Seeds of manipulation

One of the things that most women do — whether they are aware or unaware of — is tying their feelings and emotions to decisions.

For example, if a husband or boyfriend is making a decision such as picking a restaurant other other financial choice, there are some ways that a wife can subtly affect his behavior.

Him: “Let’s go to X restaurant.”
Her: “Are you sure?”
Her: “I don’t know how I feel about that”

A question like “are you sure” is a subtle affront to decision making which implicitly says the women doesn’t trust you or that she can sense that you’re seeking approval from her. This is something to quash.

The statement about her not “feeling it” is even worse than that because she is basically giving her opinion that she doesn’t like it in a passive-aggressive manner. This is something to quash even more firmly.

However, there are situations that seem better, but in reality may lead to insidious rebellion.

Him: “Let’s go to X restaurant.”
Her: “I’m happy with anything you choose”
Her: “I’m comfortable with what you’re comfortable doing”

The simple fact of the matter is that women often tie their emotions to a man’s decision making. This is bad because it implicitly tells a man that his decisions are tied to her emotions.

It is easy for a woman in this state of mind to go down the feminist route to say that is she is unhappy or displeased with a decision. Then you have a boyfriend or husband who is in a dilemma where he is second guessing himself or stuck in a conflict when there shouldn’t be one. He either caves to her unhappiness which is destructive to the relationship. On the other hand, the other choice is that he has to engage in that unnecessary conflict which most men are going to want to avoid, and it can easily escalate into a fight or something else that is out of control.

What is inevitably better is for a woman to affirm a man’s decision making instead without tying her feelings to it:

Her: “That’s great. I trust your decision making.”
Her: “That’s great. I trust your judgment.”

Doing this will bring the relationship between a husband and wife closer because there is trust built here rather than a husband being implicitly a slave to his wife’s emotions. I would say this is best used for small decisions that don’t really matter in the large scheme of things. To be faithful in the small things means that a man will start to trust a woman in large things.

Matthew 25:23 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'”

Luke 16:10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”

That way when a man has to make a large decision to make his faith in his wife or girlfriend has already been boosted by her trust in the small things. That way her input, even her feelings in a large decision, will have more weight in his decision making. He will not feel that the his wife or girlfriend is trying to manipulate him because the trust is there, and his decision making has not been prematurely tied to her feelings as in the small things.

Obviously, this is very subtle behavior that appears innocuous but has the ability to head down the path of the destructive unhappy wife. Both Christian men and women should take heed of a woman tying her emotions to a man’s decision making.

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11 Responses to Seeds of manipulation

  1. Jenny says:

    While your advice is excellent, women are going to be women and telling them to not have feelings is par to telling them not to be women. Manipulation and being manipulated are heart issues and shouldn’t be connected to actions or words.

  2. Robin Munn says:

    Jenny –

    If you can quote the part where he said women shouldn’t have feelings, I’d love to see it. Because that wasn’t the article I read. The article I read was telling women that they shouldn’t tie their feelings to their husband’s (or boyfriend’s) decisions, because down that road lies the trap of controlling his decisions. (Even if she doesn’t end up doing it intentionally.) In other words, he was suggesting treating women like mature adults: adults who are able to take charge of their own feelings, instead of letting someone else’s decisions rule their feelings.

  3. @ Jenny

    What Robin said is correct.

    It’s fine to have feelings. It’s dangerous to tie feelings to decision making because of the ability for such feelings to undermine and manipulate a husband’s decision making.

  4. Patrick Pedat Ebediyah Golston says:

    Great food, DS!

    One of my most recent Circumspect Life Daily Devotionals speaks to what you've presented here in a round-a-bout way.

    For women, a lot of their "self" is tied to their emotions (heart) instead of their will (mind – of Christ).

    It's something they (we) all must die to daily.


  5. Jenny says:

    I don’t think feelings are quite the enemy you make them out to be. We are supposed to love God with our heart, soul, and mind. It makes sense to live the rest of our lives that way also, with our hearts, souls, and minds.

    @Robyn, agree we mustn’t let our feelings control, disagree we are trapping men into pleasing us by connecting feelings to decisions. agree his decisions shouldn’t control our feelings, but likewise our feelings shouldn’t control his decisions…. regarding mature adults.

    @DS, feelings do not equal manipulation, manipulation is an issue of the heart. Intentions = manipulation. The word manipulation infers deviousness or wanting to control.

    Some of my best decisions are because of feelings, of course the mind should enter into it also, but to dismiss feelings is cold. Mercy comes from feelings…doesn’t make much logical sense other than duty to obey the law. It’s when the two are combined that the best decisions are made.

  6. @ Jenny

    feelings do not equal manipulation, manipulation is an issue of the heart. Intentions = manipulation. The word manipulation infers deviousness or wanting to control.

    I’m not going to argue semantics.

    The point is that the vast majority of women know that their feelings have an impact on their boyfriend/husbands decision making.

    Primary example: why else do husbands have an aversion to duty sex from their wives? Husbands don’t want their wife to just have sex because he wants it… he wants her to be enthusiastic.

    Feelings aren’t wrong. Like you said, sometimes they push us to do the right thing. But we play a dangerous game when we tie feelings with decisions, especially in feedback about decisions. It’s one step away from unconscious or conscious manipulation.

  7. Jenny says:

    @DS, would like an example of a woman disagreeing with a man in an appropriate way.

  8. Jenny says:

    oh wait, I used the word like, let me try again. I request an example of a woman disagreeing with a man in an un-manipulative way. Please don’t do anything in order to please me.

  9. @ Jenny

    “Here’s what I think about _____, and my feminine instincts tell me I feel like _____ about it. I trust your decision making and will back you up on it.”

    Multiple things going on here:

    1. A distinction can easily be made between thoughts and feelings.
    2. Affirm that you trust your husband/bf/etc decision making abilities.
    3. Will back him up even if he decides not to make the decision that you think and/or feel is correct.

    Make sense?

    Without clear delineation it’s easy to go the route of this is what “I think” when that is really how the woman “feels” or vice versa. And lack of affirmation of headship and backing him up is often disconcerting for most men.

  10. Jenny says:

    ah, very good. Thank you! I really do appreciate you.

  11. Pingback: Lightning ROund – 2014/08/13 | Free Northerner

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