"I'm not the woman you married," I sometimes confess to my husband.
"And I'm not the man you married," he grins.
No, we're not living with the wrong person. We are just so glad we have grown in our faith and our marriage. We do not treat each other the way we did almost 30 years ago. And that is a good thing.
I understood, as I entered marriage, that a wife was to be a helpmate to her husband. I took that role seriously. I had help for him in his job. I had help for him in his Bible study. I had lots of help for him in his role as a husband and a church member.
Usually, this help came in the form of advice or nuggets of truth. The core of what I offered him was not bad; what it came wrapped in was ugly. I nagged.
My words offered little grace. I used shame, belittling or pouting to punctuate my helpful advice. If those techniques didn't work, I started the list over again insisting that I be heard.
My help, at the center, was truth. However, I offered it in such stinky wrappings, it smelled like a three day old fish in newspaper. My husband's nose couldn't get past the wrappings so he did not receive what I said--he was not going to bother to unwrap it. I could not be heard because of how I delivered the message.
Thankfully, God got through to me about my nagging habits. I realized that I truly was the contentious wife described in Proverbs 27:15. The verse compares her to a constant dripping on a rainy day--pretty annoying.
During my season of change and growth, a wise woman taught me this principle: A woman can make her husband into a cripple or a champion by the words she speaks to him.
I purposed to begin speaking gracious words to build up my spouse. I chose not to be his Holy Spirit; my job was not to convict my husband.
No, I am not the same woman that married my husband. I hope I'm not going to be the same woman at the end of our earthly journey that I am today. I pray that I will grow continuously into the likeness of Christ, offering only wise help with grace.