By Dennis Rainey

I’ll never forget the email I received from a husband who described in point-by-point detail what he hoped to get from one of our marriage conferences he and his wife were scheduled to attend. I can’t squeeze all of them onto this page, but you’ll get the idea.

I need you to talk to my wife about:

1. Getting her to stop watching bad TV shows
2. Getting her to read the Bible
3. Getting her to listen to Christian music
4. Getting her to support the charity work I do
5. Getting her to realize that she’s a sinner
6. Getting her to stop drinking beer
7. Getting her to stop wasting our family’s money
8. Getting her to stop worrying about fixing up our home
9. Getting her to realize she’s setting a bad example

After reading this email, I wanted to say to him, “Well, sir, I’ve got a better idea. What if instead of making this long list of things you’d like to see changed about your wife, you made a list of what you needed to change? What if you made a list of what you most appreciate about her? What if you made a list of her top-three needs from you, along with a deadline for you meet them?”

I know this is an extreme example. It’s easy to pick on someone like this. But ask yourself, Am I too quick to think that fixing my mate is the solution to our marriage problems?


Promise each other you’re going to make at least one of the three lists I mentioned. Plan a time when you can share them.


Pray that God will stop the temptation to accuse and point fingers, using whatever red flags and warnings get your attention the best.