In the previous blog we started looking at Samson’s marriage. His bride was clearly very manipulative and used that to control Samson. Obviously their relationship was selfish, immature, and lacking the basics to make a marriage. She manipulates him (16a), he withholds from her (16b), she is disloyal to him (18) and he puts his parents before her (17, see Genesis 2:24). They are each just using each other. Finally she wears him down, though. While as a general rule men may be stronger than women physically, women develop tools to more than compensate. As little girls learning to control stronger boys their age they soon learn to manipulate. Often they see this exemplified in their mothers and other women. They soon discover that, while they can’t out-muscle a man, they can out-emotion a man, and that is what happens.
Rejection, criticism, disapproval, guilt, tears and other weapons become the arsenal of the ungodly woman, and sometimes godly women, too. Men need to feel like they are pleasing their women, like they are providing in an approved way, and like their women are proud of them. A man’s ego and basic needs are built on these. It’s even stronger when a man needs a woman’s approval to feel good about himself as a man. Thus any perceived rejection or criticism can be devastating.
Most men rally have a hard time with a woman who is angry at them. Not only does it bring back bad memories of their mother who would reject them when she got angry at them, men would rather avoid than face strong emotion. Therefore many men will give in to keep the peace, do most anything to avoid their wife’s anger. They learn this survival technique growing up with their mothers, and they see their father’s doing this same thing for the same reason.
To avoid this men fall back to a more passive role, ‘read’ their wives to see how to respond and what to do, and then say or do the safe thing. This undermines a good relationship, though. Women, if they realize it or not, need a man who is strong enough to take control in a gentle loving way, even (especially) when they are out of control. God leads the family through the man, not the woman, for a woman’s emotional nature can be easily misled as Eve was by Satan (I Tim 2:12-15). Man is to lead.
Another way this passive role fails is in the sexual relationship of a husband and wife. For women sex is a romantic expression of their relationship. She needs the man to be the aggressor to be assured he loves and wants her. That is why she needs to hear “I love you” so often. For a woman sex breaks down walls and they need that. For men the emotional closeness of sex can be a threat, a danger of failure. Thus men tend to let women take the lead. This is really compounded when that mother-son gets carried over by the wife and husband. How can there be a mother-son pattern during the day and then that mother become a passionate lover at night? It is up to the man to take loving leadership and break those patterns by not being manipulated but taking the lead as God requires. Man must find his needs met in God, not by another woman, even his wife. To the extent a man is dependent on his wife, to that degree he won’t be free to carry out his God-given role as leader.
THE MURDER Anyway, back to Samson. Finally Samson gave in to her nagging to keep the peace (v 17b). The result was that their relationship, such as it was, was destroyed (20). Control, manipulation, giving in to keep the peace, these all destroy relationships. When the men told him the answer to his riddle (18) Samson knew she had been disloyal and cared more about herself than him. In childish, immature anger Samson storms out of the marriage, kills 30 Philistines to get their clothes and pay off his debt, and moved back home (19).
Watch out for manipulation. It destroys. Learn to recognize it and with God’s peace and power resist it. Find approval in God alone. There is no such thing as an advantageous bargaining position among married people who love each other and are committed to serving each other first.
PRAY: Pray for them as you would have others pray for you, with love and respect.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available for free.)