Character issues speak to a persons heart. What they are made of and how they operate. Most people don't understand that what you love and dislike about your spouse speaks to their character. Character is made up of our attributes that determines our moral and ethical actions and reactions. Flawed attitudes and values show up in flawed character. Now I know that some of you are thinking that I am going to be a little judgmental. Who am I to tell you what is flawed and what isn't? That has never been nor is my job. I believe that character issues are address by God through His Word (the Bible). The point of this blog entry is to help you realize that our struggles within family and marriage usually are not what we think they are.
To many times I see spouses try to change their spouse. This is never going to happen. If you do get the person to change their actions or behavior, they will resent you for it - thus causing a bigger problem down the line. But what I see spouses trying to do is change actions and behavior, not attitude or character. They are trying to change their style, not substance. A wife came in for a counseling appointment. I asked her what why she was here and her answer was, "I want my husband to quit being angry all the time. He's hateful and mean." So my first question was, "Why do you think he's that way?" To which she responded, "I don't know, I just want him to quit it." You can treat the symptoms all you want to, but if you never cure the disease, your marriage is still going to be sick.
Here are a few of the popular character flaws that cause serious marriage problems.
- Fear - This usually will cause a spouse to try to control everything. They also might be a perfectionist about everything. You struggle with the fact that they are one person at home and another in public. They are afraid of what might happen or what other people will think. They don't handle rejection well and as a result will become a people pleaser. They overextend themselves to others just to make them happy.
- Unforgiveness - This usually will cause a spouse to be bitter and angry. Something that happened in their past is still very real to them, whether or not it actually happened. They are quick and short tempered about certain subjects and will do a preemptive strike at anything they perceive as a possible threat. Many times they know who offended them and what they did. But because they don't know how to properly forgive they can't get past that moment in time.
- Selfishness - This one shouldn't surprise us. It leads people to do whatever you want with no regard to others. When the marriage and family begin to realize that ones desires are more valuable than them, resentment and anger set in. When selfishness is confronted then resentment and anger set in. All I can say at this time is ------- DUCK!
What can you do? Find the root of the problem and deal with it. Quit treating symptoms and answer the question, "Why are they doing this?" and keep asking why until you find the root! Treat the root and the symptoms will subside or go away all together. This takes time and willingness on the part of a person to allow this soul searching process to take place. You can read some self help books, but I would recommend that you talk to a professional counselor about these things. A fresh perspective from the outside will make a difference.