Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Giving Up Control

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Wife: Hi Honey. What took you so long? Why is the radio up so loud? You'll lose your hearing. You'll be deaf like your dad.

Husband: Yep.

Wife: Did you really wear that to work today?

Husband: Yep

Wife: There's two different shades of green.

Husband: Yep

Wife: They're going to think that your wife doesn't take care of you.

Husband: Yep

Wife: All right, traffic's clear on this side. You can go. You can make it. Go. Punch it. Well, did you have a good day?

Husband: Yep

Wife: What about your meeting? Did it go okay?

Husband: Yep

Wife: Yep, yep, yep. That's all you ever say. Why don't you talk to me anymore?

Leslie Basham: It's Thursday, June 3; and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Here's Nancy to introduce our guests.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Does your husband feel more like you are his wife or you are his mother? We're going to talk about that today and we have joining us Connie Grigsby and Nancy Cobb who've written a couple of dynamic books on the marriage relationship, the first one called The Politically Incorrect Wife and then a second one called, How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You.

And we're talking this week about some issues in marriage that can either build up or tear down a marriage relationship.

Nancy and Connie, thanks for being with us here on Revive Our Hearts.

Connie Grigsby: Thank you.

Nancy Cobb: Thanks for having us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now I love your hearts. I love the fact that your thinking is so rooted in the Scripture and that it's illustrated in your lives. And you've been so honest with us in these books to tell us that you haven't arrived, that you've wrestled through these issues.

And one of the things you address I think is so common to us as women. It's this whole matter of control. And you say, "Stop it."

Connie Grigsby: That's right. Men don't like to be controlled and I think women sometimes think, Anything you can do, I can do better. So we're always correcting our husbands, one upping them. We've got a better way, a shorter way, a quicker way, a faster way.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And we're going to let them know.

Connie Grigsby: And we're going to let them know. And then, the interesting thing is, we come back and say, "Why don't you ever do this? Why don't you help? Why don't you do this?"

And our husbands will say, "I can never do it right. I can never do it like I am supposed to. It's easier not to do it." So when we take over that control in the home, what we're doing is we are eroding the very way that God set up our homes to be.

So we're causing our own foundations to crumble when we do that. And we shoot ourselves in the foot. Even though we get what we want, we ultimately don't get what we really need. And that's the way God set out the structure of the home to be.

And sometimes one of the ways we get that control is we mother our husbands. We can mother our husbands to death. Many show love by mothering. But more often, we're wrestling for control of the home and one of the ways we do that is through mothering.

I once asked Wes, "If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?" And without blinking an eye, he said, "It would be that you would stop mothering me. I don't need a mother right now. I need a wife. I've had a good mother. Now I need a wife."

So, that was a "wake up" call to me because I didn't want to be his mother. But that's who, in a sense, I had become.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I remember hearing a lady in our Revive Our Hearts recording session one day saying that the Lord had shown her that she was no longer to be her husband's mother and she was not to be his teacher or his Holy Spirit. She said that God showed her that her husband has a mother and he only needs one. And he has a teacher and that's the Holy Spirit.

And for her, having functioned for so many years as her husband's teacher and mother, that was a huge paradigm shift--a huge shift in her way of thinking. And she shared with us how she'd stopped. She made an abrupt change, a turn-a-round and said, "I'm not going to be his teacher. I'm not going to tell him what to wear. I'm not going to tell him which direction to turn. I'm going to stop running his life."

And she came back months later to tell us what an incredible difference this has made in her marriage, that the things she had wanted her husband to do in terms of providing leadership, he was now free to do, because he didn't have to wrestle her for the steering wheel.

Connie Grigsby: Right. One of the things I used to say to Wes was, "I want romance. I want love. I want this. I want that." And as I look back, very few men are going to feel that romantic kind of way towards a woman who constantly mothers them. So back off the mothering. Become the wife that you're supposed to be and free your husband to be that romanticist and that cherisher that you so desire. Because he's probably not going to be that if you're mothering him 24-7.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Okay, we may be thinking, I need to mother. I need to take control here because he's not doing anything. He's passive. He's sitting by and if I just let him go, if I don't take the initiative, nothing is going to get done. This family is going to fall apart. We wouldn't have any income. The kids wouldn't get trained or reared if I didn't step in and remind him or explain to him how we're supposed to do things.

And I think that's a fear that women have. If I don't take the steering wheel, this car is going to careen out of control.

Nancy Cobb: Well, that fear probably needs to be dealt with in a godly way. You can begin to pray for your husband that he would pick up the leadership role. But when I discovered this after I had been married twenty-three years, I went to the Scripture because we were studying Genesis. And it says in Genesis, one of the repercussions of the sin of Eve is, "Your desire will be for your husband, and will rule over you" (Genesis 3:16).

And I think that desire she wanted was the ruler-ship. And that's what I had. I didn't realize that that was not right. So when I began to see that Ray was to be the head of the home and I decided that I was going to relinquish the control that I had held, I didn't make any announcements. I just did it.

And I would say, when the children would come to me, and they would say, "Can we do so-in-so," I would say, "Well, ask your Dad." And they said, "Well, we never asked Dad before." And I said, "Well, you're going to have to ask your Dad now."

And Ray would come and say, "Why are the children coming to me with all of this stuff?" And after awhile, it seemed normal to the whole family that Dad was now the leader and Dad was the one who was leading the family.

And as I surrendered it, he actually picked it up. But I'm sure I must have been praying behind the scenes that he would do that. But he is now the one who's in control of our home. And he's now the one who makes the decisions. And he's the one that I look to because I can so trust him. I don't know what the issue was before.

I guess it must have been fear-driven. It must have been.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Okay, now you say your husband is now the head of your home. He was but you're allowing him to be and he's stepping to that role. Does that mean, Nancy, that you don't express opinions, that you don't give advice or counsel or input--you just keep your mouth shut and whatever Dad says, that's the way it's going to be?

Nancy Cobb: No, I of course give my input and I'll give you one small example. Not too many years ago I had been speaking at a retreat. I came home; the phone was ringing as I entered the house. I greeted my husband and he had missed me. On the phone was my father and he said, "I'm having elective surgery. I'll pay your ticket. Can you come and take care of me?" And I thought, Well of course. But I said, "Let me check this over with Ray."

And Ray said, "No." He said, "You've been out of town for three days. You said it was elective surgery. I wouldn't mind if you go next week, but I'm lonely. I want you to stay here with me."

And I explained a little more to Ray how I felt about my father because he didn't have anybody up there to help him.

And he said, "Next week."

So I called my father back and I said, "I'm sorry, Daddy. I can come next week."

And he said, "I'll ask one of the neighbors."

But what I did was, I called my sister and my sister went.

And my sister and father had never bonded. And do you know if you don't bond with your father when you're eight or nine and you are fifty-six, when are you going to bond?

So God had a greater plan. And even though I disagreed with my husband and expressed it, I had listened to what my husband said, came under his authority and the Lord worked out a miracle in the lives of my father and my sister. And I saw it.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And the great thing about living under authority, God-ordained authority, is that even if your husband proves in a situation to be wrong or not trustworthy, your trust ultimately isn't in your husband. Your trust is in God who is sovereign.

And that's why Proverbs tells us, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord." (Proverbs 21:1) He turns it. And as a wife, you can trust God to turn the heart of your husband. If God knows that you need to be there for your dad's surgery, then you pray. You make your appeal to the Lord and give God a chance to turn the heart of your husband.

But I think as women, it's very hard for us to wait. It's hard for us to be still. It's hard for us to let go because there is that sense of driving fear that, If I let up my guard and my control for a moment, this thing won't be under control. And what we miss out on is the fact that there is a God who is very much in control and a God who can be trusted. And that's why we can relinquish control in the context of marriage.

Nancy Cobb: And one of the ways that we keep control is through the sexual aspect of our marriage. And we know from God's Word that marriage is a commitment of the heart. It's a commitment of the will. But it's also a commitment of the body. And we have no right to deny our husband access to that which is freely his.

Because 1 Corinthians 7:4 also says that we don't own our own bodies. Our husband owns our bodies and we own our husband's bodies. To deprive our husbands of that intimacy, which is rightfully part of the marriage relationship, to get control in the home is wrong and is awful.

So we would appeal to women who are doing that to stop. It's not a godly thing.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And what you're really doing then is setting your husband up for the greater potential of moral failure by not meeting his needs, being his helper and allowing him to have, what Scripture says, is possession over his body which is your body.

You know, in so many areas the natural tendency of a woman is going to be to control and to mother her husband. And when I hear that word "mother," I think smother--comes real close to it.

And I think of the man who's expressed that early in their married life he had led his wife in a time of prayer. They had not been married long and she corrected the way that he had prayed and thought he should have prayed differently. And he said to himself, "I will never pray with my wife again."

He felt defeated and he was not going to take spiritual leadership if she was going to hold onto those reins--if she said, "I'm going to be in control." And for years that man did not pray with his wife, until the point came where God brought them both to a point of humility and brokenness and they were able to start again.

But I wonder how many wives listening to us today have been holding onto the reins, maybe out of fear, maybe out of habit, maybe out of the way you saw it modeled in your own home where your mom was the one who was controlling the reins and you didn't know any other way than to get behind the steering wheel.

And we're saying, "If you want to do it God's way, you've got to be willing to let it go, to relinquish control, to say, 'There is a God and it's not me. I trust you, Lord, to be sovereign in my life and in my marriage and over my husband. I trust him to You. I trust my children to You. I trust myself to You. I trust You and therefore, I can relinquish control.'"

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminding us that God blesses us when we give up control of our lives to Him. If you'd like to learn more great advice from our guests that we've had this week, we hope you'll order "The Godly Wife Package."

It includes two books by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby, The Politically Incorrect Wife and How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You. These books will help you grow as a wife and love your husband in deeper ways.

You can get "The Godly Wife Package" for a suggested donation of $20 by visiting or calling 1-800-569-5959.

Maybe today's program has pointed out some areas where you need to give up control. As you approach your husband in a new way, would you write and tell us what happens?

It would encourage us to hear how God is using this program in your life.

On tomorrow's program, Nancy will continue to talk with our guests, Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby. We hope you can be here for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.