Are you a man that has married a woman or a woman who has married a man? God says that you are now one. This is weird isn’t it? We don’t physically become one person but we do become one in a spiritual sense.
This doesn’t come easy or natural to us does it? As human beings we all think and behave differently. After all, we are created individuals with different personalities, strengths, weaknesses and upbringings. Then how can we possibly become one? This comes down to a very simple but not easy concept. Will we each behave selflessly, putting the other first? Will we put our selfish desires aside and row in the same direction as our spouse? Simply put, we must die to self?
In most marriages, there is a dominant spouse and a submissive spouse. By nature, usually the dominant personality is a controller and the submissive personality is a peace lover. When these traits are not kept in check, this can create an environment where one spouse constantly comes out the winner, so to speak. Over time, as the controlling behavior is reinforced, the controlling spouse becomes more powerful. Let’s look at this.
A controlling husband may abuse his leadership role by ignoring the counsel of his wife. He believes that as the leader, he possesses more knowledge and wisdom and after all, he does have the final say. She will have to trust that God will deal with it and at the same time, protect her and the children. A wife may exploit her husband’s guilt from a previous mistake or indiscretion and use it to control him. If he has repented, he will need to come to a place where he no longer allows himself to live under this condemnation. There are many other scenarios but if you are in this type of marriage, you are well aware of that.
At this point, I would like to speak directly to the controlling spouse. Have you ever planted an idea into the mind of your spouse and then carefully watered it with manipulation until it sprouted and it grew to be their idea? Have you ever pressured your spouse into doing something that they didn’t want to do? Have you ever forced your spouse to make a decision even though they weren’t ready? Have you ever ignored the concern, worry or unhappiness of your spouse because you were so elated that you were getting your own way? Have you ever pouted or acted depressed to motivate your spouse to do anything to make you happy again? Now, go back in your mind – how did it turn out?
I know that in my own marriage, when one of us coerced or manipulated, things did not turn out well for us. Now, after 33 years of marriage, we are finally learning that if we are not in agreement as a couple – do not proceed. If you find that you want something too much – die to self. Proceeding even though the red flag of disagreement is up, will most likely produce difficult circumstances up ahead. I’m not saying that any of this is easy but I would like to encourage you that there is great peace and blessing when you learn to not take things into your own hands. There is harmony when we are not controlling our spouse.
James 4:2-3 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
1 Corinthians 13 Love does not demand its own way.
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