Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Who Directs Your Love Story?

Leslie Basham: Mary Kassian asks, “Do you trust God with your relationships?”

Mary Kassian: A woman who loves the Lord, a woman who walks in wisdom is going to be someone who really allows God to orchestrate her script of her love story, that allows God to really write the lines and to write the story for her. It takes an incredible amount of faith, and I think there’s a fear factor in allowing God to control what goes on in our lives and allowing Him, trusting Him that He knows what’s best for us, and that He will direct our steps.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, August 20.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: My long-time friend, Mary Kassian, has written a book that I think is one of the most important books that’s been written for women in recent years. It's one that I wish every women in our audience would order and read and personalize, take it home, make it real in their own lives.

The book is called Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. The author of that book, Mary Kassian, is with us in the studio this week. Mary, thank you so much, not only for writing the book, but also for being here to talk to us about what this wise way looks like and how we can avoid being those wild women.

Mary: I’m glad to be back with you again, Nancy.

Nancy: As we were talking about this book just a little bit ago, you said that also there’s value for men in reading this book. Why would that be?

Mary: Well, Proverbs chapter 7 was actually written for a young man to advise him on what to look for in women and what kind of woman to avoid and what kind of woman he ought to be attracted to. So the book is based on Proverbs chapter 7, and it goes at it really from the perspective of how we can be wise women and what are the contrasts between wise and wild. But it is a really beneficial book.

My son has read it, and he’s actually handed out copies to guys on his hockey team to read. They try and hide the title and hide the cover, but there’s a real desire among young Christian men to meet women who are wise and not wild because wild is what is in their face all the time.

Nancy: It’s what’s in all of our faces all the time. We really have to be intentional about swimming upstream against the current of the culture around us and swimming in the stream of God’s Word and what it teaches us about how to be wise.

So you’ve broken this book down into 20 chapters, each of which is a contrast, most of them taken from Proverbs chapter 7 between a woman who is wild and a woman who is wise. I like the fact that you start with issues of the heart because ultimately that’s where wisdom and wildness reside—in the heart.

In one of the chapters you talk about a term that’s used in Proverbs chapter 7. It says that this woman who is luring this simple, young man into her snare—she is a married woman; she’s a church woman, but she is going to end up in bed with a man who is not her husband (in very contemporary language). It says that she is “wily of heart.” We’re looking here at the English Standard Version. That word wily is probably not an everyday word for most of us. Help us understand what that looks like.

Mary: Well, when I think of the term wily, I think of that old Bugs Bunny cartoon, Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner. The cartoon is about this coyote who is very, very crafty and very, very manipulative and scheming and tries every which way to get the bird. He tries every which way to make circumstances turn out the way that he wants them to turn out to capture and entrap the bird in his snare.

Really, that describes the Proverbs 7 woman to a “T” because she is wily of heart. So, in other words:

  • She's crafty.
  • She’s manipulative.
  • She’s scheming.
  • She does whatever she can to make the outcome of her relationship go the way that she wants.
  • She’s very controlling.
  • She tries to control the guy to get him and then to get him to do what she wants him to do.

Nancy: And that has huge implications for our lives as women, whether married or single, because we’re really talking about who directs your love story. Is it going to be self-manipulated, or is it going to be God orchestrated?

Mary: That’s right. The wild woman, the girl gone wild is the one who has the script sheet. She wants to write the script. Her script, she has it in hand, and she wants to be in the director’s chair. She wants to manipulate what happens in her relationship. She wants to manipulate and control the man. We see this in Proverbs chapter 7 very clearly, how this woman very intentionally, goes out very craftily to manipulate the young man’s behavior.

Now, I don’t think that . . . He certainly was unwise. The Scripture tells us he was simple.

Nancy: He’s certainly responsible for his choices.

Mary: He’s responsible for his choices. He’s very responsible for this sin he got entangled in. He made those choices. However, she set about in a very calculating way to get the guy and to get him to do what she wanted him to do.

This approach to relationships, this “I am in control; I’m going to manipulate the guy. I’m going to hang myself out as bait; I’m going to entrap him,” that is a very common approach. In fact, that is the approach we are taught as women in the women’s magazines, in the movies, and in all of the mass media messages that are out there. We are taught as women that that is the way to make a relationship work, that I have to go out there and make it happen.

So women are instructed in the way that they dress, in the way that they present themselves with their body language and what they say, in all these ways they’re taught to be very, very crafty and very, very wily.

Nancy: This goes back to what we were talking about in the last program, which is we need to be careful about what kind of input, intake we are getting into our lives. Are we filling our minds and hearts with the world’s way of thinking?

How many women’s magazines did I read that the average woman reads?

Mary: Well, depending on their age, but the average young woman, 13 women’s magazines a month.

Nancy: And what is the message she’s going to get in those magazines?

Mary: Well, exactly. The message is . . . She is really being trained in what the ideal for womanhood is, in what the ideal woman looks like, and what the ideal woman acts like, and how the ideal woman approaches relationships.

I know that just flipping through some of these magazines, I’ve seen instances where women are actually instructed step by step how to get your guy, how to behave, how to dress, how to set up a circumstance or situation so that he will respond to you, how to send the right body language, signals, how to make your first move. Women are instructed in how to be wily, how to be manipulative.

Nancy: Okay, hold on a minute, Mary. If a woman is single; she’s 21, 24, whatever; she really wants to be married. She says, “I want to be a wife; I want to be a mother.” But there are no guys knocking at her door, there are no guys calling, asking her out. So what’s so wrong with maybe doing some things to attract the attention of a guy?

Mary: Well, there’s a difference, I think, between putting yourself in an environment where you can meet a young man, or being friendly and being responsive and engaging in conversation. There’s a difference between that and being willfully and skillfully underhanded.

The word wily actually, in the Hebrew, talks about something being hidden, so it’s having a hidden agenda, to control his behavior. That’s the difference between a wild woman and a wise woman.

A woman who loves the Lord, a woman who walks in wisdom is going to be someone who really allows God to orchestrate her script of her love story, that allows God. She does her part, but she allows God to really write the lines and to write the story for her.

Nancy: That takes faith.

Mary: It takes an incredible amount of faith, and I think, as I look at this, I think that there’s really a certain amount of wildness in all of our hearts. We all like to be controllers.

Nancy: I think we’re afraid if we don’t, our lives are not going to be happy.

Mary: That’s right. We think that we need to take everything into our own hands, and we need to write, and we need to direct the script. So there’s a fear factor of allowing God to control what goes on in our lives and allowing Him, trusting Him that He knows what’s best for us, and that He will direct our steps.

Nancy: It’s not just single women who are afraid they might not get a husband, but fear can be a factor for married women as well.

Mary: It certainly can. The fear that he’s not going to respond the way that I want him to, or that he’s not going to do what I want him to, or that he’s not going to fulfill my needs.

Nancy: That he may leave.

Mary: That he may leave. Fear is a huge factor. So fear often is a motivating factor of being wily, controlling, and manipulative. It’s not the only factor, but it is one factor, a large factor. We see this in this Proverbs 7 woman’s approach. Her husband is out of town, and so she seeks to be crafty and manipulating in trying to entice this young man.

Nancy: So what are some practical ways that women manipulate men to get something from them, which is really what we’re talking about in being wily of heart?

Mary: Well, I think the first way, and the way that we see in the passage, is sexual manipulation, and that’s really no surprise. It’s the number one scheme of women. Women are taught to sexually manipulate guys, to use sex as either a carrot or as a weapon. Married women are guilty of using sex as a weapon, sometimes to punish, punitively, or to entice, and to use it like, “If you do this, then you’ll get that.”

We see in Proverbs 7 that this woman "went out and she brazenly kissed him" (see verse 13). She gave him that enticement of using her sexuality. That was a form of manipulation. She was using that to get him to do what she wanted him to do.

Nancy: So she can use that to get the man that she wants, and then she can use it to get what she wants from that man.

Mary: That’s right. And we see this so much in relationships today. Young women are taught to use their sexuality as power, really, to get the guy to do what she wants him to do.

Nancy: From a human standpoint, can I say that it works?

Mary: Why not? From a human standpoint, on the surface, it appears to get you what you want, but just like Wile E. Coyote found all his schemes blowing up in his face, and he’s the one that falls, and he’s the one that gets hurt, and he’s the one that always gets injured by these wily, manipulative schemes.

I think it’s the same way in women’s lives. They think that it’s going to get them what they really want, and perhaps it does—for a short time—but inevitably, in the end, it doesn’t work, and it ends up blowing in your face.

Nancy: I think that’s important to remember because I think we’re ministering also to some women who really desire to be pure. They want to do it God’s way, but there’s this sense, especially with some of these younger women, that, “If I’m modest, if I’m godly, if I’m wise, well that’s great, but I’m going to be . . .”

Mary: A single, old lady forever.

Nancy: Yes.

Mary: “It’s all those other women that will get the guy.”

Nancy: You’re right.

Mary: They actually see that these young men are actually being taken in and being enticed and being manipulated by these schemes. So they think “Well, what’s wrong with that?”

Nancy: Or just a little bit of it.

Mary: Or just a little bit of it. Or, that girlfriend got married—she got that guy. Well, from my experience, what I have seen, a woman who is wily and manipulative prior to marriage is going to be wily and manipulative after marriage. That may work for a short time, but you end up in a very controlling, domineering situation, going through your marriage.

I have had so many women come to me, crying on my shoulder afterwards and saying, “I can’t get him to do what I want him to do.” She can’t control him. That control eventually ends, or he gets fed up and he leaves because he just can’t take it anymore, just the control and the mind games that are going on all the time.

So there’s a sexual manipulation, and another really common form of manipulation is verbal manipulation.

Nancy: And what woman doesn’t know something about that?

Mary: That’s right, and we see the Proverbs 7 woman using her words to coax the young man. It says "with much seductive speech she compels him" (verse 21). So she comes at him, and she uses her words to coax him or to reason with him, to talk him into it. Women are great with words, and women can really, in a sense, tap dance on a man’s head with their words.

You see other examples of women in Proverbs that use their words very unwisely, as dripping taps, or they’re just nagging and nagging and nagging at their husbands to get them to do what they want them to do.

I rather suspect that this woman in Proverbs chapter 7, all her sweet talk and verbal manipulation towards this young man that she was trying to seduce, that this woman also used her words to manipulate her husband, or she tried to anyway. But it probably wasn’t so much sweet talk as it was threats or nagging or complaining or whining, and just constantly being at him.

We see that in Samson and Delilah there’s a great example of that. There’s a verse in there that says that Samson finally told her everything because she just "vexed him to death" (see Judges 16:16). She vexed him to death with her words. I think that’s a form of manipulation as well.

Nancy: And how many men have basically just given up, given in, “Whatever you want,” and have disengaged relationally because the woman has worn him out with her words, with her manipulation. They say, “Look, just have it your way, whatever.” Then the women come back to us and say, “My husband won’t engage. He’s not the spiritual leader. He doesn’t have godly character.” It may be that in subtle but persistent ways she has worn him down with her words.

Mary: That’s the whole paradox. When we do it God’s way, when we allow God to be the one who is in control, when we’re responsible, we want to be communicative, but we don’t want to be controlling.

Nancy: There’s a fine line there sometimes.

Mary: There is a fine line there sometimes, but the paradox is that when we do it God’s way, we gain much more than when we do it our own way. When we try and write our own script, when we try to manipulate our circumstances and manipulate the relationships in our lives, we often make a mess of it—in fact, more often than not. When we trust in the Lord, we gain a lot more in the end.

And really, that’s these young women who are watching this manipulating going on and saying, “Yes, but she’s getting the guy.” Well, yes, but . . .

Nancy: Fast forward.

Mary: Fast forward a few years.

Nancy: And say, “Do you want to be 50, 60, 70 and living with the consequences of those choices that seemed so appealing in the early side?”

Mary: That’s right. That’s exactly right. So we have the sexual manipulation. We have the verbal manipulation. And the third type of manipulation really is emotional manipulation. So really, appealing to the man’s emotions or trying to manipulate him emotionally so that you paint him in a corner—perhaps crying or sulking or pouting or, “You don’t really love me,” or “If you really loved me, you would ___” whatever it is the woman wants, or trying to make him feel jealous perhaps, or just manipulating things to tug on his heart to try and get his behavior in line with what she wants it to be. So that’s another type of manipulation that’s really quite common.

Nancy: Then you talk about another kind that maybe people don’t think of at first, but I think is probably more common among Christian women than we realize, and that’s what you call spiritual manipulation.

Mary: Yes. It’s really interesting. I was sitting in my family room with a group of young men in their 20s, and we were talking about this very topic. I asked them, “What kinds of manipulation have you seen, and in what ways have young women tried to manipulate you?”

We were all talking about it, and then one of them piped up and said, “And then there’s spiritual manipulation.”

And I said, “What do you mean by that?”

He said, “Well, she knows God’s will for my life. She’s the one who knows what I should be doing. She’s the one that has . . .”

Nancy: She’s the Holy Spirit.

Mary: “She’s the Holy Spirit. She’s got the ear—direct line to God.”

Nancy: “God wants you to marry me.”

Mary: Exactly.

Nancy: How do you argue that?

Mary: Well, how do you argue that? She’s prayed about it, and she knows that you ought to be together. We all had a good chuckle, but it’s so true. I have seen it often. There’s this manipulation that Christian women often use by appealing to their knowledge of God’s heart or by painting themselves as being so much more spiritual, and they know what God wants this man to do. He hasn’t told the man yet, but He’s told the woman, so she’s going to tell the man, and she’s going to direct his behavior. That’s also a very subtle form of manipulation.

Nancy: And, again, not just single women trying to get a man, but once a woman is married how she can use that in the marriage to get him to do whatever.

Mary: Exactly. I just think of the examples we have in the New Testament of how to influence your husband positively for righteousness and how often that doesn’t involve saying very much. It’s through your character and through praying and not through nagging or emotionally or spiritually manipulating him.

Nancy: There you go again—letting God be God in the relationship. It comes back to trust.

Mary: It really does, and it’s a pattern that we establish early on. I think that if we’re in that habit of being wily and manipulative and crafty, if that’s the way that our relationship was founded, it’s very difficult to change those habits and patterns, but the Lord does want us to address those things.

I see it in my life, just the urge to jump in there and to be in control and to tell my husband what to do or how he should be, or if he doesn’t respond immediately, to try and dream up or scheme up a new way to get him to respond in a way that I want him to respond.

Nancy: It takes a lot of effort, doesn’t it?

Mary: It takes a lot of effort, a lot of effort.

Circumstantial manipulation is the final one, where we just put circumstances together in a way in which we paint men into a corner and get them to do what we want them to do.

Actually, it’s really interesting. In the Proverbs chapter 7 tale, we have this woman who went to church, and she offered her sacrifices. Her offering was such that the food had to be eaten, and it was supposed to be eaten by a group of people, and she was all alone, her husband was out of town. So she really shouldn’t have been offering that type of sacrifice on that particular day.

She could have offered it on a different day, but she offered it on that particular day so that she could orchestrate circumstances to paint the young into a corner, to make him feel guilty, to make him feel obligated that he had to come with her to share her religious meal and to fulfill her vows. So she painted him into a corner through circumstances, and that’s another form of manipulation.

Nancy: Well, we spent a lot of time on the wild way of controlling men and getting them to do what we want them to do, but there is a radically different way, and that’s the wise way, God’s way. Just briefly, Mary, as we wrap up here, what does it look like to be wise, not manipulative? What’s the opposite of that?

Mary: Well, the opposite of that is trusting God. When we have issues about our relationships, we can communicate those in a way that’s respectful and that’s gracious, but not to go beyond that line into where we are taking control and exerting control, but where we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and we don’t lean on our own understand, and we acknowledge Him in all our ways. That’s, of course, a verse out of Proverbs chapter 3:5-6. 

We trust that He will direct our paths, that He’s going to take care of it, that He’s sovereign, and that He is even more concerned about doing a work in my husband’s life or in that young man’s life than I am, and if I follow His ways and do things His way, that it will be beneficial for me, and I will bring honor to Him.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian will be right back with the final thought, but first, let me tell you how to get a copy of the book they’ve been discussing. Nancy began that conversation by saying she wishes every woman would read Mary’s book.

It’s easy to get your copy and dive into the many contrasts between a wise and foolish woman. When you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you the book Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. Your gift will help Revive Our Hearts continue speaking the truth into women’s lives, and this book will show you, choice by choice, how to become the wise woman God wants you to be.

We’ll also include the entire conversation between Nancy and Mary in a CD set. Listen while you’re driving or doing some other task, and learn biblical wisdom at the same time.

The web address is ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for Girls Gone Wise, the book and the CD series, when you call 1-800-569-5959.

And don’t miss your chance to hear Mary in person. She’ll join Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Kay Arthur, Joni Eareckson Tada, and all the other speakers at the True Woman conferences. Get details on which speakers are appearing in Indianapolis and which are coming to Fort Worth. All that information is at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, a wise woman knows she needs the body of Christ. So I hope you’ll be actively involved in worshiping and serving at your church this weekend. Then be back Monday. Mary will explain why a wise woman doesn’t necessarily have to fit a stereotype.

Now Nancy’s back, talking with Mary about trusting God with every relationship.

Nancy: I love that title of the book written by our mutual friend, Leslie Ludy, When God Writes Your Love Story. The challenge there is to let God write our love story. That really does mean handing the pen over to Him and saying, “God, You know best. You love me. You’re good. You’re wise. I’m going to let You write my love story, single or married, and trusting that even when I can’t see what’s happening or what’s going to happen, or even when it looks like nothing is happening, that I really can trust that God is the Master Author, the Master Designer, and that He will write a story for my life that is better, far better than anything I could possibly write for myself.”

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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