That’s what I used to think. I am “helping” him! That sounds noble and godly, right? After all, I am his “helpmeet!” That is what I told myself. Many women believe their men couldn’t survive in the world without them doing things for him and telling him what to do and critiquing him constantly and keeping a running account of all of the things he does “wrong” and constantly throwing his failures up in his face. It’s super common these days for women to tell their men how to run their business situations, to constantly give him helpful “advice” about decisions he needs to make and to tell him that she knows better than he does practically everything. Many women think their men need their girlfriend/fiance to tell them what to do, how to do it, when to do it – or things would just be a catastrophe!
MEN INTERPRET HELPING DIFFERENTLY THAN WOMEN!
Nina Roesner (“The Respect Dare”) commented lately that her 16 year old son said that men don’t jump in and help another man unless he asks. It’s disrespectful. It’s smothering. It’s implying that the guy helping the other one thinks he’s incompetent.
When we rush in to help our men – we can have great motives, but we can come across as implying we don’t think that our guys can handle something on their own. That is a very disrespectful message to send – that I think my man is incompetent and incapable of accomplishing something without my unbidden assistance.
DOES “TRYING TO BE EQUAL” HURT OUR ROMANCES AND MARRIAGES?
Like I did in the past, many women are sadly underestimating their men and are actually making the situation even worse by demoralizing their guys and making them feel like a failure when they could be building up their men and creating a more wonderful atmosphere. Our culture and media constantly tell us that a woman being “smarter” and a better leader than her man is normal now. Or at the very least – men and women are “equal” now. They can share leadership, right? Split everything in the relationship and later in marriage right down the middle- bills, chores, childcare, working outside the home, finances, leadership- and it will be great! … Or, that is what we hear. It didn’t work out that way in my experience or in the marriages of other women I have seen try to take control over their husbands.
Men and women ARE of equal value before God. Galatians 3:28. But we are not the same or unisex. We were made with special gifts, talents, strengths, abilities, roles, perspectives and weaknesses by God’s divine deign. His Word about husbands being the head of the wife is NOT the statement of a woman-hater. God is the designer of men and women, He loves us more than we can imagine! He created masculinity and femininity and He knows what we as men and women need and what we are designed to do. He knows the damage that will happen to marriages when the wives take over and the husbands unplug and things are all topsy-turvy. And He also knows the damage that happens if a wife has zero thoughts, feelings and opinions and becomes less than human and allows a husband to become a selfish tyrant. That doesn’t display the very great mystery of the sacrficial love of Christ for His beloved bride, either! He wants to spare us the pain of attempting to run a marriage into a ditch in a way that is contrary to His wise and beautiful design.
MY SITUATION MAKES ME AN EXCEPTION TO GOD’S WORD, RIGHT?
Almost all married women, before they decide to really look at the issue of God giving leadership and authority in marriage to the husband think to themselves something like
- “Ummm…. THAT wouldn’t work in MY situation! You don’t understand MY husband. He isn’t a leader. He won’t do anything around the house.”
- “I’m the only mature one around here, if it is going to get done, I’m the only one who can do it.”
- ”I have to talk to him like he’s an idiot or he won’t do anything right. He’s stupid.” (Yes, I am actually quoting an ex-wife verbatim for that last one).
- “My husband isn’t spiritually/emotionally mature or responsible enough to lead our family.”
- “I can’t trust my husband’s decisions. He’s too selfish.”
- “My husband isn’t a Christian, so I don’t have to follow him.”
- “My husband doesn’t read his Bible and I don’t see him praying, so that excuses me from God’s commands to wives.”
“My situation is unique and I am exempt from obeying God” – is basically what almost every wife thinks when confronted with God’s Word about how He designed marriage. As Dr. Phil would say, “Well, how’s THAT workin’ for ya?” Not too well, in my case! That’s for sure!
Let me be clear, God’s Word DOES say to submit to (to rank ourselves under like officers in the military) to our husbands “in the Lord.”. So if my husband asks me to do something sinful or unbiblical, I must be prepared to resist him in order to submit to Christ. Christ’s authority in my life trumps my husband’s authority or the church’s authority or government authority or my boss’s authority. I may never follow any earthly authority into sin!
When I argue with God that “I am the exception and I don’t need to follow or honor my husband’s leadership like Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3, Genesis 3 and I Corinthians 11 say to do” – I am arrogantly telling God that I know better than He does. I am saying God’s Word is wrong. YIKES!!!!!!!!! And that is how I lived for a long time – not consciously, but that was my sinful, prideful attitude. My pride repelled God and my husband.
RECOGNIZING YOUR INNER CONTROL FREAK
I didn’t recognize myself as controlling for a REALLY long time. I’m sure other people could immediately see it but I just thought I was “helping” people by trying to get them to do what I thought was best for them. ”If only everyone would do as I say- they would be so much better off!” Right? Some other “recovering control freaks” and I were laughing about this today at church. When you see the whole controlling issue in someone else’s life- IT LOOKS AWFUL! Then when it dawned on me that I was being controlling- I was absolutely mortified.
Laura Doyle (author of “The Surrendered Wife”) says that unfortunately much of what women view as “helping” comes across as “controlling” to their men- and it offends them deeply. My controlling behavior – telling my husband what to do and how to do it and when – implied loudly to him that I didn’t trust him to handle things and I didn’t think he was capable. What a TERRIBLE message to send to my man!
A wise woman sends messages to her man that makes him WANT to be with her and makes him feel like he is a wonderful success, not a catastrophic failure as a man. A man is designed by God to need his woman’s affirmation, faith, respect and admiration to build him up to be the leader God designed him to be. For me to deny him respect and to refuse to follow his leadership kept my husband from being able to lead properly and kept him demoralized, discouraged, and unplugged from me. And left me lonely, overwhelmed, afraid, anxious and stressed out.
HOW TO SHOW CONFIDENCE IN HIS ABILITIES
When he has a decision to make about HIMSELF – let him make it on his own without your advice or prodding. If it involves you, then you can tell him your desires and feelings in a respectful, pleasant way – but ultimately the decision rests on him. I like Laura Doyle’s advice to say, “Whatever you think” when he has a decision to make – especially if you have been controlling in the past. It may be good for him to be able to learn to make his own choices and become a good decision maker on his own without your input for awhile.
- Let him handle things.
- Don’t rush in to help or take over.
- Praise him when he does a great job.
- Encourage him.
- Tell him you believe in him.
- Be PATIENT and just wait. It’s ok. You don’t have to make things work out a certain way.
- Be as unattached as possible to the end results and outcomes – and be very attached to trusting God and learning to trust your man and build him up as a leader.
Help these precious girls to learn Your ways for preparing for dating and marriage and to have spirits that are soft and pliable in Your skilled hands, who listen carefully to Your Word and Your Spirit! Let them have the beautiful romantic relationships that You desire them to have that honor and glorify You greatly! Help them to learn what kind of help You really designed us to give our men and how to help in a way that honors and respects the masculinity of our guys!