My Family Fantastic

Creating Experiences That Help Relationships Thrive

Who Else Wants to Avoid Getting Hurt?

“I want to have 4-6 kids. I want to be a stay-at-home-mom. I want to be married by the time I’m 30. And, I want to have my first child by the time I’m 33,” these were the talking points I was able to drop into the dinner conversation of me and Morris’s second date at Uno’s Pizzeria.

In my mind, I was just laying out the future and giving him the opportunity to determine if he was in or out. But my running buddy, Rachel, told me the next day that I needed to chill. Well, those weren’t her exact words. It was something to the effect of “just get to know him and see where it goes.”

Simone Boyd, Reporting for Battle

Looking back, my attempt to lay out my life plan was really a plan to protect myself from getting hurt or wasting time. My biological clock was ticking and I didn’t have time to waste! I needed to be in control of where our relationship was going and how quickly it progressed.

My last boyfriend had dumped me three years earlier. And this time, by golly, I was going to protect myself! Thank goodness, Morris had the patience to see past my craziness and the battlefield armor.

I Don’t Want to Be Someone That….

Fast forward a year and half, Morris and I were sitting in pre-marital counseling. Our counselor asked us to do an exercise and ask ourselves what are things that 1) we wanted to take from our parent’s marriage and 2) things that we didn’t want to take from our parent’s marriage.

There were many things that I wanted to take from my parents 35-year marriage. But, as I reflected on the second question …I realized that the need for control had negative consequences on my parent’s marriage. And, I desperately did not want to repeat that in my own marriage. Specifically, I didn’t want to be someone that:

  • Always had to WIN
  • Failed to see the value in the opinion of others
  • Ruled my household with an iron fist

At our next counseling session, I explained my fears to Morris. Because I was scared that I’d end up like Mommy Dearest and my children and hubby would hate me. We talked about it. He explained that he was strong enough to keep my craziness in check and that he still wanted to marry me. Which was a relief!

The Control Test

But, I also prayed about it and asked the Lord to help me overcome my control issues. And He reminded me of one of the deepest control issues of my heart: money. You see, my family didn’t have a lot of money growing up. Well, we started out with a lot. And then we lost it all when my dad went into the ministry full-time.

Although, we never went hungry. We ate lots of rice and beans and beans and rice. And we occasionally had our lights turned off, when the money didn’t quite make it in by bill time. To me, having money meant security. And not having money meant insecurity.

As a result, I worked at least 3 jobs all through college because I wanted to feel safe. But, when Morris and I got married the Lord laid it on my heart to turn over control of our money to him.

Wait. What?!

I balance my check book every couple of days.
I know how much money is in my account down to the last red cent.
I NEED to know how much money we have!

 

Relinquishing Control

Nope, I had to turn over everything to Morris. Now, mind you, Morris never asked me to do this. It was something I needed to do to relinquish control. And for me, giving Morris control of the money was a step of faith.

We have budget meetings once a month and Morris gives me updates every couple of weeks to let me know how we’re doing. But, I haven’t checked our bank balance or balanced our check book in almost three years.

The Payoff

Thanks to the Financial Peace Ministry at our church and learning to work together as a team. We’ve eliminated all of our debt, saved a 6-month emergency fund, and socked away enough money for a down payment on a home.

But, more importantly, I trust Morris. And I no longer try to correct his every move.  “No, Sweetie Pie, don’t make the bed that way. Do it this way.” Or “Seriously, are you going to wear that (insert side eye)?” The need to control rears its head in the smallest ways doesn’t it?

Yes, I’m learning to trust in the little and the big things. But none of that would have happened if I was still trying to run everything.

What Does This Have to Do With Relationships?

In his book, Walking with the Wind, John Lewis explains his concept of trust:

I always begin with an attitude of trust. I assume that your word is good until you show me otherwise. I refuse to be suspicious until I have a reason to be. Yes, this sets me up to be burned now and then, but the alternative is to be constantly skeptical and distanced. I’d rather be occasionally burned but able to connect than always safe but always at a distance.

And I think that’s a good way to approach relationships. If you, like me, wear your body armor on dates…it could be preventing you from making a meaningful connection.

****Action Item****

If you are dating, make an effort to demonstrate how much you trust your fella. And reflect on how the need to protect yourself could be off putting to potential suitors.

 

12 Comments

  1. Simone this is soooo spot on! Some of the need to control I think comes from our good ole ancestor Eve and it’s been embedded in our DNA. That can be broken and we can be redeemed and be free once we see our own areas of self-preservation i.e CONTROL! Instinctively I think our wiring as women we want to feel safe and I think there’s something God given in that. However, could it be that fear gets mixed in? I know I have often found myself trying to steer that ship! Thanks for being so transparent and given the practical everyday ways we could be inserting our fear-based control into our relationships.

    • Simone

      March 16, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Hey E!Wow, there are so many good points that you raise. I never even thought about the need to control coming from Eve. I’m writing that down to discuss in a future blog post. Thank you for mentioning that.

      And, yes, I totally agree that the need to feel safe is God ordained. Proverbs even talks about guarding our hearts. But, it IS a balancing act. I agree with you that fear can so easily get mixed in and it torments us! And then we’re trying to “steer the ship.” (love that phrase!) The Good Book says: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear has torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. I John 4:18. And I think that’s where I was operating from—a place of fear.

      You know, I sometimes worry about talking too much about our relationship. But, I just want to give examples of what NOT to do. So, thank YOU for mentioning transparency and adding SO much to the conversation. Love, Simone

  2. Awesome word Simone!

  3. Hey Simone! Your insights are on point. Thank you for pointing out our habits of self-protecting. I operate in this more than I’d like to admit… and really – you stopped trying to correct Morris already? Only took 3 years? I’m on 17 and still trying! Love you, and thank you SO MUCH!
    Linda

    • Simone

      March 16, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      Linda! I busted out laughing when I read your comment “you stopped trying to correct Morris already?” Let me emphasize trying…gurrrl, I am still a work in progress! Thank you for sharing your experience…it is comforting to know that self-protection is something we ALL (single, newly married, and 17-years of marriage) struggle with. Love you and thanks for stopping by!

  4. Barbranda Walls

    March 20, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Well done, Simone! Like you and Linda, I’m still learning to let go and let him take the lead after nearly 18 years of marriage. I am the money manager at my house but we could do better working together in that area. Keep sharing your experiences – both triumphs and failures – with us. What a blessing you can be to sisters everywhere! Keep on keeping on…

    • Simone

      March 22, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Hi Barbranda! Thank you SO much for stopping by. I like what you said about doing better about working together. It made me think about where I could be more intentional about letting go. One example, is food. I’ve kind of self-appointed myself as the food czar in our house and I could definitely ease up.

      Thank you for the encouragement–it seems like there are so many more failures than triumphs to share:-)–but if it helps my sisters…it’s all worth it!

  5. The idea of letting go actually gives me anxiety. As a matter of fact, beads of sweat are popping up on my forehead as I write this. But this is good stuff, Simone. I especially love this: “I’d rather be occasionally burned but able to connect than always safe but always at a distance.” Gold.

    • Simone

      March 27, 2015 at 12:23 am

      Hey Quanie! Thanks for stopping by. I KNOW right?! Rep. Lewis really hit the nail on the head with that one, especially considering everything he went through with the Civil Rights Movement. But when you look at it as he did, the choice (occasionally burned or connected) is simple. The key for me is reminding myself!

  6. As someone who’s still in the preparation suite waiting for God’s perfect match this is such an encouragement to me. For one thing it’s always nice to hear of a couple who understands each other’s crazy and chooses to love each other through it. For another, I dated someone with a childhood background similar to yours for years. Ironically, I also have a similar background and we reacted to it totally differently. I had an irrational fear of managing money for years that I’m JUST now starting to resolve. And he, like you, worked like a dog in order to feel secure. The thing is that until you surrender, it NEVER seems to be enough. His need for control manifested in other waystoo, and eventually drove me away. It’s good to know that someone like that can make a conscious effort to change. Talk about an act of faith! But if God led you to it, He’ll see you through it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    Faith Simone recently posted…The Perfect Summer (Pure Cuteness Ahead!)My Profile

    • Simone

      May 28, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Oh wow. You can’t even know how much this comment blessed me. Thank you SO much for sharing your story, Faith Simone. Yes and amen! God’s perfect match for you will have the patience to see past the crazy. And while your in the “preparation suite” (LOVE that!) He’ll equip you for whatever comes along with your hubby.

      I am THRILLED to hear that you are overcoming your fear of managing money. One of the things I’ve learned from reading and talking with women is how different approaches to money can really drive a wedge between couples. Control is such a big part of that. But by surrendering to the Holy Spirit and His direction, we can definitely overcome our need to control or anything else that’s a barrier to a thriving relationship. We just have to act in faith and SURRENDER to the process.

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