I must admit to being a bit controlling in nature. My husband and children would call that a massive understatement, but I’ll leave it at “a bit.” This often conflicts greatly with my Christian walk.
There are far too many times I get frustrated with God when things aren’t going the way I’ve worked so hard to plan out. I’m finally realizing His way always turns out better than mine could ever hope to become. There really is something incredibly special about the life He mapped out for us in the Bible.
One of these important instructions I tend to overlook comes from the book of Ephesians:
Now as the church submits to Christ,
so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
I struggle with this in my home. My expectations of how my husband should lead are huge, but stepping back and allowing him the space to do this does not come easy for me. But, here’s the good news: Letting our husbands lead when we love to control is an inner battle God can help us overcome.
I love the way Darlene Schacht describes this in her book, Messy Beautiful Love:
“I’ve come to the understanding that submission runs deeper than merely stepping back so my husband can lead. It’s an act of yielding my life in submission to the Father who rewards those who seek Him… When we honor our spouses, we bring glory to God.”
Viewing submission as bringing glory to God makes it so much more powerful. It’s a daily choice that He can and will help us make.
Darlene, also known as The Time-Warp Wife, goes on to share:
“Letting him lead your family doesn’t mean that you aren’t or shouldn’t be part of the planning process. By all means you should. God created Eve because He saw that Adam was alone and needed a helper. You are an essential part of your marriage.”
This is beautifully relieving. We don’t have to sit back and turn into Stepford wives. Our thoughts, hopes, and dreams are an integral part of our walk together as husband and wife.
My husband always points out how people too often overlook the very next sentence of the above referenced chapter of Ephesians:
Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
If our partners love us in this incredibly unselfish way, we have no reason to fear any decision they make. The fact that my sweet husband points out that important verse again and again makes him more than worthy to follow and trust. For a woman who loves to take charge, this allows submission to be monumentally easier.
Does this mean my controlling days are over? Unfortunately no, but it’s a huge leap in the right direction…
Learn more about Messy Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht on Amazon.
I’ve been on both sides of this. As a person who had a tumultuous childhood I wS determined to control every facet of my life and to not allows others actions to lead me astray. Well that’s opposite to what the word calls us to do right. But the protect, Liberty, freedom and peace I’ve experienced in yielding to my husband is second to none. And my yielding to my husband is really a barometer for how yielded I am to Christ. And in plain day to day living it makes my home a happier place. I join you in prayer as we learn to place EVERYTHING under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Beautiful comment, Tyra. I never would have related liberty, freedom, and peace to submission, but you are so right in those concepts. This will be a work in progress for me as control can be a hard habit to break. I’m really excited to see where this change leads my marriage though :).
Thanks for this Candace. Our need to control sure does impact every area of our lives. As those around us prove to be trustworthy and loving, we slowly learn that releasing the reins doesn’t have to kill us but can actually make us stronger and more serene.
Thanks for sharing the journey with us. We’re all resonating in one way or another …
My poor husband has worked hard to prove himself trustworthy. I completely agree with you that releasing control makes us stronger, Linda. This is a new lesson for me, my friend. I always thought it would have the opposite effect. It’s always great to hear your thoughts :).
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom
Oh I think I needed to read this today. I’ve been resisting some things from my husband lately and this was exactly the reminder I needed. Yes, I need to let Him lead.
Thank you so much for blessing me with these words.
You are so welcome, Jennifer. I have even had struggles today with this after just posting it. My husband read this earlier today and loved it :). He has just looked at me and smiled as I continue to argue against even the simplest of his choices. Progress, not perfection, my friend!
That is so neat that your husband points out verse 25, Candace. In the church where we grew up in, verse 24 was taken out of context to the extent that women did not have a voice. Just like in the Bible days, but Jesus changed that and showed women are important, too. It’s good to see you back again, my friend. 🙂
He is such a good man, Trudy. I’m very blessed :). What a difficult church that you grew up in. I truly think that can be more difficult than a childhood without church at all.
It’s good to be back. Thanks for the welcome, my friend. I seem to be taking a lot of breaks lately! I’ve decided if I can post 3 times a month, I’ll be satisfied.
I definitely needed to read this today. This is something I struggle with, at times a lot, and then there are those times that I don’t struggle with it as much. Today, I needed the reminder :). Thank you for your post.
I’m so glad this resonated with you today, Renee. It’s definitely a work in progress for me :).
Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing about your own marriage. It is an area that I am sure you will find many more wives nodding their heads in agreement with you. I have witnessed the beauty of a marriage in which the submission of the wife to the husband and the sweet love shown to the wife has been such a great example.
Getting a glimpse into how hard this is but your heart for learning to overcome is beautiful. God is in your marriage. Let go and let Him.
Thanks so much for your encouragement, Mary. I have seen this type of marriage done in a beautiful way through my husband’s parents. It really can create an amazing marital bond. I’m looking forward to seeing how my hubby and I grow together as we try to implement these important verses.
Great post. I have a controlling nature as well. It’s so hard to let husbands lead, but we want our marriage to reflect God’s design for husbands and wives. Thanks for sharing and for words of wisdom. Visiting you from cheerleader of faith link up. Blessings!
This is a tough one for those of us with a controlling nature, Amanda. I’m taking it one step at a time :). So glad to have you here! Blessings to you as well.
There are definitely two sides to the scripture you mentioned, power in each. My daughter and I had a similar conversation (as in your post) earlier this week ~ about the husband’s being the head of the household. It works well at our house, WHEN I release control. (Yes, like you, there is a battle at times.) It’s a testament to God’s “can do” when we relinquish control. Enjoy the book! #testimonyTuesday
I definitely want to be a better example for my daughter in this area, Kristi. She’s 22 and could end up meeting her future husband any day now. It’s wonderful you are having these conversations with your daughter. Releasing control is imperative in this, but it’s certainly a battle in my house as well :). The book was great! She gives some important advice in many areas.
Oooo girl, this was good for me to read. A timely message. Thank you!
I’m so glad to hear this, Christy! You are welcome :).
Oh this was just so beautifully written, my friend. I too, struggle greatly with this submission business! But as you so eloquently described through offering a deeper look into those verses- there is great sacrificial love on both ends. One can’t function without the other. Our roles aren’t less significant because we are the ‘helper’- If our Husbands calling is to love us as Christ loves the church- then surely the balance is Divine.
This book sounds amazing!! I’ll keep working on this, probably ’til I’m called home. 🙂
I think too many people look at submission as the woman being less, Chris. I completely agree with you that our roles are not at all less significant. Even knowing that fact, this will be a lifetime journey for me as well, my friend :).
Candace, this is excellent, and I hope that many “strong” women read it and let their opinion of marriage be altered. For many years I counted myself as “unmarriagable” because I did not want to be subject to anyone. I’m so thankful that He opened my eyes to the delightful partnership that marriage can be, and now 26 years later, I am delighted to be sharing “control” of my life with God and my husband.
26 years is a beautiful thought, Michele. We will hit 16 this Fall. Marriage is probably the most important partnership we will ever enter into, outside of our relationship with Christ. I really want to do it in the best possible way :). Blessings to you as well!
Being a ‘do-it-yourself’ girl married to a ‘do it later’ guy can be pretty frustrating at times. Yielding, first to God, and then to him is a life long process, but as we already know. doing things the Lord’s way is the only way to be satisfied with what you have in the end. thanks!
It’s funny how we always seem to end up with someone that has such opposite traits than us, Karen. This is so true: “doing things the Lord’s way is the only way to be satisfied with what you have in the end.” Thank you for that important reminder.
Hi Candace! I think forging that delicate balance of leadership and input in a marriage is a constant struggle. I know that I should allow my husband to lead, but often I think I know better! It’s a lesson in humility sometimes. I like that your blog friend talks about how important our input is.
As St. Paul says, husbands need to love their wives, so they never make a decision based on anything but that. Then, submission to them is a no-brainer.
It really is such a delicate balance, Ceil. This will be a lifelong journey for me. I’m with you on thinking I know better far too often :). Blessings to you, my friend!
Glory to God and He be lifted up as I allow my husband to lead. This is also hard for me, but there is nothing more that I want than to honor God in my home. Thank you for this reminder and this message. Glad to have found you on Testimony Tuesday.
It’s so nice to meet you today, Carolina. I completely agree with the strong desire to “honor God in my home.” I still have a lot to learn in this area, but this is something I want to really focus on. Thanks for stopping by!
I most definitely can be a bit controlling myself and have my moments of not leading my husband lead, but truly appreciate the reminder here today to be a bit more patient, as well as to allow my husband to take that lead more often.
This will always be a work in progress for me, Janine. My control issues have been around a while and it’s a hard habit to break :). I like your thought of allowing him to take the lead “more often.” That’s what I’m shooting for as well.
Betsy de Cruz
Thanks for sharing your wisdom here, Candace. Tweeting and pinning this today because I think it’s so important! I tend to be a controller, and that can really color my relationship with my husband if I don’t watch it!
Thanks so much for sharing this, Betsy! I feel it’s such an important topic that gets ignored often. I’m right there with you on being a controller :). It’s a hard habit to break.
Candace girl you know just what to write where it concerns my life. I’m bad about being controlling and I learned my lesson from my first marriage. Plus God was not the head of our household and it showed it.My household now is headed by God and hubby and I respect each other and our head strong opinions. But I sure do love being his wife, companion and student. He is truly a man of God and I love what I have learned from him.
My household was very different in my first marriage as well, Tammy. It’s definitely one of the reasons it ended in divorce unfortunately. I love how highly you always speak of your sweet hubby :). I think that makes such a difference on so many levels. Thanks for sharing here, my friend!
My husband is super laid back and often let’s me make a lot of decisions, but there are times when he is adamant about something and I respect his decision and follow his lead. Because I know he always has our families best interest in mind.
He sounds a lot like my husband, Sonya. This book talks about if they don’t care about leading and leave us to make most of the decisions, that’s a choice too and it’s ok. We are still following their lead, just in a different way :). That made a lot of sense to me.
This is a beautiful post. We’re told in Genesis that our desire will be to rule over our husbands. We have to be willing to seek the Lord’s help daily in overcoming that. That said, I absolutely believe that we as women have incredibly important roles to play as well as we support our husbands. I’m so glad you discussed that the Bible doesn’t call for us to turn into Stepford Wives. It’s hard to find the right balance though, isn’t it? I’m definitely still a work in progress. 🙂 Thank you for the words of wisdom!
Thank you, Bree. I completely agree about the difficulty of finding the right balance. I think I’ll always be a work in progress in this area :). The act of trying counts too though!
A refreshing perspective Candace that we are all works in progress but that God can and will do the work in us as we ask!
He has great plans for us, Sam :). I think we all seem to forget sometimes He’s not finished with us yet.
Well my husband doesn’t love me and doesn’t love me like Christ does. So how do I submit to a man who thinks leading is more control (do as I say no questions asked) vs love?
I first want to apologize for my delayed response. I’m on a limited summer schedule. A difficult marriage can be one of the toughest things to deal with in life. I’ve been there and completely understand how painful this is. Unfortunately my first marriage ended in divorce. It was an extremely tumultuous relationship and as hard as I tried, we just couldn’t stay together. I’m certainly not advising this, just sharing a little of my story with you. Perhaps you could find a good therapist. Even if he chooses not to join you, it could be really helpful for you. I have chosen therapy several times throughout different seasons of my life and it has served me well for the most part. I’m so sorry for your pain and wish I could be of more value for you.
Very great words of wisdom here. I definitely agree with it all. I’ve found this to be a struggle in my marriage. My husband is 5 years younger than me and at 22 and 27 we have had different levels of life experience. We both bring a lot to the marriage but unfortunately one of the things I bring is my controlling nature. I guess being independent for the first 25 years just taught me to run the show. Since we married last year I have been trying to look for insight in how to lessen my control and learn to trust my husband to make decisions more, but I think part of the problem is he doesn’t feel equipped to lead.. he has had people make decisions for him his whole life so it’s been easy for us to fall into this pattern in our marriage! We are trying to learn how to break this pattern but it’s not always easy as we both respectively fall into those habits! Wish there was a quick fix to shift our personalities haha! Would love to hear how your journey has been going since learning this lesson for yourself. I feel like I’m always beating myself up for not letting go of the reigns!
I’m still a work in progress in this area, Jaime :). I too tend to have a very controlling nature. Awareness is the first step. Since writing this article, I really try to at least listen more and not argue everything to death ;). I so wish there was a quick fix too! Just the fact that you’re concerned with this and working on it is a beautiful sign. Many blessings to you and your husband!
I love your honesty! This us such a tough concept for wives that are walking with Christ, let along even comprehensible to wives that have yet to let Him in. I struggle with this daily, not only in my marriage, but in my own walk, and with my children. I really try to focus on our specific roles and how we compliment each other in our home when I first take responsibility for myself!
I struggle with this daily as well, Ashley. I’m so with you! It’s a difficult area to maneuver. I love your advice here about focusing on specific roles and how you compliment each other. Thanks for sharing that!
What if no matter how much I let him lead, he keeps fighting saying I’m doing this or that wrong. I’ve changed literally everything. Now i watch, how I dress, what I say,what i eat, who I talk to. I ask permission on everything . And yet he still finds things wrong with me.
I wish I had an easy answer for you, Garnet. I’m so sorry to hear of your struggle. I will say I believe there is a big difference in lovingly leading and outright controlling. I’m a big fan of therapy. I think there is something wonderful about having an outside support system to help hash out issues. My husband and I went to someone when we were having some problems and I’ve seen therapists on my own over the years with great success as well. I’m praying for you to find peace and direction.