Extreme Makeover

There is something about the show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that draws people in. Let’s face it—the vast majority of us, if given the opportunity, would love to change at least one room of our current dwelling, if not give the whole house a massive overhaul.

Some people make a hobby of purchasing run-down establishments at a bargain, with the view to remodeling and renovating—or perhaps even flattening the entire building and starting fresh on prime property.

But don’t we sometimes do the same when it comes to relationships?

We go on first and second dates, too giddy and nervous to notice any imperfections. Then as things progress, we pick up a quirk here and a habit there that leaves a bit to be desired. Maybe it’s perpetual tardiness or overactive public flatulence. We’re a bit perturbed or maybe even grossed out, but we think to ourselves, “Well, it’s fairly minor in the grand scheme of things; besides, if we do get married, I’m sure I can get him/her to change. It shouldn’t take too much effort to get her out the door on time,” or “Maybe his mother just never taught him proper etiquette.”

If there’s one piece of marriage advice that my mother imparted to me, it was this: “Don’t go into a relationship expecting that you can change a person.”

This simple yet profound tip has been very freeing to me. It has helped me to realize that any changes God may plan to make in a person, He will do Himself, by the power of His Holy Spirit. It’s not my directive to insist on change, nor have I been granted the capability to actually make a person change.

Sure, we should expect and encourage our partners to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ and His Word. The Bible says there must be evidence of fruit in the life of the believer. Our spiritual lives ought not be stagnant. We should all strive to root out sin and progress in the journey of sanctification, and we can spur on our spouses to do the same.

Yet when it comes to personality traits, inherent tendencies or quirky habits that may tip the scales toward annoying and irritating but are not necessarily unbiblical … well, we shouldn’t go into a relationship expecting those idiosyncrasies to change.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but there really is no such thing as Mr. Perfect. No matter whom you decide to wed, you’re going to marry a sinner. Save yourself some disappointment and plan to love your future spouse for who he/she is now, not for who he/she might become.

Resist the temptation to look at your spouse through the eyes of a builder, architect or interior decorator, as if he or she is your next project on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Appreciate him or her for their current qualities, and commit to loving and serving them even if they never change.


Kate Motaung is the author of A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging (2018), A Start-Up Guide for Online Christian Writers, and Letters to Grief. She is the host of Five Minute Friday, an online community that encourages and equips Christian writers, and owner of Refine Services, a company that offers writing, editing, and digital marketing services. Kate blogs at Heading Home and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@katemotaung).

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