This series on “The Good Wife” is a group of writings God is leading me to share with married women who desire to be a blessing to their husband. I started by writing on “The Good Wife Will Reign in Life” and I shared about God’s plan for the woman to walk in His authority. Following that entry, I wrote “Leading in Life Together” and I shared about how the married couple is intended to share their strengths and work as a team, with the husband as the leader and the wife as the assistant leader. In this entry, I want to discuss the choices on how a woman uses her strength. She can use her strength to build her home or to tear it down. She can use her strength to empower her husband or to emasculate him. I will start by looking at the improper use of strength in Part 1 and end with the proper use of strength in Part 2.
Women have tremendous influence, especially in a marriage relationship. That influence can be positive when strength is used to empower the marriage and the leader of the home. That influence can also be misused when it’s used improperly as a tool to find control over a leader. The Good Wife decides to use her powers for good, not for evil.
The improper use of strength can be seen in manipulation. Manipulation is control. Manipulation is what we do to turn a situation in our favor. Wives can manipulate their husband, and husbands can manipulate their wife; however for the focus of this blog, I want to focus on us wives as the subordinate in the marriage relationship.
Manipulation can be straightforward or manipulation can be passively aggressive, but from the position of a subordinate, whether in marriage, in family, in business, in ministry, or any other situation, manipulation is a form of rebellion against authority. There’s a joke about the woman who wants her husband to be the head of their home, as long as she can be the neck – that would describe the manipulative wife.
5 Ways a Wife Could Manipulate her Husband
Manipulation finds out what the person wants, and then takes it away until it has what it wants in return. The following are five behaviors that reveal how a wife could use her influence to manipulate her husband instead of empower his leadership. If you are reading and find some truth uncovered, know God is on your side. He is not here to condemn or tear down; God is here to save and build up!
#1 Manipulation Through Emotions
What does a husband want? Most men want their wives to be happy. Manipulation could use emotions to turn the heart of a man.
Wives who manipulate are women who know how to use their emotions to control the response and actions of their husbands. They know their man will do anything to make them happy, so they demonstrate emotional distress until they get what they want. It’s not a statement I care for, but the saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” One emotion used is sadness, expressed through crying or sobbing. Another is anger expressed through shouting or throwing a fit. Whatever the emotional expression, the motive is the same: control.
Other forms of emotional manipulation include the attempts to make their partner pick up emotional baggage – blaming him, shaming him, or intimidating him. She may use accusations of betraying trust, causing him to feel he must continually earn her trust. She often plays the victim. She may often criticize him, keeping him under condemnation, a broken man with little confidence. Some men even go into depression. She wants him weaker so he becomes subservient and she can dominate. She may use humiliation, an uncomfortable place to be, causing him to want to avoid her power to shame him. When she gets want she wants, she will praise him for being a good husband, someone who supports her, but in reality, he just got played.
The woman may be in actual emotional turmoil, or they may be faking it – either way, decisions made on emotion are not good decisions. We are to be led by the Holy Spirit, making decisions based on what we know is right, not our feelings, which often change from day to day. If emotions are the engine instead of the caboose, it will be very difficult to even hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, let alone follow that voice.
The spiritually mature woman, “The Good Wife,” is the wife who refuses to lower herself to the level of emotional manipulation to altar or take away from the leading of her husband. She wants her husband to follow after God. She feels, but her feelings do not lead her and she certainly does not use her emotions to turn the heart of the leader.
#2 Manipulation Through Whining or Nagging
What does he want? He may want peace. Manipulation will take away peace through whining and nagging.
There are several verses in the Bible book of Proverbs about the nagging wife. Make no mistake about it- a nagging wife has one goal – to get her way. She will whine or nag a man until he gives in to her. Whining and nagging are often very effective methods of torture and control. See Proverbs 21:9,19; 27:15; 25:14; 19:13
For some women, they don’t have an inner peace themselves. Even when they know they are living beneath their potential to rise up, the inner strife keeps pulling them down to a low level of manipulation. Peace is only rewarded when demands are met.
#3 Manipulation through Intellect
What does he want? Husbands often want someone on their side. Manipulation will be quarrelsome, where the wife becomes the man’s opponent rather than a team player.
Women, like men, have been given intellect. Both can be smart in battles of debate, precise with timing, and comprehensive in strategy. Both can learn their partner well, knowing how to push buttons and pull triggers. The wife makes a formidable opponent.
Some women manipulate by quarreling, with the aim of winning arguments or with the goal of simply bringing the man to mental exhaustion. If what he wants is agreement, perhaps he will give in if he has to do something before the strife of an argument will stop.
“The Good Wife” is not a silent partner. She will bring her smarts to the table, offer her advice, share her experience, and express her perspective. She contributes to the partnership. If and when there are disagreements, in the end, she needs to trust her husband to look to God and get the answer. If the husband is not looking to God, God will still honor the wife for her yielded heart. God is the higher authority, and He is able to turn things around for the good.
#4 Manipulation will withdrawal.
What does he want? Men often want companionship. Manipulation takes away togetherness through withdrawal.
When a man loves his wife and desires her companionship, the cold shoulder is a powerful weapon for a wife to have in her manipulation arsenal. The manipulated may weigh his need of having his wife’s help or her company and compromise what he believes to be right. Some withdrawal to another room and give the coach to the husband. Some will even withdrawal by separating, temporarily staying in a hotel, with a relative, or a friend.
Withdrawal can also be seen in neglect. Instead of the wife being there to help with responsibilities, she neglects them. Whatever help she is in the relationship, she leaves things undone. She wants him to realize he doesn’t enjoy life without her in it, doing her part, so she doesn’t do her part.
Withdrawal can also be felt when she isn’t around. There isn’t anything wrong with a wife having time alone or time with friends. There isn’t anything wrong with a wife having interests or hobbies apart from her husband. However, it is wrong, when she is using distractions to make the husband miss her in order to manipulate him.
“The Good Wife” is the wife who wants the right thing, and will not use the quiet treatment or domestic withdrawal to wrongly influence her husband. Instead, she will trust him and empower him to take the lead.
#5 Manipulation will deny sexual relations.
What does he want? The husband wants physical intimacy. Manipulation takes away opportunity for sexual activity.
Similar to withdrawal of attention, we can’t ignore the obvious manipulation of withholding or giving sexual pleasure. Both men and women have been given a sexual appetite, an appetite meant to draw a husband and wife together, not separate or divide. We know our husbands want our intimacy, but that desire should never be used as a card to play in order to get something in exchange. There could be more than one reason why a spouse would deny the other of sex, but when the reason is to get something from it, it is manipulation.
“The Good Wife” will not deny her husband. When a relationship is healthy, sex is not only satisfying a craving; it is a genuine desire to be together with intimacy out of love.
Manipulation doesn’t just take something away that the other person wants. Manipulation may give something in order to put the husband in a favorable condition to get a desired result. Some self-centered husbands don’t mind compromising when they are on the receiving end of manipulation. They enjoy the manipulation. However, the man who honors the Lord will stand true to his convictions. His love for God and His family will cause Him to do the right thing.
God wants us to enjoy life.
God wants us to accomplish great things in this life.
God wants the world to know Him through our life.
In order to enjoy His blessings and fulfill our potential, married persons are always building and maintaining themselves and their relationship. It’s a wonderful adventure of growth and joy.
I invite you to read Part 2, on how “The Good Wife” uses her powers for good by looking at what Peter has to say in I Peter 3.