Today we continue to unpack the many subtle ways our spouses can control us by talking today about the temptation to try to “fix” or change our spouse because he/she doesn’t do his/her part or do it correctly. This is very similar to the victim-mentality post I wrote about recently, but the emphasis is on pushing for change today.
This is one that I really struggled with back in the “messy” days of my marriage. And I want to say two things at the outset:
- It wasn’t always that my husband didn’t do his part back then. It was my “perception” that he wasn’t. I’ll explain more about that phenomenon in a minute.
- I always ask my hubby for his permission to share posts that involve a less than flattering look at his part in our marriage. And this post, is no exception. #hubbysupportsme
One of the things I tried to fix in my husband in the early days was his temper. Even when we dated I would tell him on occasion that he was being “too emphatic” with me. #wordnerdalert
This highfalutin buzzword was thrown up in his face so much that at one point it made me equally as “in-your-face-annoying” as he had been with me!
There are at least two major consequences of trying to control my spouse in this way …
1. I put myself above him instead of coming alongside him.
[Tweet “Focusing on my mate’s tendency to lose his temper made me judgmental & deepened my denial. “]
As you can imagine, that only increased the likelihood that he would feel angry with me for judging and condemning him. I had begun this practice in an effort to enlighten him to the abrasiveness he sometimes had. But it had the opposite effect—not to mention, dividing us as a couple. #eww (Think Jimmy Fallon!)
2. It distorted and blocked my view as well as my hubby’s.
You see, I felt as if it was my duty to be a “window” into Gary’s heart, if you will, so he could see his ugly side from my perspective. But in trying to control and criticize him, I was really standing in front of that window blocking his view and giving him a refection of “my” ugly side. It was like, “Take a closer look at my anger, Gary! Take a deeper look at the bitter heart I have towards you!”
[Tweet “You can imagine how well criticizing motivated my man to change! #crazycycle”]
Whenever we attempt to control our spouse through trying to fix or change them, we are basing that out of our subjective perceptions—emphasis on the subjective. There’s a funny thing (sad, really) that happens when we attempt to first and (often) “only” focus on our mate’s problems … We can’t see them clearly.
Oh, we think we can! That’s why we do it! 😉
But Jesus made it clear that we can’t in Mt. 7:4-5 (Hover over that reference and it will display) and you’ll see that it’s not until we get that crazy plank out of our own eye, that we clearly see what’s going on with our mate’s life.
Most of all …
[Tweet ” When I try to “fix” my mate, I’m letting my need for my spouse to change control “me.””]
Idolatry at its ugliest!
I become “fix-ated” on him doing things the way I think he should. This takes valuable energy and time away from minding my own “p’s” and “q’s”—which by the way are like mischievous little tots constantly trying to bolt! #notimetolookaway!
What have you tried to fix in your mate? How’d that work for you?
What advice would you add to what I’ve mentioned today?
Two more things – I am NOT saying you should never talk to your spouse about an area of concern. My attitude and approach was the problem here. That is my emphasis for today.
Also, there’s a flipside to this need to control a mate who doesn’t seem to be doing his/her part … enabling them. This is rather complex, so I want to unpack that separately next week. I hope you’ll join me then!
Linking up with – Mommy Moments, Weekend Whispers, Making Your Home Sing, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Faith ‘n Friends, Word of God Speak, Sharing His Beauty, Spiritual Sundays, Words with Winter, Sitting Among Friends, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and Playdates with God
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