How we navigate our operating systems in marriage determines the level of our marital satisfaction or misery respectively.
Our operating systems and how we roll with them create all the dynamics we experience in our relationships. Ignorance of our operating systems sets us up for conflict, distance, and misunderstanding.
A healthy self-awareness of how we roll, (interact,) can deliver us from a lot of pain and confusion, and increase our connection with others. We must reformat our operating systems.
I will typically approach a relational subject with the premise that mostly, we lack the skills to relate honesty, openly, and truthfully. If we possessed these skills we wouldn’t fail as badly as we do in marriage, Christian or not. We aren’t “bad,” we are broken.
This is because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ”
This is a bible verse declaring the truth that we are all sinners and need a savior. We need redemption because we are broken with broken operating systems, and don’t know how to obtain what we want in honest straightforward ways.
We will tend toward a complaining victim attitude rather than become whole and empowered, learning to assert ourselves in healthy ways. This hinders our ability to connect to another relationally and constructively. We come crashing in as we are used to and wonder why others pull away. Our relationships bear the fruit of who we both are.
How We Get What We Want
We must return home to understand our operating systems. I will enter relationships using power the way I saw mom and dad do it. Our parents love(d) us and tried to raise us up into whole individuals who could love well. Or maybe they didn’t know how because their parents didn’t know how. Or maybe their parents were absent, physically or emotionally.
Our emotional expression; Anger or passivity will tend to be what our parents sowed into us. The sooner we get in touch with how we do it, and become self-aware, the sooner we can develop honest, straightforward, relating patterns that will draw others to us in intimacy. Following are some operating systems with their accompanying fruit. . .
This is the person who achieves their goals because they can and they have the power to do so. They will roll over others with the sheer force of their personality. We call them bullies. These are the ones who usually get what they want by using power without considering the needs and feelings of the ones they dominate. These are women as well as men.
The playing field needs levelled when there is a powerhouse involved. The “victim” in the relationship needs to establish boundaries, and not allow the powerhouse to degrade, dishonor, or shame them. I was this victim in my marriage when I married Linda. Dad was passive and mom dominated the marriage with angry power. I grew up and married “mom.”
I had to learn to stand up to her and required her to take responsibility for her use of power, and to learn to honor and respect me as her equal. I had to surrender to God, and receive my empowering, approval, and identity as a man from Him, instead of looking to woman for it, and becoming an “Ahab.” (One who abdicates their masculine authority for the approval of a woman.) I use the term metaphorically, I’m not calling you fine ladies Jezebel’s.
This is the rite of passage for a man, to stand upright before the woman, and speak the truth in love and become empowered to walk in the authority God gives to the man to run his household. “Adam, where are you?” God calls us out of “hiding among the trees in the garden with our fig leaves.” He establishes us with an identity that is truthful and powerful in a Godly way through service and sacrifice for the heart of his woman. Eph. 5
The “powerhouse” has the power and gets his (her) way in the relationship but creates distance through the use of a broken operating system that is devoid of love. The powerhouse is lonely because he operates without love. He hasn’t learned submission and honoring that is needed for mutuality and a connection of hearts. You will have no access to the heart you abuse. This is a law of life, and a kingdom principal; A kingdom that runs on love and honoring, serving and respect. The powerhouse can learn this through reformatting that requires humility, submission, repentance, and a transformed attitude.
Our manipulating skills were developed and polished at home growing up. We don’t think twice about carrying these skills into marriage and employing them to get what we want. After all, “that’s how you do it.” So we automatically begin manipulating for what we want rather than be truthful and negotiate for it. Manipulating is easier than bargaining for it.
What manipulation does
It creates distance because it is hidden and not in the open. It’s a dark operating system that dishonors the one you are manipulating. You are bypassing their free will by not engaging them but applying pressure for a desired outcome. God doesn’t do that with us. He lets us choose life or death blessing or curse. He doesn’t rescue us from our choices or their fruit. This is what love does. God doesn’t rescue or enable victims.
We run into our relational conflict because manipulation is not a kingdom principal. Truth is. God won’t bless us when we use hidden underground forms of operating. He will call us out on our manipulation to forsake it. Love doesn’t manipulate or control to get it’s way. We are to grow in love and put away childish things. We are called to risk love by being vulnerable and honest. We risk disappointment, refusal, even rejection if God arranges that. His heart can take it. We follow Jesus to the cross and risk all for love.
Releasing control through surrender
It’s important to remember that we will squeeze the life out of whatever we try to control. That’s because control is essentially idolatry. I will be “god” and control the outcome. As controllers we are really tiny, fearful, people who can’t trust a good, powerful, reliable God.
Anne Wilson Schaeff said;
“I will remember that my illusion of control is just that, an illusion.”
Jesus didn’t bully people, He said “follow me,” then led by example.
Hope For Happily Ever After
The book is nearing completion. Hopeful for Happily Ever After—DanXO