The only person that you can change is yourself.
God has really been laying this on my heart lately. I tried for years to change my husband and I blamed all of my problems on him. Lately God has been really prodding me to share this.
We are responsible for our own behavior, that's it. We can't even change our childrens behavior. However, their behavior is dictated by ours (i.e. am I being consistent with discipline and training, am I equipping them with the knowledge that they need to choose right behavior, am I living a life worth imitating, etc.).
My life is proof that changing yourself can cause others around you (your spouse) to desire to make changes in themselves. But, it will never work if that is your goal. You cannot change yourself for the sole purpose of getting what you want from other people. And, no matter how hard you try, no change done in your flesh without God's help and out from under His will, will ever last or be effective. You must make changes only for the purpose of becoming who God has called you to be. We must realize that we don't deserve anything (i.e. I deserve to be treated better than this, I deserve more help, etc.). We are born sinful, deserving nothing and it is only by Christ's act on the cross that provides us with righteousness through Him, but we will never obtain it on our own. I know that sounds depressing, but the point is that we should look to God to meet all of our needs and that must be enough. When it becomes (more than) enough, you will be willing to wait on your husband to allow the Lord to change Him and if he never does that has to be ok. Your focus has to be on you and the Lord. Are you living a life worthy of the calling God has placed on your life? Are you seeing people through God's eyes and loving them more? Are you spending time in your word and in prayer? Are you allowing Christ to live in and through you? Are you dying to your flesh daily? When we meet the Lord He is not going to say well done you managed to change your husband. He is going to be looking for how we lived in spite of our circumstances. Were we joyful no matter what He placed before us?
There is a lot of really good stuff in the book of James about the way we ought to be living. First, I want to point out some things about our walk in general. (But let me remind you that so much of this book should apply to our marriages.)
"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." James 1:2-4
"God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12
"My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God's sight." James 1:19-20
"If you claim to be religious, but don't control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself and your religion is worthless." James 1:26
"So whenever you speak, or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law of love, the law that set you free. For there will be no mercy for you if you have not been merciful to others. But if you have been merciful, then God's mercy toward you will win out over His judgement against you. " James 2:12-13
Ok, too much there for one post. I will add more really good (and rather convicting) verses to a later post. But here is the big one that I wanted to get in: "What is causing quarrels and fights among you? Isn't it the whole army of evil desires at war within you? You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can't possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don't get it because your whole motive is wrong - you want only what will give you pleasure." James 4:1-3
So are you slaying your husband with your tongue to get what you want from Him? Are you praying that God will change Him because it will make your life easier or because you love Him so much that you want God's best for Him? What are your motives?
Do you read books about marriage or being a wife and say to yourself "He needs to read this book, I think that was written for him, etc." Do you think about things he needs to be changing while your reading the Word? If you do, you need to check your motives? If you don't know them ask God, He will show you what they are. Don't read another book on marriage until you are ready for it to be all about you, until you are ready to be who God has called you to be, regardless of your circumstances. I hope this helps someone. I know I wish I had understood this much earlier than I did. I highly recommend that you sit down and read the book of James and really examine your behavior and how each verse applies to you.
Also, while we were away for anniversary we read a really good Marriage book. My husband usually has trouble getting through these because they are often very dry and a really heavy read, but this one was light and funny, but it touched a lot of major points. We just ordered it for ourselves. It's "Clues for the Clueless: Marriage"
Be blessed today!