Marriage Killer #2: Keeping Him Under Control

As a young bride I was all about “helping” my man. I wanted to help him improve. I “helped” him with his grammar. I tried to help him become more organized, more of a planner, more like me! Although I used the biblical phrase “helper” (Gen. 2:18) to justify my actions, in reality what I was doing was trying to control my husband.

I was attempting to re-make my husband into my dream version of the man I wanted him to be.

That’s what I thought God meant by “helping my husband.”

God places us in an important position in our husband’s life. We serve alongside our husband, we’re a co-regent with him. As Matthew Henry wrote, “Woman was made out of a rib of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be beloved.”

The woman’s role of helper is not a demeaning position of inequality, but rather a privileged position of influence and inspiration. Our men need our help-thus the creation of woman. But we must be careful that our role of helping is one that inspires him to be the man God created him to be, not one of domination and manipulation in an effort to produce changes we want.

Helping him to “improve” is a good thing, if it is from the right motive, with the right attitude, and for the right purpose.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your husband as his “helper” is the freedom to lead. If he fears your reaction, fears he will be corrected, fears rejection or belittling from you, he will either retaliate in cruel domination or retreat into a silent cave.

Helping your man doesn’t mean:

  • Preventing him from making foolish choices. (You need to allow him to learn from his mistakes.)
  • Bailing him out of consequences of his foolish choices (Prov. 19:19).
  • Assuming the role of “mom” or “instructor” (he’s a man!). 

Helping your man does mean:

  • Lifting up serious, specific, and continual prayer intercession.
  • Honoring his role as the leader in your home.
  • Affirming his leadership decisions.
  • Being his “safe place.”
  • Encouraging—but not pushing—his spiritual growth.
  • Communicating with honesty, humility, and gratitude.
  • Letting him know you’re glad he’s your man!

Share some ways that you help your man. How do you help him in fulfilling his calling to be a man of God in your home, in your community or church?

How do you model the helper role for your daughters or younger women who may be watching?

How do you serve as his “iron sharpening iron?”

Originally posted 08.13.09 at

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/


  • Becky

    It has taken me almost 27 years to learn some of these principles of godly loving my husband. I have many regrets about the first 15 years of our marriage because I was a “fierce woman”, but praise God for His forgiveness and my husband’s forgiveness. I will be forwarding this to my daughter who is getting married in May. She knows our story and I’ve shared my struggle to become a godly wife, but it helps to hear from others. Thank you, Kim, for constantly reminding us of our beautiful position in marriage. It is a sweet place indeed!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Becky ~

    Thank you so much for sharing some of your story with me. I’m so glad you’ve been open with your daughter about how you struggled and the work God has done. That will be so helpful to her in the years to come. Thank you for sending her the book. I pass it on to young women all the time, hoping that they will be spared much of the marital misery that we experienced.

    God bless you, friend ~