Being a Bossy-Pants Wife And WW Linkup

Bossy PantsI find it amazing how every good gift that God gives can be taken and ruined—when given time and wrong motives—by us as humans.  After all, a careful and wise use of control is what every good leader needs to wield!

Now this post is not about submission in marriage per se, though that is essentially what giving up the need to control involves. This post is about how God created an inroad into my hard and bossy heart through my failure to stop controlling my husband and family. (See other posts in this series here.)

Here’s how the need to control damaged my marriage . . .  

As I said in my last post, my husband and I would often try to prove each other wrong in a competitive way, and that was also a huge failure in our marriage.

But with control, it wasn’t just about being right or better than my spouse, though that was certainly part of the territory.

Control was more about doing things my way!

That’s because I arrogantly believed my way was the right and only way to do things. <gulp>

I came into marriage and motherhood thinking that I would take over and control the matters that were “home-based” while my hubby controlled the matters that related to his work and ministry outside of our home.

I was fine with giving my hubby the freedom to do whatever he felt was right in his “domain” but certainly not in mine! Sadly, it never occurred to me to talk to him about this decision! Argue? Yes! Talk? No!

I tried to control such matters as the disciplining of our children, their spiritual discipleship, their sleep habits, their bedtime routines, even down to the amount of time they got to watch television or play on their game systems. If my husband wanted to weigh in on these matters, it almost always erupted into a fight for control!

I also tried to control matters regarding our home like the color of our walls, the way laundry was to be folded or put away, the types of meals we would have and, most important of all, the loading of the dishwasher! Because you know how sacred the loading of a dishwasher is! 😉

All of this “control” led to two painful realities that damaged my marriage and children . . .

  1. I ended up over-functioning and thereby keeping my sons immature and dependent upon their mama to do way more for them than I should have done.
  2. I also ended up alienating my husband and dividing our family into rigid roles that were often fodder for our arguments on more occasions than I’d like to admit.

As I grew more and more tired of the heavy labor I was putting on myself, as well as the challenge of fighting over “dumb stuff” with my hubby, God began to get my attention.

It was in that releasing that I learned more about faith and resting in God’s control, instead of my own illusion of control.

So I began to work with, instead of being independent of, my husband. We also began to discuss and collaborate on issues before making up our own minds about how it was to be done. #novelconcept

I look back now and wonder what was I thinking? Control is not all it’s cracked up to be!

Can you relate?

 

What areas have you struggled to give up control to your mate (husband or wife)?

 

What are some ways you’ve learned to collaborate and function as a team with your spouse?

 

 


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Nanahood, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.

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  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, Beth. Sharing your experiences this way makes it so much easier for your readers to admit to their own shortcomings, and do something about them.

    Methinks that when the arguments over control end, it’s time to worry, because the partnership has at that point changed into a hierarchy, and it’s very hard to change back. When one spouse cedes authority, the relationship has changed.

    In my circumstances, there are times when my wife will take decisions out of my hands, or go against something I’ve specifically requested without consulting me. I’ve no doubt it’s done with the best of intentions, but when life is slipping away already and one’s horizons narrow, being treated, even unintentionally, like a ‘subject’ rankles. It’s easy to forgive, but very hard to forget.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/05/your-dying-spouse-153-self-medicating.html

    • Yes, good point, Andrew. Whenever it turns into a competition or heirarchy–in the sense that one or both of us decide what is best for the other without consulting the other–then something starts to shift in the marriage. In my view, there is such an important need to be a “team.” After all, even the Father, Son and Holy Spirit never compete or do anything without considering the other.

      I’m sure that Barbara, in her own mind, felt like she was doing the best for you. But yes, it feels very uncaring and removes any sense of control that you might still have. I’m sure she doesn’t see how painful that is for you. It’s hard to when you’re not the one in your shoes. But as an “objective” outsider, I see it and am so sorry that it’s happened. Still praying for you daily, my friend!

  • I CAN RELATE!!! I am so glad for this series… God is working in me to let go and just enjoy my husband and marriage. I am getting better.
    Have a super blessed day!
    Love

    • I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one who’s struggled with this tendency, Ugochi. I wanted to emphasize that much of this is “bossiness” is born out of a gift for leadership, but I didn’t want to push that aspect too much. It might come across like I’m justifying this tendency. But I truly do see that women who are leaders really struggle in their marriages to follow and collaborate with their hubbies. It’s good for us though. We need to learn those very things so that we can follow and let our perfect Lord lead in our lives! Thanks for sharing so vulnerably, my sweet friend!

  • Susan

    Beth, I wasn’t sure I was going to “like” this post – but after 3 kids (not his birth kids), 34 years of being together I am finally getting it! HA! Sooner or later the control-freak gets tired and then blames the other for not being more involved, when they wanted to be all along, but we wouldn’t let them. Oh my!!!!

    • I’m so glad, Susan! Yes, we do get tired and realize that all our “bossiness” is counterproductive for EVERYONE! Thanks for coming by and encouraging me, my friend!

  • Being a Bossy Pants wife? Beth, why are you talking about me like that! I super struggled with controlling the home. And yes, it caused a mess for me too! I’ve since been learning how to relinquish. Boy, it’s hard (cause my way is better! LOL!). Thanks for hosting and sharing another insightful and transparent post. I hope you had an amazing Mother’s Day, my friend! Have a blessed week. :o)

    • I’m so glad you can relate (not that you are bossy, that is!), Tiffiney. ha! I see this tendency in the lives of so many of the women I coach and minister to, so I know that we are not alone in this challenge! Thanks for your continued presence here in the linkups and encouragement in the comments, my friend! You’re sweet!

  • Mary

    My first thought is that I can’t imagine you being the bossy pants wife and then I think of myself. At first glance I could say that I wasn’t like that in my marriage, but I was and had a sense of “knowing what is best”. I would slip in the back door with my opinions and was not loud and argumentative but I still had moments of making sure I “won”. This post speaks to all marriages because I imagine that there is some “Bossy Pants” feelings present that need to be addressed in grace-filled ways. Hope your week is and has been blessed.

    • Well, I try to keep my bossiness to a minimum in my blogging interactions, Mary! ha! But if you “lived” with me, you’d see this ugly tendency. But as I said to Ugochi below, I think that bossiness is simply a perversion of a good thing–leadership. So it’s been a challenge to manage my “leadership” skills in my marriage and elsewhere. After all, sometimes a good leader knows when to follow and cooperate too! Thanks for your sweet heart showing up here each week to encourage me and I can’t wait to meet you face-to-face very soon! Love ya!

  • I definitely have tendencies to be the bossy girl, but my dear mother-in-law gave me many gifts, and perhaps the most priceless was her bad example in this area (otherwise she was an angel). I saw my father-in-law alienated in his own home, witnessed the damage it did to my husband’s self-esteem, and vowed NEVER to do that to my husband (and, as it happened, we’ve got a houseful of boys, so God knew what He was doing). Now, l dont’ mean to give the impression that I’ve got this all under “control” because I still have issues around control, but one pitfall that God has miraculously delivered us from is the trap of my being the bossy pants wife. So thankful for His grace — and for my wise and patient husband.

    • I’m so glad that you learned from the bad examples as well as good examples in your life, Michele. I have a tendency to only learn from my own mistakes! 😉 And yes, we are all works-in-progess as long as we are breathing, I’d say! Thanks for sharing so vulnerably, my friend. It helps to know I’m not the only one who has struggled with this.

  • Shannon Geurin

    Hi Beth! Happy to link up with you for the first time! Me and my husband literally fought to keep our marriage together. It has been the worst fight of my life, honestly..but through that we learned that functioning as a TEAM is the ONLY way! We are in this life TOGETHER. I see so many wives and husbands competing against each other…but if they could just learn that functioning as a team is so much more rewarding!! This was such a good and informative post!!

    • I’m so glad to have you, Shannon! Yes, I’d say that my hubby and I fought over our marriage and then wised up and began to fight for our marriage too! We are still working on the “team” mentality, but we are so much farther down the road than we used to be. Thanks so much for linking up and joining the conversation. I love your blog, btw!

  • Gosh, being a control freak is so exhausting, isn’t it? And all our grasping and maneuvering is a royal pain in the butt for those who are unfortunate to cross us. And talk about trust and intimacy being lost in the shuffle …

    I so appreciate your willing to share your life’s learnings with us, Beth … we, your readers, are blessed indeed.

    • What?! Are you talking to me, Linda?? I was dozing here in my bossy pants chair! ha! Yes, it IS so exhausting. Thank you for being so sweet to visit me here each week. I love knowing what you, my fellow-life-coaching-buddy, thinks!

  • I used to feel the need to be in control all the time, but now I’m kind of letting go of that. it’s a struggle, but I feel a lot better knowing I can just relax. the world does not need to be on my shoulders alone, you know? lovely post ♥

    • You are so right, Tianna. Having the “world on our shoulders” is a crushing weight for sure! Glad to know that you’ve learned from this lesson in life and I really appreciate you joining the conversation here, my friend! Nice to meet ya!

      • nice to meet you too, Beth! I’m happy I learned the lesson as well. It’s nice to not have to feel the need to carry it all the time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this 🙂

  • NanaHood

    Great article and so glad I found your blog! Inviting you to come link up with me at http://nanahood.com/mothers-day-at-disney and yes I have known a lot of bossy pants moms….and been one. sigh Older and somewhat wiser now

    • I’m glad too, Teresa. Glad to find your blog and linkup as well! I’ll be joining weekly from now on. Yes, it’s probably a more common problem for women/wives than we would ever imagine!

  • Beth, you had me saying “ouch” and chuckling at the same time. Especially the dishwasher illustration! I’m thankful my husband pretty much goes with my decorating choices. If he had strong opinions that were different from mine that would be very hard. When we married I was startled to realize that “my stuff” was now “our stuff” and he has as much say as I did in how to use it! It requires major adjustments to blend two live into one—+ lots of grace!

    • I’m glad it not only resonated but made you laugh at the same time, Debbie. I feel like sometimes humor can really open us up in ways that remaining completely serious can’t always do. And I have to say that Gary and I typically agree on how to do the decorating, but he truly has more of an opinion there than most men I know. He was a photographer in the Air Force, so he’s got that artistic eye. And yes, totally get the “our stuff” versus “my stuff.” That was really hard for me, especially when it came to books. I would really have a cow when I’d find one of MY books at his office! Lol! Now we mostly buy Kindle books and have a shared library. It’s a non-issue and really lost the sting even before the Kindle came along! 😉 Thanks for coming by and weighing in. Always good to hear from you, my friend!

  • Love, love, love this quote: It was in that releasing that I learned more about faith and resting in God’s control, instead of my own illusion of control.

    Its amazing that we can sometimes rest so comfortably in what we see as control, i.e. our own strength or abilities. I know I struggle with this often. It’s a good reminder that the only One who really has control is more than happy to give us some peace of mind when we’re finally able to recognize that we don’t do well at all with controlling our own situations. Beautiful post and I’m glad I saw it over on Twitter today. 🙂

    • Thank you, Jessica! I’m glad it’s something that resonates with you. And yes, it truly is crazy that we do that–rest in our illusion of control. Thankfully, we have a Savior who is always in control! Thanks for coming by and nice to meet ya!

  • pioneerpat1

    It is funny but I remember a line from the movie Days of Thunder when Nicole Kidman’s character tells Tom Cruise “Any infantile egomaniac knows that control is an illusion, you don’t control anyone, not even your own body.”

    That made me think hard and I realized that I had to over control to my higher power. It is pisses people off because I do have my opinions but control is not something I need. Many people don’t get my view. They think it is a huge failing in my life but to me it is a way to keep my inner peace in balance. That is more important to me.

    • That’s a great and profound line, Patrick. We don’t often think about the truth of that statement, do we? Well, at least, I don’t. So glad that it’s something you’ve learned to embrace–releasing control when it is best to. I’m sure that your point on that is confounding to people. Most people view control as a positive thing, not realizing how unrealistic and counterproductive it is. Thanks so much for joining the conversation, my friend!

  • I too, came into marriage with preconceived notions about domains… And lol about loading the dishwasher – oh my, yes! Release and rest are such good words for me today, Beth. Bless you, sister!

    • I don’t really know what it is about the dishwasher, Lora! But it seems to be the universal hill we want to die on–for the sake of clean dishes, mind you! Thanks so much for your encouragement, my friend. Nice to meet you!

  • Beth,
    I so admire your authenticity in your posts. It gives us hope that we, too, can get through our marital problems and be stronger on the other side! Thank you!
    Blessings, my friend!
    Lori