UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – Manipulation or Influence

Women can be powerful, influential leaders in society; but especially in the home. From the time we were little girls, we have learned some tricks to getting what we want.  We may have heard words like, “Oh my, Susie you are so pretty.” So we learn to use our beauty to entice and meet our needs. Or we may have heard, “You are so smart…athletic…creative…happy…”, and then we may have learned to use these power tools to manipulate people to provide things to make us happy or to feel better about ourselves. Manipulation in a marriage has the potential to be a deadly tool that may end up boomeranging and cause built up resentment and hostility in your marriage and family.

Manipulation:I once heard a well known speaker/author-namely Beth Moore, say that “Anything we have to manipulate is rarely ours to keep.” Those words have been seared into my soul because they are so true. Manipulation can be used for good or bad, but its ultimate goal is mostly self serving.  We contrive something to happen by using other people’s emotions to attain our goal. Let me give you an example:

I was raised in a German family and nothing could motivate me faster than guilt and fear. Guilt is one of the most powerful manipulation tools; but leaves a trail of emotional destruction. It makes the other person feel obligated to perform, and its effects are usually short term but can build up years of resentment, anger, bitterness and withdrawal. Other words for manipulation are: Control, maneuver, operate, stage-manage. These are all damaging words when it comes to getting something we want from each other.

Here is how it can negatively affect your marriage and family:

  1. You may feel you need a certain number of vacations a year, or you like to constantly re-decorate your home or feel pressured to put your children into too many activities.  When you have to manipulate your spouse to agree with those things that may not be right for your family at the present time, it has the potential to put you into debt; breed resentment in your spouse, and invite unnecessary chaos.
  2. You may be trying to get your children to take out the garbage, cut the grass or do their own laundry. If you do this through controlling, guilt or intimidation; you are not teaching them anything. They do it out of obligation, not out of a sense of responsibility or simply being a team player in the family.
  3. When we manipulate our husband or children through guilt, fear, intimidation, we are using their emotions to get what we want.  We are being deceitful and treat them like an object for getting our way. This shows a dreadful lack of respect.
  4. We are being dishonest with ourselves and modeling dishonesty to our children.
  5. We are alienating ourselves from our spouses.  They will begin to distrust us and withdraw.

 Influence:There is nothing more gorgeous than a woman of influence; one who is confident in who she is and uses her power and authority to affect change through inspiration and encouragement. Yes, influence can also be negative, but I believe we all want our influence to be constructive, honest and to bring about beautiful life change.  A woman/wife of influence:

  1. Prays for her husband and children for wisdom to make the right choices.
  2. Influences through love and grace.  Her ambition is not self-serving; her aspirations are always to inspire the best for every member of the family.
  3. She listens to other objections and weights them with wisdom.
  4. Instead of using the other person’s weaknesses as a tool for manipulation, she sees it as a place to build confidence and value in that person’s life.
  5. A woman of influence has a goal to be a Godly woman, who respects her husband and children.
  6. She sees her influence as a long term goal, and not short term satisfaction.
  7. She longs to leave a legacy of love, rather than a trail of resentment, anger and dissention.

I know I have the power of manipulation. I can read different people’s emotions and I can come up with the right words to get my way. But I have learned that I am actually lying to myself when I do this, and it leaves a bad taste in my heart.  I want to be a Godly woman of influence; one that uses her God given authority to change the heart of the people in her life into beauty and long lasting value.

What about you?

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