Control or Intimacy?

It wasn't until I met a counselor who told me I was being a mother to my husband instead of his wife (ouch!) that I realized I had a control issue. After all, aren't correcting and reminding your husband ways to help him improve?

That counselor recommended the book The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle to me, and although I had never, ever, EVER considered surrender an option in anything, especially in the context of marriage, I bought it. I read it. I implemented it. Through reading this book and praying, God changed my world.

Surrendering to your husband is not about returning to the 1950's or being subservient. Surrendering is about seeking the face of God and learning basic principles to help you change your perspectives, attitudes and habits to restore intimacy to your marriage, shifting from controlling your situation to trusting God with it. Surrendering can be scary, but the fruit of walking it out includes joy, and peace. And that burden we wives aren't meant to carry is lifted from our shoulders. Laura Doyle outlines the basic principles of a surrendered wife in her book.

A surrendered wife:

  • Relinquishes inappropriate control of her husband
  • Respects her husband's thinking
  • Receives his gifts graciously and expresses gratitude to him
  • Expresses what she wants without trying to control him
  • Focuses on her own self care and fulfillment (changes herself)

The author also shares the characteristics of a surrendered wife.

She is:

  • Vulnerable where she used to be a nag
  • Trusting where she used to be controlling
  • Respectful where she used to be demeaning
  • Grateful where she used to be dissatisfied
  • Has faith where she once had doubt

I haven't read through this book in several years, but I picked it up again. Reading through it again is an amazing reminder of my journey of realizing how much I chose control over allowing myself to be vulnerable, and how God used Scott's affair to stop me in my tracks and seek a different path. When you choose to control over being vulnerable, you do so at the expense of intimacy. My journey from control to surrender took months, and in some respects, I'm still on that journey.

Is this a journey you need to take?

I didn't *like* nagging my husband. I did it because I thought I had to in order to get things done. Wives don't like to nag. You don't feel good about yourself when you're being critical or controlling. Not sure you need to surrender? I love this list from the book, which essentially helps you identify the degree to which you are controlling in your marriage.

Do you:

  • Feel superior to your husband?
  • Commiserate with other wives about your husband?
  • Think that everything would be fine if your husband would do what you told him to do?
  • Eavesdrop on your husband's conversations?
  • Feel like the only adult in the family?
  • Feel overburdened in parenting your children?
  • Do things for your husband that he should be doing?
  • Have recurring anxiety and depression?
  • Feel exhausted?
  • Find either of you are disinterested in sex?
  • Feel resentful or jealous about your husband's victories in life?
  • Reject or criticize his gifts?
  • Fantasize about divorce or life with a man who would better match you?
  • Discount the reasons you chose your husband in the first place?
  • Feel hopeless about your marriage because your needs have gone unmet for so long?
  • Have a hard time trusting your husband in even small matters?
  • Find yourself trying to control your husband?
  • Get angry with your husband when he makes a poor decision?

Ouch, that list hurts. In fact, it feels so big and overwhelming, it may leave you saying "okay, that's me, so now what??" Well, you've got two choices...you can either order the book or you can follow along as I write about the journey of surrendering based on the book. Or you can do both! I invite you to do both! I'm going to includes lots of nuggets from the book, along with scriptures, AH-HA moments from my journey, and encouragements for you. Will you join me?

NOTE: Do NOT surrender to a husband:

  • ...who is physically abusive to you or your children. GET SOME PLACE SAFE. I'm not saying divorce him, I'm saying your physical safety comes before any sort of counseling can begin. Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline for more information about what abuse is and how to get out of it. 
  • ...who has an addiction. Find your local Celebrate Recovery for information and resources.

Next up, Did You Marry a Loser?

In case you've missed it, this post is part of a series following along with The Surrendered Wife. I'd strongly encourage you to pick up the book and read along! 

I'll say that I'm not sure if Laura Doyle is Christian or not, and some of the book I completely disagree with...I'll let you know about those parts when we get there!

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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