This is the third post in the Terrible “Perry”bles series. This series stems from a Facebook post Perry Noble, former pastor of the megachurch Newspring, put out addressing some of the mistakes he identified that led to his personal issues. The first “Perry”ble I posted about was choosing isolation over community. The second “Perry”ble is choosing a vice over your wife and kids. When I first read Perry’s post I thought that these are some issues that a lot of men are also dealing with.
The third Terrible “Perry”ble is choosing control over relationships. Perry describes his journey as, “I was successful at work, I wasn’t successful at home, so I chose to put more and more time into a place where I felt like I was in control rather than addressing the out of control area of my life.” I think this is an issue for many men out there today, particularly passive men.
Naturally, we tend to be attracted to areas where we find success. Work may be that area for some men. Maybe that is where they thrive at. They probably realized they were good in a specific field or type of work and then trained themselves through schooling and study to be good at it.
Home may be an area where they don’t feel so successful. Home may be a place where the challenges are always changing. Maybe they have a wife who nags on them a lot or challenges with the kids. There may be no guidelines or standard procedures to follow like at work. There also may be other challenges like finances or sickness that makes home an uncomfortable place.
I often say I write this blog toward the controlling wife/passive husband relationship, but it is probably truer to say that everyone is really looking for what gives them control. A passive husband is really seeking out his own way to find ways to have control in a marriage. He does it unfortunately a lot of the time through passive aggressive tendencies. Maybe he keeps quiet and doesn’t share his feelings to feel like he has control over his emotions and control over who he shares them with. Maybe he stalls in making decisions until his decision is the only available option so that he can control the decision without being challenged.
So, what might a passive husband do to choose control over relationships at home that gets him in trouble. Maybe he shuts out his family and becomes absorbed in video games, porn, or other vices. He looks at these things as ways he can control his success. The games, the porn, or other vices don’t try to control him or don’t argue with him. They just do what they do. Before long he finds that he is spending more time in this area that feels good to him than dealing with his closest relationships.
Another area that causes trouble for men in choosing control over relationships are drugs and alcohol. Some men find that dealing with an area that they feel more failure than success requires resorting to something to take the edge off or something that numbs the pain they feel. They turn to alcohol or drugs to ease the pain or fool themselves into believing this gives them control over the hurt.
Perry says, “Control is the biggest illusion in the universe. We do not control when we were born, who our parents are, where we were born, the weather, the stock market, the maniac drivers out on the road or the day we step into eternity.”
I think this is very true that control is a huge illusion for men and women. We can either control by overdoing or underdoing. We can control by overreacting or underreacting. We can control by going to far or not going far enough. Evaluate where you are and see if you are choosing control over your relationships. Address what is keeping you from fully connecting with your spouse, kids, or friends.