Monday, October 20, 2014

Who's in Control - Part 2 of 3

Image by Christina Morley
I refused to be controlled, but my desire for self-preservation was so strong that at times my husband felt that I was behaving in a controlling manner. He certainly had a tough time with me. When I wouldn’t back down, he’d often argue harder and raise his voice. On at least two occasions, he dominated the argument to the point where I needed to leave the house to get my space. It was only when we allowed God into our communication that He was able to resolve even the worst deadlocks that we were facing.

We were no experts at conflict resolution. I felt caught in the middle of a tug-of-war. Or maybe it was more like a three-way tug-of-war with my husband, God, and me. Fortunately, God won the war, but He had to first teach us how submission works in a marriage. It’s not as simple as some would have us believe. I had come from a highly conservative Christian background where godly women were meant to “know their place.”

I tried the submission route only out of desperation. Did it fix our problems? No, it fell short of expectations and it sometimes flew right back in my face.

I don’t think compromising convictions ever works. The Bible says that whatever is not of faith is sin. I desperately wanted to be controlled by the Spirit, but at times my husband wanted control. He couldn’t always tell when my feelings were just my feelings and when they were really prompted by the Holy Spirit. The fact that his reactions tended to be based on cognitive processes whereas mine were based more on feelings meant that we often struggled in our communication.

I can clearly remember one incident where our idea of submission showed its flaws. At the time, we were staying at my in-laws’ luxury country inn. My husband and I were sitting outside one of their suites while the children were down at their grandma’s house. It had been a lovely day, and the kids had been running around barefoot.

Later that afternoon, as the air began to cool, my husband became concerned that the children could catch a cold. He thought that I was being negligent and told me that I must go down immediately to put socks and shoes on them. I didn’t feel that going right then was a good idea because my mother-in-law had said that she was resting and I didn’t want to disturb her. Also, the kids were indoors so I didn’t think the cold air would bother them for another half-hour or so.

Well, my husband became annoyed. He wanted me to respond to the situation as he thought I should. To keep the peace, I went down, despite my reservations. I tried to be as quiet as possible, but my in-laws’ house was small and their room was right next to the living room where the kids were watching TV. I didn’t stay long, but long enough to have disturbed her rest. I had become trapped between my husband’s expectations and my own conscience. Clearly, submitting in every situation did not always have a favorable outcome.

Related Post: Who's in Control - Part 1

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