Control in Marriage is when a spouse cannot accept the other’s choice(s). Control implies who’s in charge, or who’s getting their way most of the time? What’s at stake is the power in the relationship and how differences are resolved.
An easy way to destroy marriage is for couples to control one another.
Yet, the problem of power and control is one of the hidden issues that affect a great number of relationships.
Forms of control often exist without the couple even becoming aware of what is happening. This is because control takes many subtle forms. It could be passive or active. Most people have little insight regarding their proclivity to be a controller.
Unfortunately, there are several attitudes and behaviours adopted by many that are aimed at controlling their spouses – whether they realize it or not.
The dominant partner wants everything done their way. They exert power and expect their spouse to obey their every command or opinion, so creating an imbalance in the marriage. In an effort to conform, the husband or wife may hand power to think over to their partner and submit to their rules and desires.
This is an unhealthy situation and it can lead to resentment, anger and subsequently an abusive relationship. If the controller’s demands are not obeyed, they may eventually erupt into rages and physical violence. Eventually, the controlled spouse becomes a puppet that does whatever their partner orders
Control limits the frame of mind and over an extended period of time can have devastating consequences. In extreme cases, a spouse may forbid their husband or wife to find employment or may try and control what they wear, eat and do. To some spouse asking questions about the type of dress for an occasion, suggesting a type of shoe to wear, how much to spend, where to go on holiday, which house to buy, which town to live, how much money to spend on the children, the type of school, the time to spend watching Television, the type of friends to keep and many others.
A controller typically gives orders instead of making requests and the control extends to the physical and emotional realm. Their spouse may reach the place where they are afraid to express an opinion and in many ways, they conform to expectations just to try and keep peace in the relationship.
This acts or series of behaviour that are regarded as control can either be real or imagined. Sometimes it is about how the relationship is perceived as opposed to reality. We live in an age where the perception is all that matters. If it is perceived, it is as much as a problem as if it is real at home.
Passive control can involve withholding sex from your spouse.
It can also include getting the other to engage in acts that aim at making the other spouse comply with your wish.
Other times it is avoiding certain responsibility aimed at achieving same end.
But couples do need to ask themselves when does a once normal and loving spouse becomes controlling “monster
The stage of getting into this type of relationship problem varies from one spouse to another.
Causes of control in a relationship
1 The default setting in the relationship from the onset.
3 It could be due to change(s) in family circumstances that had made the other by default to be in “control”.
4 Spousal professional training.
5 Cultural issues. The concept of control as a major issue in a relationship has a cultural element to it. Some behaviour regarded as control is acceptable as normal within some families and in some cultures.
6 Biblical Misrepresentation/interpretation. “Submission” in the bible could be taken out of context.
The danger of Control in Marriage
1 Control destroys the very thing (s) that you value, your spouse and your marriage. When one person makes the majority of the decisions, new ideas and honest feelings and reactions are suppressed.
2 Control results in increasing the anger, resentment, and bitterness in the relationship. This is a by-product of feeling disrespected or controlled by someone else.
3 Unexpressed anger and resentment accumulate, and eventually, the passive mate may rebel and decide that there’s nothing to lose by becoming defiant or ending the marriage. This brings out the controlling tendency of the spouse even more, and his (or her) efforts to control the “rebellion” make things worse. Any trace of being on the same “team” is now gone, and the partners can feel like enemies. In 2004 the cause of divorce due to emotional or physical abuse increased from 10% to 17%.
4 An overly-controlling spouse sets up dynamics in the relationship that encourages the more passive partner to sneak around and hide things rather than risk confrontation. For example, a passive spouse may secretly phone a friend who they know the partner doesn’t want them to have any contact with.
5 Couples with a control problem would not have enjoyable communication that makes them feel close.
6 The perception of control and no voice breeds resentment. Even if such action(s) are done or said with the best of intention, if perceived as control behaviour, it would breed the same feeling of resentment.
Sometimes it is a process of a normal and loving relationship and the control actions are an unintended consequence of the innocent acts.
Tips to help.
1 Talk about it. It may not be intentional.
2 Understand each other’s action and each other’s point of view. Avoid resentment.
3 It may be that the wrong perception needs to be corrected.
4 Examine your relationship: Is there LOVE, RESPECT and TRUST in the relationship?
5 Are you taking each other for granted?
6 Are you applying the word of God into the situation?
a: The word of God advised us to “give preference to one another in honour”. (Rom.12: 10)
b: More often than not if there is real control, maybe, one is not yielding to the advice of Apostle Paul that “not to think of yourself more highly than you ought but rather think of yourself with sober judgment”. The controller may be thinking more highly about self and ability that they have.
c: And Do not be wise in your own on conceit/ estimation. Rom 12.3
7 In the event that one spouse refuses to acknowledge the controlling behaviour or attitude over the other, be patient, keep talking, and avoid resentment. Remember that weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30: 5, Heb 10: 36, 2 Pet 1: 6.)
8 When there is a negative consequence in the family as a result of spouse controlling act/behaviour, show love and support regardless. Avoid “I told you so”!
9 The problem of control both real and imagined could be more complex than this, therefore, seek Godly counsel together. In a multitude of counsel, there is wisdom.
10 Pray about the situation. Prayers for your spouse help to avoid resentment and would bring resolution.
Your home is precious to GOD.