Have you looked at someone in your life and uttered those words?
Maybe it’s the spouse whose irritating ways are grating on you.
Or it’s the child whose behavior has become unmanageable.
It’s so easy to look at them and proclaim, “You need to change!”
I’m at an interesting point in marriage and parenting. We’re getting older and the kids are nearly grown. Without the chaos and distraction of the intense season of parenting, those traits, attitudes and behaviors are re-emerging that had previously been masked by the busy-ness of everyday life.
And it ain’t always pretty!
When you aren’t surrounded by noise and emergencies, you notice that character flaw that you previously overlooked. Against a backdrop of relative calm, it seems huge.
Guess what? Your spouse is probably thinking the same thing about you!
This was brought home to me this week. My husband and I were having a “frank, marital discussion” (a phrase coined by a pastor friend) where I was pointing out something that I was dissatisfied with. It was a discussion we had numerous times about something that probably never will change.
Guess what? He pointed out a flaw of MINE! Shock!
I am an expert flaw spotter with other people. I can tell you all that’s wrong with you from a mile away when we haven’t even met.
It took the honesty of the one who knows me the best and loves me the most to point out to me that this skill is destructive and, darn it, it hurts the person who is the focus on my analysis.
So guess what? I need to change. And the thing I need to change is my penchant for telling others that they need to change.
Aging can be a wonderful time. We can see a bigger picture. We can choose to see through eyes of love and grace. We can let the people in our life off the hook for our unrealistic expectations.
Is your love for someone snagged on a sliver? Do you think, “If only they could change”?
It’s not too late to take the sliver out of your own eye.