3 Things You Can Do When You’re Growing And Your Husband Isn’t
NOTE: This article is meant for everyday couples struggling with everyday marital issues. This is not meant to provide advice to someone who is in an abusive situation. Addressing issues in an abusive relationship is beyond the scope of this article.
I’m Growing But My Husband Isn’t — What Do I Do??
Over the years as I’ve worked with many different women and couples, this question has come up a lot.
This is a tricky question because there are two sides to the coin…
On one side, it can be difficult when one partner is growing and feels like the other one isn’t that interested in growing. And there can be so many reasons for that…
The other side of the coin is that the partner who is growing, the temptation is that they can become kind of, well, a bit snobbish in their personal growth journey.
And that’s just not cool and it’s not okay!
There’s no room for that kind of an attitude in a partnership because there’s no humility. And marriage should make us better people.
Rick Warren says that “marriage is a lifelong course in learning to be unselfish.”
At the same time, this can be a sore spot for couples, so what can you do about this?
Here are 3 practical steps that you can take to begin to address this challenge…
Step #1 – Know Your Dreams
The first thing is to know your dreams behind the personal growth.
Why do you value personal growth? What do you want to accomplish? What are your dreams? What kind of a difference do you want to make?
Once you answer these questions, you also need to think about why you want your husband to join you in that personal growth journey.
What does it look like to grow together as a couple? What do you dream about for you and your husband?
It’s important to recognize that personal growth means different things to different people. And just because he doesn’t value personal growth according to your definition doesn’t mean he doesn’t value it at all.
I remember years ago when my husband dreamed about us helping couples. I was the one who was holding back because I knew we weren’t ready… I wasn’t ready. But over time I caught my husband’s dream and passion and came onboard.
So the more clearly you can define what it means for yourself, the more clearly you will be able to express that to your husband.
Steps #2 – Clarify Your Thoughts
Here are three simple areas to mull over about personal growth to help you clarify your thoughts:
- What am I thinking about personal growth?
- What am I feeling around personal growth?
- What do I want regarding personal growth?
Be clear. Be concise.
If you make it too long and you try to share that with your husband… you know how it’s going to go? Nowhere.
His eyes will glaze over and he won’t hear your heart about why you want to grow together and then you’ll end up feeling frustrated thinking, “Well, I tried! He’s just not interested.”
Step #3 – LISTEN To Your Husband
If you can engage your husband in a conversation regarding personal growth, listen to his dreams around this topic… or maybe even his fears.
Ask yourself as you listen to him:
- What is he feeling about personal growth?
- What does he care about when it comes to personal growth?
- What does he want regarding personal growth?
Keep in mind that this will be more than one conversation because it’s so important to you. You’ll likely have a series of conversations with each other.
In the beginning, when you ask him these questions, he likely won’t be able to answer them if this isn’t something he has thought a lot about. That’s okay.
Give him some time.
Don’t pepper him with all the questions, just ask him one question at a time and wait for an answer before moving on to the next question. Take your time and get to know his dreams and his fears around personal growth.
His Fears May Not Be What You Think
I remember one man that my husband and I were working with who expressed his fear that his wife was running way ahead of him in personal growth and he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to catch up.
So he was intimidated by the speed of her personal growth.
Once she understood that, it helped her to relax and allow him to grow at his own pace.
That took a lot of the pressure off and he began to take an interest in growing, in learning information and reading books.
Her understanding enabled him to hop on that personal growth train that she had already been on for some time.
Personal Growth Should Make Us Better People
When we’re growing, it should make us better people.
I mean that we should be growing in our character. The Bible talks about the fruit of the spirit… so we should be developing character that is more patient, more kind, more goodness, more gentleness, and more self-control.
So that’s the outcome of personal growth…
In a nutshell, it should make us absolutely wonderful people to live with. Are you wonderful to live with?
It should also enable our spouse to navigate the fact that we’re growing and they’re not and even inspire them to want to be on the personal growth journey as well.
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