Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Understanding the Desire to Control

Written by Shannon Ethridge
What’s usually behind a woman’s quest for control? Experts agree that an overwhelming need to control is actually an outward manifestation of the inward insecurities we feel. When we’re good with ourselves, we’re usually good with almost everyone around us. But when we’re not feeling so good about ourselves, we often seek to assign the blame to someone outside of ourselves, ruminating on such thoughts as, If my husband were more attentive...If my kids were better behaved...If my home were more in order...If my coworkers were more appreciative...Then my world would be a better place and I’d feel and act like a better person.

Of course, controlling women will tell you that they must be controlling for anything to get done because their husbands are so passive. But it’s worth asking ourselves, "Am I controlling because he’s so passive, or is he passive because I’m so controlling?"

The roots of passivity and female control can be traced all the way back to the Garden of Eden. If you’ll remember in Genesis 3:6, Adam was actually standing right beside Eve when she took a bite of the forbidden fruit. She was grasping for control of what she thought God was withholding from her. Adam passively allowed Eve to rebel and even followed her example. I have often wondered if, in Adam’s mind, not submitting to God’s request to abstain from eating the fruit seemed to be the lesser evil, than not submitting to his wife’s request to partake of it. Regardless of his motive for sinning, Adam’s passivity left a lasting mark on humanity, as did Eve’s quest for control.

We are following in Eve’s footsteps when we seek control rather than submissiveness. When we seek control, we sometimes create the exact opposite behavior in our husbands that we abhor. I confess I’ve been guilty in the past of insisting that Greg do things my way, and then resenting him for not being a stronger leader in our home. I’ve dragged him into counseling for his “passivity issues” when, in fact, my control issues were ultimately the real root of our problems. When this dynamic is present, it’s like what Jesus said in Mark 3:25, “If a house is divided against itself, the house cannot stand.” It creates a Catch-22 situation for both spouses. She wants him to lead, but she doesn’t want to let go of the reins. He feels damned if he gives up control, and damned if he doesn’t. No one wins when spouses are in a power struggle. We can’t complete each other if we compete with one another for control.

Therefore, when women ask, “How do I get my husband to take the wheel and be the leader?” I tell them, “By getting out of the driver’s seat!” In most cases, as long as a wife is trying to manipulate and control, her husband will usually ride along in the backseat for the sake of unity, and in an effort to keep her happy. But if a wife will trust her husband and follow him, even when she doesn’t necessarily agree with how he’s driving or where he’s taking her, he might just develop the courage or the desire to become the leader that she wants him to be.

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; 
and the head of the woman is the man;
 and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 11:3

~Excerpt from: “Every Woman's Marriage
by Shannon Ethridge