When my husband and I married, I thought it was my responsibility to teach him how to do things the right way. (My way.) When he called me a control freak, I got mad.
But I didn’t know how to stop being a control freak and let my husband take over.
I disguised my control as “help.” As his wife, I made it my number one duty to help him.
He called me bossy.
I told him how to do laundry. He ignored me.
I told him how to load the dishwasher. He ignored me.
I told him how we should manage our money.
He ignored me.
Intimacy in my marriage vanished like frost on a sunny day.
He didn’t want my “help.” He said I was a bossy control freak. (I said that’s redundant.)
Do you have control issues in your marriage? Are you a control freak?
Even though I wouldn’t admit it at the time, I knew he was right.
I was a bossy control freak trying to get my way under the guise of “help”
I couldn’t find it within myself to let him take over.
I needed to “help.”
For example, I tried to teach him how to separate laundry my way. I separated it by category and color. Whites, undies, towels. He just threw it all in together, which annoyed me.
Week after week, I’d tell him the proper way to do laundry.
Week after week, he defiantly threw it all in together.
The more I tried to control the laundry situation, the dishwasher situation, the money situation… the more he ignored me.
Fortunately those days are over. I’m a recovering control freak. He still does laundry wrong, but I’ve learned skills that allow me to accept it.
Early in my marriage, I didn’t have the relationship skills and didn’t understand how my bossy control-freakiness was affecting intimacy in my marriage.
I didn’t have the experience to know the more I tried to control him, the farther he pushed me away.
I now know when you try to control a man, he feels disrespected. He feels like you’re saying he’s not capable or smart enough to do the job. And in all honesty, I did feel that way. I thought I knew better. But I didn’t.
A man who feels disrespected is not a happy man or an intimate man.
In order to rebuild intimacy in my marriage, I had to learn to stop trying to control everything. It wasn’t easy. But to get the kind of marriage I wanted (or keep the marriage I had), it was necessary.
The strange part about giving up control–besides feeling like he’s going to mess things up–is you actually feel relief, and you can relax.
Doing all the work (or telling him how to do it) not only puts you in control, but it’s also exhausting.
Does the thought of letting your husband take over make you want to throw up?
I get it.
I want my intimacy and my control you, too.
You can’t have it both ways. Letting go of control is important to intimacy in your marriage. The more you try to control the more distant he will become. He doesn’t want to feel like he’s married to his mother.
If you want intimacy, you can’t have control. You’ve got to choose.
Control is usually driven by fear. When you want to control the outcome, it’s usually because you’re afraid of what will happen if you don’t.
- You ty to control the money because you fear going broke or into debt.
- You try to control what he wears because you fear he’ll embarrass you.
- You try to control what he eats because you fear he’ll get fat and have a heart attack.
- You try to control how he takes care of the kids because you fear people will think you’re bad parents.
- You try to control how he does laundry because you fear he’ll mess up the clothes.
- You try to control because you fear you’re not enough.
I had to learn to let go to restore my marriage.
Letting go isn’t easy. It’s terrifying. You may have to take baby steps like I did.
Pick one area of your relationship–finance, food, kids, laundry–and relinquish control. Just let it go. Try it for a day or so and see what happens. Let him do it his way or the way he thinks is best.
The more you let go, the more respected he’ll feel. The more respected he feels, the more loved you’ll feel.
The need to control will drive the intimacy right out of your marriage. Give up control and build intimacy instead.
Need skills to build intimacy?
- Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
- Visit my website, like my Facebook page and join my private Facebook group.
- Check out my FREE resources and download “How to Be A Wife No Man Will Ever Want to Leave” Challenge!
- Apply for private coaching with Sheila.
Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be.
She went from the brink of divorce to having a thriving marriage by translating timeless truths into practical skills. She’s helped women just like you turn their men into the husbands they want.
She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota with their five children and their Black Lab, Largo.
In addition to coaching, Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network. Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.