Trust, Respect, Influence, and Manipulation

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Do you know the differences between trust and respect? Between influence and manipulation? Why do you need to learn this?

Because a wise woman builds her house.
Proverbs 14:1

To determine if something is influence or manipulation, you must ask a question: “Who benefits from the outcome?” If you are trying to get someone to do something that’s purely for your benefit or pleasure, you are manipulating him. Manipulation often includes drama and/or emotional blackmail.

On the other hand, influence provides significant benefits for both people … and, most importantly, the freedom to choose one’s own actions. If you engage in a behavior just because you want something, you’re not freely choosing your actions either. What you do is totally dependent on the outcome. And if it doesn’t go the way you’d like, you won’t be a happy camper. And unhappy campers tend to make themselves and other people miserable.

Neither does mutual manipulation create a satisfying relationship.

A marriage that operates on the basis of quid pro quo is not love. Keeping score sets you up for competition. The truth is, when one person wins, both people lose, no matter if the “winner” is the husband or the wife.

To influence your husband, you need to know how he operates as a member of the opposite sex. What is he thinking? How does he feel? Why does he do the things he does instead of something else?

You know what you need.
But do you know what he needs?

At the top of his list are respect and trust. Now respect should be an easy one, except that women often base their willingness to respect their husbands on whether or not he “deserves” her respect.

However, all people deserve respect. Yes, all. Because we are created in the image of God Himself. Therefore, you can choose to respect your husband because of who YOU are, not because of what he does. You have respect for God, and you demonstrate that by respecting the creatures of his creation, starting with your husband.

Men shut down and/or get angry when they’re being disrespected.

Some women do this intentionally. That is, they know – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that they are being disrespectful.

But that’s not the most disturbing thing about disrespect.

Unfortunately, most women do disrespect their husbands, but they don’t even know that what they are saying or doing feels disrespectful to their husbands. Thus, women who want their husbands to be better men absolutely must do an inventory on this one. You may think you’re just being straightforward or reasonable, but if he’s not growing as a husband, father, and/or leader, then something must be getting lost in translation.

For example, your husband feels disrespected when you undermine him, advise him, or command him. What does that look like?

  • You undermine him when you contradict him in front of others instead of having a private conversation about your difference of opinion. “No, you don’t have to do that, sweetheart. Your dad’s just being way too hard on you.”
  • You give him unsolicited advice anytime your sentence begins with “You should” or “why don’t you.”
  • You command him when you tell him to do something, rather that ask that he do something. “Take this upstairs” instead of “Would you mind taking this up as you go?”

Trust is a different matter altogether.

Not everyone deserves your trust. Trust has to be earned. Once that trust has been broken, it can take a ton of consistent work to regain it. A long and painful process, especially in cases of infidelity. However, time and effort well spent, often produces an even stronger bond than before the breach.

So influencing your husband starts with respecting him.

And respecting him begins with being able to see how he sees life. In other words, what he thinks, how he feels, and why he does what he does instead of something else. You don’t have to agree with him. You were created to bring another perspective. But you do have to understand where he’s coming from.

That’s why I created a Wise Woman’s Guide to Men and Marriage.