Putting the “man” in manipulation
By Jim Mitchell
Ladies, do you know the difference between manipulation and “man”ipulation?
Probably not. Because manipulation is a real thing. And “man”ipulation is something I just made up.
Manipulation is a destructive form of control that’s abusive and toxic to relationships. That’s never okay in a marriage. I love what Tim Kimmel says in The High Cost of High Control:
God never intended one person to control another. He didn't wire us to respond well to it, either. In each of our hearts is an innate aversion to a person or persons from the outside compelling us to do things that primarily benefit them.
Did you catch that last phrase? Things that primarily benefit them.
We all do things to sway each other, to request what we need: “Pass the butter.” “What do you think about this shirt?”
I find Kimmel’s distinction intriguing. It begs the question: What if my wife seeks to influence me by focusing on things that primarily benefit me? Is that okay?
For example, sex … food … respect. Most men I know would be quite okay with these forms of “man”ipulation.
Obviously, when I say this I’m only being … completely serious! Most men refill their happiness tank with a predictable short-list, and sex, food, and respect sit right near the top.
Emerson Eggerichs summarizes it this way in his classic book Love and Respect: “Just as he should minister to your spirit to have access to your body, so, too, you should minister to his body if you want to gain access to his spirit.”
Manipulation = tricking your husband into doing things you like = bad.
“Man”ipulation = influencing him by focusing your energy on things he likes = good.
So on behalf of your marriage, please never manipulate. But for the love of God and your husband, “man”ipulate us any time.
The Good Stuff: Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
Action Points: Your guy may be an exception to this, but don’t assume that he is. Ask him. You may discover something good for him, you, and the marriage.
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