a couple of friends and they loved it too. Merrilee quotes Wendy Watson toward the end of the CD and I found the article she quoted from online. Here is the quote she used, plus a little more that I wanted to include here. I hope it rings in your head for many days, as it has in mine.
" ‘Love is the very essence of life,’ President Gordon B. Hinckley said. ‘I am one who believes that love, like faith, is a gift of God’ ("And the Greatest of These Is Love," Ensign, March 1984, p. 3). Are we praying for this gift from God? Are we praying for love and to love? Are we heeding the marvelous words of Mormon to ‘pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love’ (Moro. 7:48)? Are we praying to love as the Savior loves?
“What happens when a wife fervently prays, ‘Please help me to love my husband as the Savior loves him. Help me to see all that is good about him’? What occurs when a husband pleads with his Heavenly Father, ‘Help me to see my wife as Thou seest her. Help me to love her as Thou lovest her’? And perhaps there are times when the most effectual prayer of each spouse needs to be, ‘Please help me to see this situation from my spouse's point of view.’ Eyes that see things through a lens of love can see so much more clearly.
Wendy Watson, BYU Love & Marriage Magazine , Spring 2002