Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Master/Slave Marriages

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My back yard
Linda and I have been privileged to meet with many marital couples over the years. We have seen God heal and renew broken marriages. We have seen marriages that should have experienced healing but remained in their sickness.

One type of troubled marriage is the "master/slave" marriage. We also call this the "controller/controlee" marriage. Instead of the mutual submission marital model given us in Ephesians 5:22-23, the husband takes on a false, dictator-like position on being "the head of the house." He imprisons his wife in a world of his own making. He fails to see his role as head of the house as being like Christ to his wife, and loving her as Christ loved the church and gave his life for her.

I meet a lot of control freaks and controlees. Many marriages are the coming together of these anti-types. Every control freak needs a controlee, and vice versa. 
This is very, very bad. Keith Miller writes: "control is the major factor in destroying intimate relationships." (Compelled to Control: Recovering Intimacy in Broken Relationships., p. 7) 

Why do we do this? Why try to control others when we can't control our own selves, and are often out of control? Miller writes:

"The fear of being revealed as a failure, as not being "enough" somehow, is a primary feeling that leads to the compulsion to control other people. When we were children, the fear of being inadequate and shameful was tied to our terror of being deserted or rejected and we had little control over getting what we needed. To counteract that basic terror, we have evidently been trying all our lives in various ways to "get control" of life. This includes controlling other people." (14)

A controlling person is an un-free person. Insecurity is the emblem of control. Instead, God wants to free us from the terrible burden of always having to get our own way. "Walking in freedom" and "controlling other people" ("always getting our own way") are oppositional.

The control-freak-husband (or wife) crushes the spirit of the other person, who wears a sign saying, 'Crush me." The destructive cycle is: "I'm in control of you"/"Control me" - "I'm in control of you"/"Control me," and so on, round and round they go. This destroys marriages and relationships. The antidote is trust. Because where trust is, control is not.

Begin breaking free by learning trust in God. Pray to be less controlling than you now are. Pray to be less controlled by others than you now are. Trust God even when you don't trust other people.

Go basic, repeating and praying Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil! (The Message)

Get help for your marriage.

You can be a team, a loving, mutually submissive partnership, the kind of kingdom marriage we see in Ephesians 5.