After I wrote, The Addiction in Marriage No One Talks About, many of you contacted or commented asking to know how I surrendered control. I decided to share with you my journey which is very real and raw. This is my journey of giving up control in household stuff, finances, kids, and in the bedroom. It wasn’t a quick journey and this isn’t a short post, but hang with me and see where God might be leading you to break your addiction to control.
These are the ways and the places that God worked through my heart, breaking me so that I could be wholly His and be the wife he desired for me. God deeply cares for each of you as wives and wants to bless you and your hubby, in ways you could never imagine. Nothing we have ever done or will do can separate us from that love. Romans 6:36-39
Ahh, what a dream it would be to have a super clean house all clutter gone and all chores done. To be honest, I never have had a perfectly clean house. Not even close, really. And yet, I fought the feeling of, “Just let me finish these dishes and laundry and then I’ll spend some time with you!”
In the beginning it was my honest hope and then it became a crutch on which I lived so that I could have control over my house and also not have to face my hubby and his looks of longing and desire. As for cleaning and chores I started to give myself time limits on all house hold stuff, because if I didn’t I would never stop.
After your kids are in bed, I totally understand how precious uninterrupted time can be to claim a little sanity. Regardless, it is also your time with your hubby. For me, I decided that everything that didn’t get done before Brad got home from work would have to wait until the next day (excluding dinner dishes)-and you know what-we all survived!!
Nothing bad happened, quite the opposite actually, our marriage began to come alive again. If you need a little time later, give yourself 45 minutes or an hour max, to get a few things done (set a timer so you don’t keep right on working), then spend the rest of the evening with your hubby.
I know what you’re thinking right now, “Oh my word, what will we do for the whole evening-every night??” Honestly, its time you get to know each other again so you can do things in that time together. Play games together, read together, watch the occasional show or movie together and yes, enjoy sex together. Give up some control over the house and reclaim that time with your hubby. The one you vowed to spend the rest of your life with. Not just coexist with, but enjoy life together. Have sex and enjoy each other. Laugh together, share your days, find joy and also share in the sorrows of life.
At the risk of sounding cliché, “let it go, girl!” In the end, it is only house work. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When the end of your life is near, you will not wish you had cleaned one more floor nor done one more load of laundry. No, you will wonder why you didn’t love on your hubby and kids more. Just being real.
As a wife with an addiction to control I took care of all the finances. I paid all the bills; I knew what was in our accounts and what was not. I knew what we spent and what we didn’t. We never really talked about who would do this in our marriage, it was sitting there and I just took it over. I needed to make sure it was all done and on time, I needed the control.
As I was seeking God on how to surrender my need for control, I knew he was telling me to hand over the finances. Ugh, really? I thought. I make sure they all done and on time. After a bit of wrestling with God, (thankfully with no hip displacement) I worked up the nerve to say to Brad, “So I’m feeling like I need to ask you if you want to start handling the bills and finances?” All the while vacillating between hope that he would, and hope that he would leave it in my control. He looked at me for a while, blinked a couple of times and said, “No, I don’t want to!” Long sigh. “But I think I should.”
Thus I began a process of showing him all that I did and handing it all over. Did he have to pry my fingers off the bills? Maybe, but he managed and I surrendered control to him-the man God gave me and called to lead me. It was hard at times, but you know what, Brad is amazing with our finances, even if he missed a few bills on occasion. He is so much better than I ever was. He keeps me up to date and includes me in all financial decisions. So don’t start thinking I have don’t have a say, because it simply isn’t true.
Let me be clear ladies, this is not to say that you as the wife cannot handle the family finances. If that is what you and your hubby have decided, then go for it. Some wives’ background is in finances and it makes complete sense for them to be handling it. Just make sure your hubby knows what is going on and is a part of your financial decisions. The issue for us was that I handled everything and Brad really was not a part of that.
We have three kids and I have been a stay at home mom since our oldest was 2 years old. I do work part-time outside of the home, but am home most of the time. Having life at home go smoothly is definitely something I work hard for. I NEED it. Control gave me sense of normalcy and that everything was ok.
As I said in my last post, Brad would come in and mess that all up. So I would overstep him and correct the kids the way I wanted, the way it worked for me. The kids responded every time. What I failed to recognize was that our kids did not respect their Dad as our family leader or as an authority in their life. Why? Because their mom, didn’t respect him or see him as the leader either.
Surrendering in this area was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. I didn’t say anything to Brad; I just began to follow the Holy Spirits lead. When Brad would be talking to one of our kids or correcting them, at first I would literally have to leave the room. Go somewhere else, stick my fingers in my ear, FLEE as the Bible says. Flee the temptation to take over and feed my need for control. I left Brad to deal with the situation himself. Honestly he is an amazing dad and I needed to let go of control and trust. Trust the man God had given to me, trust the man God trusted to lead our family. Trust and surrender control.
When I finally felt like I could be in the room and not try to take over, I would just be a supportive presence. It was not always easy and sometimes I bit my tongue so hard I wondered if there would be any of it left. 🙂 In this time, our kids started seeing their dad as our leader and respecting him when he was making a decision or disciplining. It was truly a beautiful thing to see and feel.
If I am to be completely honest, this is the one place I feel myself backsliding if I am not careful! Be aware of the areas that are a stumbling block for you. Be aware and be humble. Willing to admit it and ask forgiveness. To seek God on how to get back to where he wants you. Its real and it’s hard, but it’s where God can move your heart!
You might have thought this was one post where I might not mention sex. Sorry ladies but it’s true, I had a need for control in our sex life too. I have shared about my struggles with low desire in the early years of our marriage in a few posts. The lower drive spouse many times has control over sex in the marriage. That is true, but that is not what I am talking about today, though it is an important issue to address.
I needed control in all areas of my life and that didn’t exclude sex. I’ll be honest, the need for control made me uptight, rigid and cold. The opposite of control is the ability to relax and slow down. I want to be honest here, but know this is not easy for me because I feel like it makes me sound like an awful wife. I’ll try to explain but please try to hear me out.
Seeking to have control in everything, created a rigid, cold personality that carried over into our bedroom and what we shared together. When I was addicted to control, I could make time for sex, but it was usually on my time frame.
I would be thinking of all the things I needed to get done, and even the other things I would rather be doing. It was an attitude of “let’s get this done” so I can check it off my list. It isn’t hard to figure out that my need for control and attitude dampened our intimacy drastically.
When I did make time for sex I found that I pushed away my husband’s need to touch me, to feel me and to enjoy me. For me to stop and “feel” would take too much time and leave me . . . that’s right . . . out of control. I would push through things in order to have control and to not stop and feel.
Why ladies, why are we so afraid to stop and feel, to enjoy sex? Why are we afraid to enjoy our husbands touch and attention, to surrender our bodies to him, the one God has given to us? Why do we push through and away from the one thing God has given us as a special gift to married couples? Why do we try to control the glue that binds us transforms us and allows us to lose all control with that one special person? Why do we resist stopping and “feeling?”
If you can relate, I appreciate it. I was this wife and it is hard for me to admit it. On this side, looking back, it truly breaks my heart. Was I the only issues we had in our sex life? No, Brad had many things to work through to, but this is about me and my need for control.
Overcoming Control in the Bedroom
I prayed, a lot! I made time for us and as I lay next to my husband and I asked God to help me relax and let myself enjoy my husband’s touch. Because it wasn’t that I didn’t like his touch, it was because I needed control and wouldn’t allow myself to stop and enjoy the touch. I had too much to do. Goodness, what selfishness our addictions are.
Little by little, I began to unwind and allow myself to feel, to enjoy and to embrace the one who God had given me to share this messy life with. The one God had given me to BE a mess with, the one who is a mess next to me!
As I sought God, prayed and relaxed, I began to see a man who cherished me and was very confident in our bedroom. I wanted my husband to lead me in the bedroom as well. Don’t we all want that? We desire the tender yet physically strong, sweet leading, as we make love with our husband. We want it and yet our control has squelched it.
The Beautiful Truth
When I truly surrendered control and handed the reigns over to my strong and tender man, the amazing husband I always wanted was unveiled before my eyes. Will I never learn that God’s plan is always better and gives more than we could ever imagine or ask for?
All I ask ladies is that you think on it and pray. Could this be an area you control as well?
Encourage him as the man he is
He is a man! He is strong physically, he is built to lead. God has designed him with everything he needs to lead, except one thing: You as his wife, standing beside him.
He needs you encouraging him with words (both in private and in public), in being a helper, in cheering him on and telling him as well as showing him what an amazing lover he is. For all the married men out there God designed the wife to be that missing piece he needs while leading. You, his wife are a special part of him being and feeling like a man.
Be his biggest fan, always in his cheering section. Don’t compare him to any other man; he is who God created him to be. That is why you were attracted to him in the first place. Encourage him as the strong, sexy, fun and amazing leader he is. Even if he doesn’t believe it yet, believe it for him and eventually with him. Surrender control and encourage your hubby as the man God created him to be! We will fail at times, and yet it is a very special calling.
One Thing at a Time
Overwhelmed with where to start? Don’t think you have to change it all in one day. Pick ONE thing. One thing and focus on surrendering control in that area. Change one thing and work with God on that. When you feel him challenging you, move on and work on something else you need to let go. Make a list and work through it as the Holy Spirit guides you!