New Man

Want to receive New Man by email? Sign up here
Angry Couple
(© Lisavan | Stock Free Images)

Earlier this year a longtime friend of Man in the Mirror sent me this email:

Remember the time you shared about your wife—“she doesn’t need to lose 20 pounds,” or something like that? Would you please share that one again? I went looking for it a while ago but somehow it’s not in my archives.

My wife is struggling with her weight and I don't think I am doing a good job encouraging her; because she knows me so well, I believe her when she says this. Being fit and trim has always been an important discipline of mine, and now that we are both 50, it seems to be more of an issue for us. Advice?

Thanks, Bryan (name disguised)

Here’s what I wrote back:


Thanks for writing and the encouraging words.

So how can you encourage your wife in this struggle? You can’t, you shouldn’t, you won’t, and if you keep trying you’re putting your whole marriage at risk, even as far as divorce.

My point in the article was that I had to let the weight issue go altogether. The epiphany was when I realized if my wife lost 20 pounds it would not make me love her any more or make me any more happy.

Basically, God showed me that if I couldn’t accept her “as-is,” then I really had not addressed the core issues of trying to control her and making my love conditional by putting pressure on her to “stay young.”

The bottom line is that I was more interested in preserving an image of us as a couple and her as a woman from younger days. There were so many strands of this selfishness—

I’m still not sure I fully understand. Very confusing.

But as the proverb says, no matter how far you have gone down a wrong road, the only solution is to turn back. So I started repenting daily of my sins against my wife, started praying The Marriage Prayer, and expected her to act like nothing had ever happened.

Guess what? It doesn't work like that. Because of the pressure I had put on her, her spirit had closed toward me in this area. It took about three years before one day she said, “I feel safe with you again.”

I had worked hard to control her, and I had to work three times as hard and be very intentional to win her back. So as you can see, this is a much deeper issue than it might first appear.

So my concern for you is that you still want to “encourage” her to lose weight and live out your value of being fit and trim. I share your value. But let me be absolutely clear. Nothing you say about this will encourage her. Nothing. Quite the opposite. It will discourage her. And if you keep at it, worse.

So the question is, can you love and accept her as is? The way God does? Or does she have to lose 20 pounds? Will that make you love her more? Will that make you more happy?

And three years from now, when she finally feels safe again, remember that you were not trying to heal the relationship so you could take another run at her. Let it go.

I’ll pray for you,


I didn't hear from Bryan for a long time, but recently he sent this:

Pat—you responded to my email six months ago, and I am just now saying thank you for your kind and firm counsel. Please forgive me for not telling you sooner how much I appreciate you taking the time to give such a candid and thoughtful response.

As you accurately described, “there are many strands of this selfishness—very confusing” You are so right and I have seen a side of myself I really don’t like. The good news is that the Lord used your email, along with some other circumstances, to bring me to a beautiful and yet painful place of confession and brokenness—and this before my wife.

You're right too, that this is a much deeper issue than it might first appear—and thank you for your prayers as I win back my wife’s trust. We were high school sweethearts and celebrate 29 years of marriage this March—and want our marriage to be vibrant and fresh.

It’s probably important to note that this is from a guy who should know better—not a new believer, but a leader and bible teacher for almost 30 years. Ouch! Yuck. “Lord, may I never forget the sinfulness of my sin.” (I think that’s what happened.)

Warm regards,


This is one of those lessons that falls in the category, the most difficult lessons to learn are the ones we already know. Men, if you think you are “helping” your wife by trying to “fix” or “encourage” her, I can assure you tough times are ahead.

The solution? Call it by its real name, “control” or “manipulate,” humble yourself, repent, and give it up.

For three decades, Patrick Morley has been regarded as one of America’s most respected authorities on the unique challenges and opportunities that men face. In 1989, he wrote The Man in the Mirror, a landmark book that poured from his own search for meaning, purpose, and a deeper relationship with God. With over 3,000,000 copies, this best-selling book has captured the imaginations men worldwide, and was selected as one of the 100 most influential Christian books of the twentieth century.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Watch for these danger signals for choosing poorly.

    4 Signs You're Making a Bad Decision

    Avoid distraction and disappointment by testing your choices with these 4 principles.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit