I have previously written on how women are capable of bringing about great and positive change in the world. Female influence is powerful. More of the right feminine influence can truly change our world for the better.
In this post, I talk about having the right kind of influence in a relationship. My advice will be based on the word of God, my experiences and observations. It is advice for Christian women, but also to any ladies who desire to improve the quality of their relationships and be a good example in the process.
With so many influences and influencers out there, it is important that the young women are being influenced positively and also influencing others in a positive way.
When it comes to being influential in a relationship, I know that yelling to get my way probably won’t work. Tantrums don’t work. Agreeing outwardly with things that I actually disagree with just to remain in the situation is not helpful. It is not about having a checklist to check off either.
So what does work? “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5: 16.
Being godly light in a dark world is important. When it comes to change, I should start with myself. I understand the need for me to be the right example. This means me putting God first, loving Him and loving others as myself. It also means my own obedience to God’s commandments.
I realize that my relationships should have godly purpose. A romantic relationship for me is not simply something to do to fill up my time because I am bored. It is not simply recreational dating where I just put up with whatever in order to avoid single status. The goal is a God-glorifying marriage.
In addition, I expect the man in my life to comply to God’s commands. I know that I must be equally yoked with a follower of Jesus Christ ( 2 Corinthians 6: 14). I cannot force a man to do what I want him to do. I don’t want to try to. I cannot change him or anyone else. However, I can influence him by my behavior, standards and boundaries.
Here are some ways I can safely and effectively influence my man:
1. Pray for him consistently.
2. Hold him accountable by having and maintaining right standards that are based in biblical principles.
3. Be intolerant to what is wrong by setting healthy boundaries and sticking to those right standards.
4. By not nagging him or tearing him down.
Once my expectations are known to him, I can simply stick to them. I don’t have to nag him. I don’t need to berate him. He decides what he will or won’t do.
Based on my values, I will find his behavior acceptable or unacceptable. His beliefs and consequent choices are his prerogative. I respect that, even when I don’t agree and even when it means we are not compatible.
If we are compatible, we will likely see eye to eye on many things. This is especially important when it comes to core values. Not only will me trying to force change upon a man most likely be futile, but it could be a very frustrating waste of my time. Also, he may resent me trying to change him.
5. Peacefully address with him any concerns or problems that do arise.
6. By not avoiding necessary discussions on problem areas and not going along with things I shouldn’t be, just to get along.
7. By showing him respect.
8. In building him up through words of affirmation and encouragement. I can affirm the things that he does well. I can encourage him to continue in the right direction.
9. Frequently voicing my appreciation and gratitude to him and for him.
10. By being humble and acknowledging my own flaws. It is important for me to ask for his feedback as well and be receptive to any constructive criticism or suggestions he has for me.
11. Be sympathetic to him and empathetic with him; not harshly judgmental. Having the right standards and expectations is not about being wrongly judgmental.
12. By being willing to change in the ways I need to change also.
Accountability is not about perfection.
The purpose in holding myself and him accountable is for us to rightly measure up and recognize that there are consequences for our actions. It is to discourage wrong behavior while encouraging right behavior. It is not about tearing ourselves down. It is not about being unreasonable.
If I go along with something that I know is wrong, I am giving it my stamp of approval. I am enabling and sustaining it by my support. This is what many ladies have done in their relationships. They have given the wrong things approval by putting up with them and have reinforced the bad behavior.
To an extent, I have done this myself. Ladies sometimes go along with bad behavior and mistreatment in order to get along with their partner so that they will not be single. Some women are pressured to not be “too picky.”
When reasonable concerns are brought up, sometimes, it is referred to as “bashing” men. This is basically a deflection. Until and unless we are able to acknowledge that problems exist in the first place, we will not be able to address and correct them.
It is very important for single women to rise above the idea that being single is a reason to panic or that being single is a curse.
I would like to see this mindset completely go away. One reason this idea is harmful is because it causes some women and girls to affirm and sustain bad behavior in their men by putting up with it to avoid being single. By tolerating mistreatment and settling for less, women are influencing men in the wrong way.
Ladies must know their individual worth and understand that they deserve better. I want to be part of the solution; not part of the problem. If I put up with mistreatment and bad behavior I am basically reinforcing it.
Overall, I do see positive changes are being made in this regard. Wrong examples and wrong messages have been previously taught to boys and girls who then age into misguided men and women. As a result, from generation to generation, our society is affected negatively. Many families are reproducing, perpetuating the cycles of error, brokenness and dysfunction.
However, changes are being made. Some adults are unlearning wrong thought processes. In certain cases, the faulty education that boys and girls have received about relationships and love is being corrected with truth.
Consequent healing for many in the present and the future will hopefully be the end result. God is in the business of purging those who desire it. Thankfully, he is a God of healing and restoration.
“Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” – Psalms 107: 19-21.
Used with permission from Petrina Ferguson.