“You cannot control other people. You can only control your reactions to them.—Anonymous

controlling behaviors

Control is an interesting concept in marriage.

According to Merriam-Webster.com, the definition of the word control as a verb is:

  • to exercise restraining or directing influence over to regulate OR
  • to have power over, to rule

To regulate or have power over.

Two things that a lot of adults resist.

We, as human beings, don’t like to be controlled and in a lot of cases, there are a lot of spouses who wish that they didn’t have to exercise control in their marriage. And yet it’s happening.

So how do you start a conversation about such a difficult topic?

The reality is that you have to dig into this concept of control before it divides marriages.

One place to start is having a conversation as to what caused you to exercise control in your marriage. It could be for a lot of reasons:

  • Past handling the money
  • You think you can change things if you are more controlling (but it rarely works that way)
  • You are the only income source, so you feel you have to control things
  • Trust has been broken in your marriage
  • You don’t see your spouse take any responsibility or take action
  • You’re worried about your spouse having friends of the opposite sex

When this disconnect or uncertainty, or fear enters your marriage, it can wreak havoc on the connection between the two of you.

The one being controlled doesn’t exactly like it or feel good about things, and the one who has to be controlling doesn’t enjoy being in that role either. It can feel more like a parent-child relationship instead of being partnered with one another.

Controlling behavior might start in one area or one pillar of intimacy, but it’s likely to grow into other areas. When the issues that create the need for control go unaddressed or unresolved, it’s easy for the disconnect to grow and the control to get to a place where you both feel outta control.

When you think through each of the intimacies in The 6 Pillars of Intimacy®: Emotional, Physical, Financial, Spiritual, Recreational, and Sexual, you can get a better idea of where change needs to be made. Because when you can identify when something started, you can get to the root of what’s going on.

Controlling behaviors don’t just go away because you want them to. It’s about creating an action plan with accountability for both of you to engage in. If you need help to do this, it’s likely time to consider coaching.

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