The system he’s using to track the ups and downs of our cash flow isn’t reflecting the bank’s accounting. He’s tried to tweak it, but the process is time-consuming.
And when things don’t go smoothly, he gets frustrated and overwhelmed.
It’s a pretty common reaction, really.
He’s been making comments like…
“The whole budget is a mess! I can’t make it work.”
“We blew it last month, and I’m not sure what to do.”
This is what the book, The Surrendered Wife, refers to as… “BAIT.”
It’s a subconscious (and sometimes conscious) tactic to get us to take back control of that specific area. For many of our husbands, they are walking in a new territory and facing problems they are not used to fixing. They’re just not sure what to do.
Because we’ve been controlling most things in our marriages and in our families for years.
Sisters… that’s not necessarily a badge of honor.
Through this process, we’re coming to understand it’s actually a relational dysfunction.
And since we are committed to becoming Godly wives who respect our husbands as God-designed heads of our homes… this journey is a good one.
We’ve decided we want better marriages.
We’ve agreed to give up control in some appropriate areas and let our men lead instead.
And so understand that this “BAIT” behavior is common and to be expected at this stage of the journey.
Remember, this isn’t only new territory for you.
But here’s my advice when your man tries to hook you back into old patterns.
Don’t help him figure it out.
Don’t take the control back.
You see, this is such a critical part of his journey… as well as yours.
Rather than swoop in and fix the problem, we need our husbands to know that we trust them to find a solution.
We need to let them figure things out on their own.
- When he tells you the budget is a mess, tell him you are glad he’s taking care of it.
- When he asks what he should fix for a snack, tell him you’re not sure.
- When he wants to know what time you need to leave for church, ask him what he thinks would be best.
I know, I know.
We are completely capable of making these decisions.
We are intelligent and have discernment.
And yes, we want to help our husbands when they need it.
But sisters… unless we step out of that “we have all the answers” role… they will never step into it.
This really IS helping our husbands.
Can you see that?
Think about it. Our men are smart and capable in their careers, but lack that same confidence … at home.
They’ve become complacent and passive because we have always been willing to step up.
The result is an atrophied leadership muscle in our husbands.
So when we refuse to take the bait… when we refuse to re-engage… when we refuse to figure everything out… we are encouraging them to exercise and strengthen those muscles.
But here’s where we run into trouble.
When Wayne announces the budget is a mess and he can’t make it work…
I start to panic.
I begin to worry.
I feel vulnerable.
I launch into fear.
And then my desire to control raises its ugly head.
Can you relate to these responses in situations within your own marriage?
This is where prayer becomes vital.
“Father, I feel so unsettled and afraid that we are headed into financial ruin. My flesh wants to fix this… but I know that is NOT your plan, and so I am deciding to trust You in Wayne’s journey to become the leader in our home. Give me Your peace. Remind me of Your provision. Show me Your plan. Amen.”
And then God gently brings this scripture to mind:
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 MSG)
What a gracious God.
Sisters… we have to trust God.
- We don’t jump in and take over.
- We don’t mention their complacency.
- We don’t remind them to do something.
- We don’t ask if things are done.
- We don’t take the bait.
Instead… we trust that God is working it out in our husbands. We choose to believe that He is part of the plan.
We surrender to our Creator.
There are situations, however, where we should give our thoughts and opinions.
Surrendering does NOT mean your voice is less important.
It just means your voice isn’t the only one.
When the opportunity comes up to let your husband know your preference… your desire… share it.
- Let him know what movie you’d like to see on date night.
- Take part in choosing the family’s vacation spot.
- Share your opinion on which new carpet you like best.
Never forget that what you think… what you want… and what you need matters.
But when he wants your opinion on what he should do… refuse to take the bait.
Let him make his own decision.
When Wayne mentioned his frustration with the budget situation this last weekend… I said, “Hmmm. Whatcha gonna do?” on the outside. But on the inside, I cried out to God, “Help me surrender in this situation!”
I know Wayne will figure it out.
- He is intelligent.
- He loves his family.
- He wants to lead.
So… I stand back and let him. I pray for the ability to let my husband make decisions. I trust that God is in every situation. I ask God to build Wayne’s confidence.
I’m challenging you to do the same thing in your marriage.
REALITY CHECK: As your husband is developing his leadership muscle in your home, help him by refusing to take back control of things he’s struggling to learn. Remember he is smart and capable, so show him you trust his abilities!
©2013 Carey Scott
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Concept taken from The Surrendered Wife