It is no secret that women and men communicate differently and, thus, often misunderstand one another.
By God’s design, men thrive best when they feel respected by others, especially their wives. Wives flourish when they feel protected and cherished by the men they love.
Unfortunately, due to sin, not only do we often fall short of giving to our mates what they most need, but we are also prone to use inappropriate means to get what we personally long for.
While most women can easily come up with ways their men fail to show love for them, as wives we can often miss the plank in our own eye. In God’s goodness, he created women for relationship and influence, but as every woman innately knows, our influence can become a power that is used for selfish gain rather than the glory of God. Instead of going to God with our unmet needs and disappointments, our natural temptation is to resort to manipulation, the attempt to control or get our way through subtle, creative, and unfair means.
In fact, it can be so subtle, that we often fool even ourselves; so let’s take a look at just nine common ways that we might be guilty of using manipulation, rather than turning to God’s Word and prayer to show us a better way.
1. “Leaky faucet”
Complaining and nagging until he gives you what you want.
2. “Trial lawyer”
Verbally out-talking him and shutting him down with your verbal skills.
3. “Blame game”
Making your husband feel like he is responsible for your unhappiness, anger, or sadness: “If only you made more money, were home more, had a better job….”
Expecting him to read your mind, but giving little in the way of clues: Sighing, pouting, giving one-word answers, but when he asks what’s wrong, answering “nothing.”
5. “Smoke signals”
Banging pots and pans around in the kitchen to make a point that you’re doing the dishes, without actually coming out and asking for help.
6. “Water works”
Most men don’t like to see a woman crying, so even when he thinks he’s right, he’ll usually soften to stop the crying.
Withholding sex or using sex to get what you want.
8. “Guilt trip”
Laying guilt on him; telling him how disappointed you are in him.
9. “Performance trap”
Making him feel inadequate: “We’re the only ones I know who haven’t been to Disneyworld.™”
If you find yourself guilty of some (or many) of these tactics in an attempt to get your husband’s attention, let me give this word of encouragement:
Know that no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to woman (1 Corinthians 10:13). While manipulation does seem to be a particular temptation for wives, through the power of the gospel we can choose a better way! What has most helped me is the same thing that helped Sarah become a godly wife for Abraham, and 1 Peter 3:6 tells us her secret:
Sarah put her hope in God and did not give way to fear.
In the same way, as we put our hope in God (not our husbands), focus our efforts on being the women God created us to be, and pray expectantly without fear, we just might be given a front row seat to see God do abundantly more than we ask or imagine.