Men are often accused of trying to “control” things. Well, duh…
That’s what we get rewarded for in most areas of our lives, especially work. Some of our titles even have the word in them: Cost Control Manager, etc.
The problem is, of course, when we bring those heavy handed approaches into relationships with friends or family. Then we get into trouble–not because we are wrong necessarily, but because we don’t take into account others’ feelings and their input into the situation.
Just to be clear, when a teenager is acting out, you likely DO need to step in, but in a joint decision with your partner, some collaboration is called for. Often we realize that the things we are trying to control are not that important-except to our ego. So maybe a better approach is to ask open ended questions such as “How do you see that?” or “What ideas do you have about dealing with this issue?”
A lot of times our partners want us to take into account the impact on relationships as well as the “logic” which dominates our thinking. So, here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about this issue:
- Have you been told by your partner or others that you try to control them or events?
- Is it unfair that men get accused of needing to control?
- Am I confused because I get rewarded for control at work only to be criticized for it at home?
- What are we after when we try to control events? What is it that WE are needing?
- What is the spiritual value of giving up control?
- How does controlling behavior hurt relationships?
- Domestic violence is sometimes seen as control going “over the top.” Why? What is the danger here?
- What is the worst that can happen if we cede some control to others in a given situation?
As you prayerfully think about this issue, ask your partner or a close friend for some feedback about how they see you on this issue.