This weekend while we were in Miami I had lots of down time and was finally able to finish a book called The Surrendered Wife that I started last Fall. The underlying principle of the book is about how women need to stop trying to control our men if we want to experience true intimacy within our marriages. One of the most difficult things about relinquishing control is that we don’t always know when we’re being controlling. I’ll be the first to admit that as I read through the examples there were far too many times when I thought about times I had made these mistakes and disrespected my husband. What I loved about this book compared to other marriage books I’ve read is that it gave practical examples of how to show respect and become a surrendered wife.
One particular suggestion I resonated with was about how to respond to our husbands’ ideas. When we squash our husband’s ideas it can be one of the most subtle and dangerous forms of control because we are telling him we don’t trust him. Without trust there can’t be intimacy. Therefore, it is so important to respect his thinking. The first step is to let him think out loud without criticizing, laughing at, dismissing, or insulting him.
Instead, we need to say with as much kindness and sincerity as we can muster, “Whatever you think” when he is telling you his ideas. For example, if he comes up with a nutty idea about how he wants to change jobs, you say “Whatever you think.” If he thinks the kids should learn how to ski, and this sounds dangerous to you, you say, “Whatever you think.” If he wants to go out for dinner and you want to save money and eat dinner at home, you say, “Whatever you think.”
It takes lots of practice, but I’ve tried doing this lately and I can honestly say I’ve noticed a difference. Using the phrase just as it is has the best results. In the past I’ve used phrases such as “It’s up to you,” “What do you think?” “That’s for you to decide” and “Whatever you want” but none of those communicates both trust in his thinking and a healthy detachment from his problems as well as “Whatever you think.”
My challenge for all of us this week is that we seek the Lord and pray about how we can respect our husbands more. Perhaps you’re already perfect at this, in which case you can totally disregard this post, but for most of us I’m guessing there is room for improvement. Whether it’s using this phrase “Whatever you think” or discovering another way to practically respect your husband, let’s be intentional about it.
Giving up control is really not as scary as it sounds – all you’re really doing is allowing him to be himself. Sometimes his ideas will materialize and sometimes they won’t, but if you trust him instead of trying to control what actually comes to fruition you will be one step closer to fostering intimacy with your husband. Instead of killing his spirit and rejecting him, we’ll build a sense of confidence in him which will give him a whole new feeling of freedom and responsibility.
Question: What are practical ways you respect your husband? Do you have examples to share that have worked well to foster intimacy within your relationship?
Make it a great Monday!
*The ideas in this post came from the book The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. For more details on this approach that has transformed thousands of relationships, read the book!