Your Love Can't Change Him

change him

[Guest Post by Teryn O’Brien – Want to know why I appreciate her so much? She writes things I swear I could have written. It just makes me want to fly to Colorado Springs, CO and give her a big, BIG hug. If you didn’t already read her previous post, Follow God’s Heart–you should read that immediately after reading this post!]

In many chick flicks and romance novels today, there is a common storyline.

It goes like this: Bad boy meets awkward, shy girl. Girl’s innocent charm completely captivates boy. Her love heals him. Boy changes and they live happily ever after.

As females, this dream is close to our hearts. We all want a man to see there’s something in us worth having and to change for us.

We want our love to change things.

Yet this mentality can lead to harmful practices. We missionary date. We date guys with lower standards. We date guys who don’t believe in God. We date guys who abuse us or misuse us.

For two years, I was in love with a guy. He was a broken guy. He said he had secrets he couldn’t share. He said he could never forgive himself.

I was a hopeless romantic.

I wanted to show him that there was healing.

I wanted to change him with my love.

And so I tried really hard to change him. And you know what happened? He didn’t change.

He actually got worse and worse. No matter how hard I prayed for him, sent him Scriptures, listened to his problems, and stood by his side, he rejected it all. None of it changed him.

But he did change me.

I was shattered, in every sense of the word. I’d clung to him because I loved him. And he never responded to that love. He simply used me. When we parted ways, I was heartbroken. I truly thought I was supposed to stay with him and change him. I’d prayed almost every day for him. I’d asked God so many times to heal him.

And God didn’t.

Why not, God? I’d ask Him. Why didn’t you heal him? Why didn’t love change him?

I have friends like this, too. One of my friends dated a guy who wasn’t a Christian, but she wanted so badly to change him. She cooked and cleaned for him. She served him and prayed for him. She tried so hard to change him. And it didn’t work. In fact, he called her names. He damaged her heart. Then he left her.

But she still wonders, What if he someday loves me? What if he changes?

It’s hard for her to let go.

Sometimes, I wonder if our prayers aren’t so much about love as they are about control.

Sometimes, we use prayer and service and Scripture as a tactic. We use love as a tactic. A tactic to arm-wrestle God into doing what we want in a relationship. We want things so badly that we’ll try to control things through our love. To try and force a man to change when he has intentions of ever doing so.

Ultimately, this damages us because we stay in situations we never should’ve been in. We stay with angry, abusive, manipulative guys who take advantage. We hang onto relationships because we can’t let go. We think, “My love can change him.” And so we stick it out, no matter how hard it gets. Now matter how damaging it is to our hearts.

Girls, this isn’t romance. It’s desperation. It’s abuse. It’s wounding.

But God, He isn’t fooled.

God said “no” to my relationship because He knew it was abusive. He knew it was wounding me. He knew that boy would never treat me like I should be treated.

No matter how hard I prayed, He said “no.”

My love didn’t change that boy. Finally, I had to surrender him to God’s love. Because love sometimes means letting go—no matter how hard it is to do so. Love means surrendering to God, it means trusting that He has a plan, it means stepping out and releasing the need to love and to be loved.

Because my love can’t save a man. My love can’t save anyone.

Only God can save.

Only God’s love can heal.

And it’s hard to admit, but we can’t control God. And we can’t control if a man will accept God’s love and healing in their lives.

We’ve just got to trust that God is in control. And we have to let go.

Teryn O'BrienTeryn O’Brien’s passion is to spur others on to the healing Christ’s unconditional love brings. She currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO, where she works in marketing at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. She spends her free time roaming the mountains, writing a series of novels, and combating sex trafficking. Read her blog about Identity in Christ at

[Photo credit: Helga Weber via photopin cc]


  • Matt Appling

    Yes! You really nailed it on the issue of control. That’s what so much boils down to in relationships, and it goes both ways. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

  • Lindsay Morgan Snyder

    Great post!!! We all want to give and receive love (it’s human), but often times we (including me for many years) just miss the fact that Jesus is the One we need to start with, truly letting Him LOVE us and truly loving Him with EVERYTHING in us…

    • Teryn O'Brien

      Yes, God’s Love is the most important concept of all. When we accept God’s love for us, then we truly understand how we should be treated and how we should treat others (especially in dating relationships). All other love flows from understanding His love. Thanks for commenting!

  • Ruth erazo

    Thank you so very much for sharing. I was in this situation a feo months ago, only God’s love can change a bitter heart 🙂

  • Angela HERnandez

    I’m in a situation right now where i know deep down inside i want him to change and love God and i know this relationship isnt changing him but its changing me and drawing me away from the one true love and never fails but after reading this i can totally agree that loving myself and God is more important than wanting someone to change for you. Thank you soo much for sharing this

  • jayshree

    Thank you at least i know why i go through this and i am putting myself through this pain ,I always thought as i christian i can pray as everyone tells me fast and pray and god will deliver but only God ahs the authority to decide especially when your so called loved one will never change no matter how many years i am in this marriage he puts his son before me shows me disrespect and makes it seem that his life means more than mine and that i am just here as a maid,servant , i must work and put money into his hand and see to all his and his sons needs first and i must have no money of my own he controls everything and i must just obey . Am i doing the right thing and what do i do to handle this situation i already am drained out tired and manipulated .