A marriage in which one spouse controls the other spouse is not a healthy marriage. It doesn’t matter if the dominant spouse is a man or a woman. Control is a gender-neutral issue.
But in my marriage, I was the controlling spouse. Karen and I nearly divorced because I was such a dominating husband.
That sin goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. God designed marriage to be a paradise as long as it remained under His authority, but Adam and Eve decided to remove themselves from God’s authority. Instead, they tried to take authority over each other.
That’s why God curses control in a marriage. The only cure for this curse requires both the husband and wife to come back under the authority against which Adam and Eve first rebelled.
How do you break the curse of control?
1⃣ First, you must submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Karen and I never talk about who is the boss in our home, because we both agree it’s Jesus. She doesn’t try to impose her will upon me. I don’t try to impose my will upon her. Instead, we submit to the will of Christ.
On a practical basis, this means I will not make a decision without Karen, because she is my partner. We praying before every decision and listen to God’s leadership. We both give honest input to each other—and we refuse to make each other pay a price for being honest.
2⃣ Second, you must be humble and have a servant heart toward other people. God doesn’t give us the right to lord over other people. Whether we have gifts for leadership or not, He will never bless an attitude of pride or selfishness.
3⃣ Third, we have to communicate our needs and desires while trusting the results to God. Men and women are equal, and we have every right to say what we need to say to a spouse. But we are not the enforcers.
The Holy Spirit is the enforcer—and the Spirit of Truth. So if you are speaking the truth to your spouse, He will be your partner to change your spouse. It what you have said isn’t true, then it doesn’t need to be enforced.
4⃣ Fourth, you must stand up to a dominating and controlling spouse. You have to do it righteously, but you must flex your muscle. Slowly, Karen began to stand up to me. “Don’t talk down to me,” she said. “You can’t talk to me like that.” She insisted upon respect—and God helped me hear her. I began to change.
5⃣ Finally, we must submit to each other in the fear of God. A lot of people read Ephesians 5 and think it’s only about women submitting to men. But it speaks to both men and women. Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Wives submit to husbands and husbands submit to their wives. Both men and women should show respect to each other and put each other first.
Control is not healthy in a marriage. Caring, mutual respect is healthy. Showing respect and talking to each other as equals will build trust, and trust is crucial for developing intimacy. All of these are necessary to put a marriage back under God’s authority, breaking the curse of control.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today