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Fighting for More Than Changed Behavior In Your Husband - Encouragement for Today - August 28, 2019

Jerrad Lopes

August 28, 2019

Fighting for More Than Changed Behavior In Your Husband

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“… so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” 1 Peter 3:1b-2 (ESV)

We were in the middle of another big fight.

Fighting seemed to be a normal part of our weekly routine during this season of our marriage. This one felt different, though.

I’d lost my job unexpectedly a few months prior, and my life seemed to be unraveling. Instead of drawing nearer to God, my wife and my kids, I pulled away. Like Eve back in the Garden, I convinced myself God wasn’t enough — that there was something other than Him that could satisfy my soul at a deeper level. And so, I pursued my own desires and dreams.

On this particular day, things came to a breaking point. We were standing in the middle of our bedroom, our voices growing louder. I could feel my heart rate rising as the conversation escalated. I was ready to stand my ground and put up a fight.

My wife stared at me and grew quiet as I said a few hurtful words. The look on her face changed, and I could see tears filling her big brown eyes.

I thought I was winning the fight — until she said these words which will forever live in my memory:

“Jerrad, I want you to know I’ve been setting my alarm for 2 o’clock every morning. I quietly get out of bed and go into the living room to pray for you. I’ve been praying God would capture your heart again.”

Then I realized she hadn’t come to win a fight. She had no more fight left in her.

I had no idea the sacrifice my wife was making to protect our marriage and family. While I was selfishly pursuing my own desires and pulling away from my family to deal with pain, she was in the living room, pleading to God on my behalf.

Hearing her words immediately reminded me of this Scripture in 1 Peter 3:1b-2: 

“… so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,when they see your respectful and pure conduct” (ESV).

The Holy Spirit used my wife’s humble heart to begin drawing me back to the Lord that day.

Here’s the thing: At the core of my wife’s heart was her desire to see a change in me. She saw I was hurting, and instead of processing my emotions like a mature man, I acted like a child. As a result, I was deeply wounding her and others. In her frustration, she could have constantly pointed out my shortcomings and “nagged” me until she saw my behavior change.

But she wasn’t seeking changed behavior, she was seeking a changed heart.

We can all change our behavior temporarily. We can fool others, and even ourselves, into thinking we are doing better. But Jesus never set out to change behavior; He set out to change our hearts. 

This is what is so profound about what my wife did: By waking up every night and begging God to change my heart, she was humbly admitting she wasn’t the one in control. She recognized she doesn’t possess the power to change hearts, so she went before the One who does. 

I’m often asked by wives what they can do to change their husband’s behavior and get him to start leading their family spiritually. My answer is always the same: nothing. But God can.

Women, I urge you, fight for much more than changed behavior. Instead, pray for a changed heart. To not pray is to silently declare you have more power over your marriage than Jesus does. It doesn’t matter how strong you are; You cannot change hearts. Only God can do that, so go to Him. He is faithful.

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me the gift of my husband. I trust that You intentionally paired us together. Lord, would You capture his heart in new and fresh ways? I surrender him to You. I admit I am not in control and trust You to do what You will in his life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)

Looking to encourage your husband with practical ways to lead your family toward Jesus? Gift him the gift of Jerrad Lopes’ latest book, Dad Tired and Loving It: Stumbling Your Way To Spiritual Leadership.

Visit Jerrad’s website for more resources and to join the community at

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Dad Tired by Jerrad Lopes. To celebrate this book, Harvest House is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Tuesday, September 3, 2019.}

How often do you pray for your husband’s heart? What stops you from praying for him more?

What would it look like if you began praying for God to not just change your husband’s behavior, but radically change his heart?

{Editor’s Note: Please note that praying for your spouse (or another loved one) to change should never excuse abuse. If you’re experiencing an abusive relationship, know that you’re not alone, and help is available. Contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline, or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).}

© 2019 by Jerrad Lopes. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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