Control is NOT Love

Does it feel like your marriage is a zero sum game when in comes to church?

Some ones wins and someone looses.

It may look like this:

I have to go to church to keep the peace. 

I don’t want to upset things so I will just keep my doubts to myself. 

This often leads to believing that we are in charge of how our spouse feels. It also means that they are in control of how we feel. 

Ultimately we believe that we can control our spouse’s emotions and they can control our emotions. 

This is crazy making territory. It means that we have to keep each other happy. It means that your happiness is outside of your control and their happiness is outside of their control. It is a very disempowering way to live life.  

On top of this, you probably know from personal experience that you really cannot control other person and how they feel. 

This is because it is our THOUGHTS about our spouses behavior that causes our emotions, NOT our spouses behavior. 

When we get stuck in these type of thoughts we are buying into the belief that our happiness and peace is completely at the whim of another. This means we have to control the other person to ensure our happiness. This means when they are not acting in a way that makes us happy, there is a VERY BIG PROBLEM!

Now you see why a faith transition can be so stressful in a marriage? 

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

One of the most powerful things I teach my clients is that they are the ONLY person in charge of their own thoughts, emotions and reactions and their spouse is likewise the ONLY person in charge of their spouse’s thoughts, emotions and reactions. 

Imagine what might happen if you didn’t try to control your spouses thoughts, emotions and reactions? That is exactly what the person is doing when they think: 

I have to go to church to keep the peace. 

I don’t want to upset things so I will just keep my doubts to myself. 

You may think that would be terrible and unkind to not “keep the peace”. You would be a mean, horrible person if you didn’t try too keep the peace or keep them from being upset. What is the opposite was true? What if it made you kinder, more real, more likable, more authentic?

Believe it or not, when we try to control another’s thoughts, emotions and reactions we are manipulating them and the relationship. That is not the recipe for love, openness and connection. 

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