How Wives Try to Control Their Husbands

How Wives Try to Control Their Husbands

In Genesis 3:16, we are told the consequences of sin that women would experience due to sin entering the world. One thing that would happen to them is that “…thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” There is great disagreement what this actually means. Even the commentaries of old disagree about the interpretation. I believe it means that the woman’s desire will be to control her husband just as in Genesis 4:7, we are told “sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” Sin’s desire is to control us.

From what I have observed throughout the years and in my own life, most wives want to control their husbands. This is why they nag and quarrel with them. They want their own way and they want their husbands to agree with them. I used to be a pro at doing this! I asked the women in the chat room how wives try to control their husbands and I received many great responses. It’s so easy to want to control our husbands, women, that we must be aware of even the subtle tactics we may be using to control.

“A lot of women have learned how to quietly manipulate and control their husbands with their body language and cold shoulder/stone walling attitudes. You would think all of the controlling women were loud and obnoxious. Sadly, I have seen the opposite to be true as well. It’s a shame, too.”

“By disagreeing with them and trying to get their own way with everything. A controlling wife is loud, obnoxious, irritable, short tempered, and looks at her husband’s faults instead of his good side.”

“How? So many ways! By enforcing their own ideas, opinions and ways of doing things on their husbands. It could be little things like with what he wears, the things he eats or bigger things like major decisions and financial matters. Women are bent on controlling their husbands, until they realize it, and yield to the Spirit in their lives then commit to living a submissive, God honoring life and following God’s ways set out in Scripture. It takes a daily commitment to squash down that old controlling nature and cultivate a heart of submission.”

“Nagging about what he eats, how he spends his time, guilt tripping or bringing up mistakes from the past when the husband does something wrong, and emotional manipulation to get her way, instead of letting him make the final decision.”

“Pointing at other couples. Doing things in secret. Withholding love and intimacy. Ceasing household duties (cooking, cleaning, etc) until she gets her way. Destroying his things to show him what will happen next time he doesn’t listen to her. Getting a one-sided ‘counselor’ to tell him what he’s doing wrong. Talking poorly about him to other people (even worse if it is to children or other family members). Crying until they get their way. Yelling until they get their way. Making a scene in public until she gets her way. Belittling him and making him feel incapable of making his own decisions. Guilt tripping him into things. Pulling Bible verses out of context to show him how he’s wrong (possibly in context but with a bitter attitude).”

“Nagging, crying until they get their way (manipulation), and the silent treatment.”

“By denying them sex. Aristophanes wrote an entire play about it. Lysistrata is considered a classic.”

“Sex. One of the best pieces of advice I received was that sex should never be a reward or a punishment because then your intimacy isn’t about you as a couple but an outside factor. I promised my husband before we got married that I would never withhold sex as a punishment. I don’t understand women who do, and have lost respect for a few that have told me it’s their weapon of choice.”

“Acting mean in public. I have seen a man completely bow down to his wife on something he clearly disagreed on because she was starting to act mean and call him names. He probably didn’t want further embarrassment.”

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:12

25 thoughts on “How Wives Try to Control Their Husbands

  1. My husband and I never quarrel. Yes I said “never” because its true.

    In my journey as a “transformed wife”, if there is something my husband and I are in opposition over, I just let it go and submit to my husbands preference. And no I’m not a door mat or abused in any way! It’s just that the majority of the time a quarrel is born out of our desire to have our way! It’s not that what our husbands want is bad or wrong or hurts us in any way. It’s just that it’s not OUR preference.

    It’s the same with God and His “rules” for us. Absolutely nothing God prescribes is harmful to us in any way. In fact they are there to protect us and promote joyful living! But all of us have rebelled. And then suffer the consequences.

    So, really, how much of what we disagree with our husbands about even matters?

    (I will say when I was working I had a much stronger to temptation to stomp my feet. Because I felt entitled.)

    1. The being a “door mat” and “abused” are modern day terms to stop women from submitting and obeying their husbands. It’s very sad, Dana, and has turned many women away from God’s will for their lives. Being a godly, submissive woman is far from being a doormat since her strength comes from Christ living in and through her. The only way she can be truly submissive, even in difficult situations, is because she has chosen to obey God and fear Him rather than man, even her husband. “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” (1 Peter 3:6)

  2. I am always suspicious when women complain that their husbands are never at home or when they claim to have been “abandoned” by their husbands for “no reason whatsoever”.

    Proverbs 21:19 – It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman.

  3. I’ll add straight up arguing. We are not to be contentious. We are not to argue. If we disagree we can state it and why then we should let it go (after all we are his help meet for him not his boss). I had been taught indirectly that arguing was fine and was I good at it. I remember trying to argue with my husband earlier in our marriage. He flat out refused. He wouldn’t go there with me. I’m so glad he never took the bait as it is such a wonderful blessing to have a peaceful marriage.

  4. Really good article. I really like this line, “It takes a daily commitment to squash down that old controlling nature and cultivate a heart of submission.” You are so right. Doing that helps me recognize when I get it wrong and then put it right quickly. I want to get it right all the time but I haven’t managed to do that yet. I’m still a learner.

    1. I’m with you, Heather. That line in the post stuck out to me as well. It encourages me because it means that I need to abide in Christ daily in order to reflect Him before my husband and children.

      My husband has seen the change in me since we were married 9 years ago. We always talk about how our marriage ‘used to be’ and are so grateful for the work God has done in and through us to raise our children in a peaceful home. We used to argue a LOT. I came from a very argumentative family, and my husband doesn’t like contention or manipulation, so he reacts very strongly to those things. This was a recipe for lots of heated arguments for the first 7 years of our marriage.

      As God would have it, our 7th anniversary was the day everything began to turn around for us. I began to take serious stock and ask myself, “What am I really fighting for?” I realized I was fighting for control. I realized I had never fully trusted him because I had been trained to believe since childhood that no one really ever tells the truth. I thought I was fighting a good fight in defending my rights, opinions and discontentment.

      I know this is not true for all women, but my husband has EXCELLENT discernment. It takes me longer to see the danger in something that sets off major alarms for him right away. But since I’ve let go of the control, manipulation and defiance, and chosen to trust my husband as he trusts in the Lord, I have seen God take us down such a peaceful and beautiful path of true partnership where I have seen my husband’s love for me in action; something that has welled me up emotionally many, many times. He is the defender, protector, leader and rock of our home. I didn’t know that there could be a home in which people could trust each other until I met him. I often ask God why He chose to bless me this way…

      I know we should not dwell on regret, but I do sometimes wish I could go back in time and change our marriage from the beginning so that we could have enjoyed each other more instead of often being at odds. But my husband always says, “We are here now. That’s what matters. God used it.”

      We have a joke whenever I’m trying to get my way…he tells me, “ok do what you want. And then later, you’ll tell me, ‘you were right, my love.'”

      9.5 times out of 10…he’s right. ❤️

  5. Please pray for me, Lori, to put my husband’s needs and Christ’s commands above my selfish and prideful heart. I don’t know where else to turn.

  6. What about if your husband is lost and making decisions that you believe will hurt your family? We went through a horrible time a few years ago where my husband spent most of his time with rough friends that he knew I didn’t like. I threw a fit, put them down, cried, pleaded and ultimately he wanted a separation. We did then he begged me to come home. Things have been so good, I have tried to be a kind, respectful wife and our marriage completely turned around. But now there are some new friends in the picture and I find myself terrified it will all be repeated. I don’t want to make the mistakes I made before, I just don’t know what to do. When I try to tell him I don’t like his friends, it always seems to push him away from me and toward them. Advice and prayers would be appreciated.

    1. Instead of telling him that you don’t like his friends, lay that burden upon the Lord where it belongs! Give it all to Him while you continue to live out being a godly wife to your husband. God is the ONE to convict and change him, not you.

  7. Hi Lori,
    I emailed you last week but it looks like you may not have not received the email so I will ask my question here since you mentioned commentaries in your writings. Do Ken and you have one or two commentaries that you can suggest that are useful. Thanks for all you write as you are encouraging to me.


  8. Growing up I was taught by some influential people in my life that was manipulation was good thing. I learned to be a good manipulator in the first couple years of my marriage. Then I read Martha Peace’s book, The Excellent Wife. That rocked my world. I brought the book to my husband and asked him to read it and hold me accountable. I also confessed the tactics I used (Yes, I had to really think about this, bc most were not intentional.) to manipulate him. He was deeply hurt by my confession, but it was the beginning of an awesome marriage!
    Ladies, he is your teacher. If you truly want an awesome marriage hand him your cards.

    1. Praise His name!!!

      YES! I would do the same thing…I would think I was being kind, but I was really being manipulative. It was a learned behavior from my upbringing. My husband would tell me, “Don’t ask me a question if you already know what answer you want” and I would get so offended. But he would tell me that when I asked the question, I nod my head ‘yes’ or shake my head ‘no’ depending on which answer I wanted. It was totally involuntarily until I noticed that another close family member did it too. And I said, “THAT’S what he’s talking about!”

      Manipulation is so wicked because the enemy will convince you (or manipulate you) into believing that you are doing a good and necessary thing. But sin is its own wages.

      “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” (Romans 6:21)

      1. I grew up in a household where, if you wanted to be heard/taken seriously, you had to raise your voice. My mother is the queen of screaming, manipulation, cold shoulder, etc to get her husband and and her family to do what she wants. I’ve never been one for confrontation, so I used to resort to manipulation to get my husband to do what I wanted. Some was involuntary behavior, but most was not. My husband said he really noticed a change in my attitude and behavior towards him after I watched a seminar on marriage given by Michael and Debbi Pearl. It opened my eyes to my selfish and destructive behavior.

        My husband is very level headed, never yelled or even truly been angry with me. We have our frustrations occasionally, usually because we miscommunicated, but we talk it out and resolve it. Being married to him has been amazing. . .and sobering. I look around (at my family but also other people too) and see how dysfunctional the marriage relationship really is, and it’s such a bummer. I just keep praying for them.

  9. Well, my stepmother in law is the perfect Submissive Wife (at least in public)

    Yet somehow I think she’s the most evil woman I’ve ever met.

    First, she stole another woman’s husband and broke up a family.

    She’s not Christian, the one time I talked to her alone over the weekend it was a never-ending insult for me even believing in God and anti-natalist (One child is enough!) attitude.

    But she is SO Submissive to her bullying, jerk husband.

    My husband has the genetic bullying, jerk in him and I refuse to allow him to act like that.

    I mean granted, I’m the first to admit that admonishment rarely works. But pointing a few things here and there so my husband doesn’t jump the shark of his genetic, inherited nature keeps everyone sane.

    The stepmother has enabled the Dad to act like that and I think the man to be utterly repulsive, and I’m more than confident that I could find A LOT of people to agree with me.

    My husband was on good behavior until the wedding, then he let more of his ‘true self’ shine through after the wedding.

    Sorry, that’s not going to fly. The person you present yourself as at the beginning of the relationship is who you have to be FOREVER.

    And even though the stepmother is, at least in public, the most submissive wife I’ve ever met. I think she’s allowed her husband, and lead him (with the whole cheating thing) down a path of which there is no return.

    If my husband acts like that, I’m going to say something. It’s just not cool.

  10. As a husband, thank you for this site! It encourages me to know I’m not the only man going through these things. Please pray for my marriage and home! The article on”The Jezabel Spirit” is my home and marriage to a tee, and then some!!! This one about control and manipulation… EXACTLY SPOT ON!!

  11. Thank you so much for this post. This seems to me to be primarily a cultural problem of the last 50 years or so. Somehow men went from a “Father knows Best” model to a Homer Simpson model in the estimation of modern feminist thought. Not only are men dolts, but it is now a woman’s “duty” to set him straight to prevent him from making a bigger mess of things. My wife and I fight constantly about one bottom line issue: “who’s in charge?” Western Women today have no grasp of “Chain-of-Command” and the men of tomorrow are being feminized to an alarming degree.

    1. Yes, popular culture is a part of the problem. Constantly portraying husbands as clueless dolts and wives as smart and savvy, can only encourage wives to try to inappropriately take control.

  12. Wise insights.
    The world desperately needs Titus 2 women.
    Also suggest looking at 1 Peter 3, in the context of the previous chapter.

    Keep up the good work!

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