When You Manipulate Your Husband, You Lose Him

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Over time in a relationship, couples fall into typical roles. They learn how to push each other’s buttons. They learn how to control the other, how to manipulate situations to get what they want and ultimately, how to win. This might be through force, silent treatment, being on edge, yelling, withholding sex, controlling the money or the schedule.

Men do this. Women do this.

I’ll post another time about how men do this, but for today, I want to focus on how many wives manipulate their husband and the consequences of that manipulation.

Right now I’m preaching a series through the life of Samson at Revolution Church. While the series is geared towards men, there is a ton in it for women. Like this:

And in three days they could not solve the riddle. On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” And Samson’s wife wept over him and said, “You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people. -Judges 14:14b – 17

Samson tells a riddle to the Philistines, who are ruling over the nation of Israel. He makes a bet that they can’t figure it out.

They can’t.

So, the Philistines go to Samson’s Philistine fiance and tell her to find out the answer, so they don’t look foolish.

This passage shows a few things about men and women and their default sins under stress. Samson wants to win at all costs. Samson wants to avoid looking foolish at all costs.

His fiance makes the go to move that every woman uses, and uses a lot in marriage, manipulation. 

She wept before Samson for 7 days. She nagged, complained, gave him the silent treatment.

And in the end, she won.

But she lost Samson.

Every time you manipulate your husband, you lose him. 

You may not lose him to divorce, but you lose a piece of him. Trust is damaged. He begins to wonder if you are just using him. He begins to wonder if you have his best interest at heart or if you are out for yourself, your kids or someone else (maybe your mother, his mother-in-law). He wonders if you will fight for your marriage. He wonders what will happen the next time you don’t get your way.

It might be you stop talking to him, stop responding to him sexually, withhold information, give him cold stares, talk in passive aggressive tones, make snide remarks towards him.

Men will acquiesce all kinds of things for peace and the path of less resistance.

So, while many women “win” and get their way through manipulation, much like Samson’s fiance. They lose their husband and a piece of their marriage every time.

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The Biggest Sin in Adoption

We have met our son, FINALLY seen his sweet smile, squeezed his small body, got lost in his big eyes and then had to say goodbye for 5-10 weeks. Every time I think about leaving him that last day tears come to my eyes; we walk with him toward the lunchroom and his breathing becomes great heaves. Josh and I are trying to hold it together and not have a complete melt down in front of our son, who has lost SO MUCH, and now probably feels like the hope that he may have found in a relationship with us is being ripped away from him. We help him wash his hands, and instead of his lighthearted smile and willingness to obey, he is in a fit of tears and his legs won’t support him… we kiss his sweet face and walk away. The nanny explains we will be back, but how can a 4 year old know that in his heart. So again because my arms are too short to change anything in this process, we pray; that he doesn’t lose hope, that when we return he doesn’t reject us because he has felt abandoned by us, and that our hearts will be ruled by peace and patience as we wait.

This is the part that gets me, being ruled by peace as we wait. There have been times in this waiting that I have gotten caught up in the frenzy of wanting to know what is going on, following other people’s journey forward and feeling forgotten, and it. has. been. sin. Before we traveled to meet our son, we were waiting on a piece of paper from a government official giving us the clearance to travel, as we waited I begged God that it would come through. One morning I woke up especially early and prayed, I watched the sun rise and was reminded of  what we tell our kids… see that light from the sun, it is so bright that it is hard to look it, that is what the glory of the Lord looks like…

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That morning I was reminded of the truth that God’s ways are above our ways, that He exists outside of time and He already sees it as done. The timing of the thing that I was so anxious about, God already saw as DONE. Thinking in that way helped me to not just cling to the peace that I knew I should have, but actually live in it.

We are in a time of waiting again, this is some of the most painful waiting we have had to do up to this point…

I am reminded of God’s heart toward us, His calling us and desire to be in relationship with us, and because of his patience we have salvation (2 Peter 3:15). My desire through this is to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity (2 Peter 3:18). If I fall into the sin of worry, control and lack of peace, then I am not pressing into God’s heart for me or my son, who is not orphaned because he is OUR SON NOW, but feels orphaned. There is a longing in my heart that can very easily cross over into the sin of worry, but if I feel that and see it through God’s heart toward those who have not crossed over into His family I am more likely to live in His peace.

Isaiah 53:5 says,

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

If I am not living in peace then I am neglecting the very crucifixion of Jesus, and I think that is the biggest sin in adoption.

Top Posts of July

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In case you missed them, here are the top posts of July 2013:

  1. The Five Stages of Discipleship
  2. Why Pastor’s Should Take a Summer Preaching Break
  3. The Sins of a Pastor || The Pastor’s Family
  4. The Sins of a Pastor || Giving Away too Much at Home
  5. Adoption and the Desire to Control
  6. Finding an Accountability Partner as a Pastor
  7. 21 Skills of Great Preachers
  8. Interacting with the Opposite Sex as a Pastor
  9. The Things Pastors Know and See
  10. The Sins of a Pastor || Untouchable

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Discerning the Idols of Your Heart

 

Tonight in my sermon we worked through some of the questions that can help you discern the idols of your heart. Each person has a default idol of their heart, what pushes them to make the decisions they do, both good and bad. Tim Chester points that each of us have an idol that is either for power, control, comfort or approval. They overlap and we might have all 4 at different times, but these 4 things push us to sin, succeed and live our lives.

The hope we have is that they will bring us the fulfillment we long for.

For example, when a man works a ton of hours to provide for his family, he is doing a good thing to provide for them. But he might be doing it so that his family will approve of him or that he will have the comfort he longs for.

Or, when one tries to control a situation through organizing every detail, keeping things in order. They might say they are organized or a detailed person, which might be true. It might also mean that it comes from a place of insecurity where they need to control everything instead of trusting in God.

Here are some questions we worked through tonight to discern what the idols of your heart are:

  1. What do I worry about?
  2. What do I use to comfort myself when life gets tough or things don’t go my way?
  3. What, if I lost would make me think life wasn’t worth living?
  4. What do I daydream about?
  5. What makes me feel the most self-worth?
  6. What do I lead with in conversations?
  7. Early on, what do I want to make sure people know about me?
  8. What prayer, unanswered would seriously make me consider walking away from God?
  9. What do I really want and expect out of life?
  10. What is my hope for the future? What will complete me?

This Weekend: Partying that Provokes

Revolution’s BIG DAY is less than 3 days away. Are you ready? Our goal for the night is 150. We have been praying and planning this day for weeks and I can’t wait to see what God is going to do.

We’ll be looking at a very simple questions this week, one that many ask on a regular basis, “What do you do when life seems out of control?” It is going to be a powerful night as we look at who is really in control of our lives, what that means, how that answers other questions when it comes to happiness, pain and suffering.

After the service, we’ll be having a BBQ Throwdown and hanging together as a community. When I say you don’t want to miss Saturday, I am not kidding.

So, do whatever you have to do to get to Revolution this Saturday night (and don’t forget to bring a friend with you)! To use an e-vite, just go here.

Remember, we meet at 5pm at 410 S. Pantano Rd.

See you then.

What You Can Control

I was reading Exodus 18 – 20 this morning. It is the classic passage on delegation. Whenever you go to a pastor’s conference, someone is bound to use this passage to show how to delegate. The example of Moses doing everything for the Israelites and not handing things off, for a number of reasons, is something every pastor and leader can relate to.

Jethro (Moses’ Father in law) watches as all the people line up to let Moses answer their questions and make decisions for them. Jethro asks him, “Why are you doing this? All by yourself?”

Moses answers, “Because the people come to me with questions about God. When something comes up, they come to me.”

Now, it is easy to look at this and think, but Moses is wise. Maybe Moses was the best person to do this, the best person to answer all their questions. But Moses also kept other people from being involved. By doing this, he was really being selfish by not allowing others to help and he was setting up a system that made it that only he could answer people’s questions.

One of the things that many pastors struggle with is letting go of things. Letting go of control and letting other leaders step up. Not being in every meeting, every conversation, every decision. This makes the pastor the bottleneck of the church. It keeps the church from being healthy and effective, and it keeps highly talented leaders from doing what God created them to do.

Once in my coaching network, Nelson made the comment that there are two reasons churches do not break through the 65 and 125 barrier (these are considered the two hardest growth barriers for a church to breakthrough). They are connected:  either the pastor will not give up control and delegate to other leaders, or the church won’t let him.

At Revolution, we are entering this stage. We prepared for it by raising up leaders and passing things off to them before we needed to. We have always tried to be ahead of growth and staff and prepare for it instead of reacting to it. I shared on Saturday night that right now, you don’t have to talk to me to get involved and connected at Revolution. That is awesome.

We are trying to remove the barriers to breaking through 125 before we have them. This is exciting and scary for me as the lead pastor. Giving anything away as a person is difficult, but when you start a church or business, it is hard to let others care as much as you do. Even though they do, it is still hard.

I was reminded Saturday night how many people in our church care about Revolution and how much effort everyone puts in to make it happen. As a leader, I am humbled by this.

In a growing church, the lead pastor must let go of control to high capacity leaders. They must let leaders do what God created them to do. It is a win-win situation.

A leader must learn to control what they can control. A leader can control what they give away and how they do when they give it away.