A Husband’s Authority: Are you a GPS or Autopilot?

Ugh. I just got yelled at by a stranger.

I hopped on the phone to chat with what I *thought* was a woman seeking coaching.

Nope. It was a very angry man. And he had a bone to pick with me.

He had seen something I’d written about boundaries, and very much did not approve. According to this guy, I was out to destroy his marriage… putting stuff like this out there in hopes that his wife will find it and I can poison her against him. Poison her heart to become willful like mine. (hint: if you’re terrified that boundaries may enter your marriage, and ‘ruin’ it… that’s a problem.)

See I, and the women like me, are not satisfied with just burning our own marriages to the ground. Nope. We are bitter, spiteful people, on a crazy mission to burn ALL marriages down. 

This guy ranted for a while about how I just had an authority problem. I wasn’t a christian woman, was rebellious, and could never be led. And he accused me of trying to turn his wife against his leadership, and make her rebellious too.

“Are you a GPS? Or an Autopilot?” I interrupted his tirade. 

A second of silence. Possibly the first breath he had taken since answering the phone. 

“Huh?” He asked.

“Well, you’re talking about leadership, right? I’m feeling curious. Are you a GPS or an Autopilot?…

“See, when I get in my car, the GPS leads me where I need to go. I need it. I depend on it. I’d be lost without it.Really, I have no sense of direction. Even WITH the GPS, I often end up on the wrong highway. Thankfully, it says “recalculating” and then tells me how to get back on course. No matter how many mistakes I make, it pauses, says “recalculating” and helps me back on track.”

“See? You’re too stupid to drive and you’re trying to tell my wife how to think.” he muttered.

I continued. “Sometimes it’s not even a mistake! I’m a mom of 4, and when I have to pee, I have to pee. Like now. Or sometimes I need to get gas. Or a drink. Take care of my needs. Recalculating. Back on track.

“Sometimes I simply choose to go another way. The GPS might see that the fastest way is to go through downtown, but it doesn’t know I get high anxiety driving through downtown. So I choose to go a slower way that feels better to me. Recalculating. Back on track. Or sometimes I might choose to drive a different way to enjoy scenery I love, drive through the windfarm, drive by the abandoned dairy, drive through the hills… something that lights up my soul. Recalculating. Back on track.

“So I’m curious what kind of leader you are to your wife? Do you make room for her to be the fullest expression of herself along the way? Do you make room for her to get her own needs met, anxieties soothed, and soul filled? 

“Or is it your way or no way? Do you grab the wheel and keep her going exactly the way you want, not allowing any deviation from your plan? Is she locked in, without a choice along the way?”

He was almost sputtering in anger. “She is my WIFE! He yelled. I get to call the shots. I’m the leader of the family. Her head. She is supposed to submit and obey my leadership!  The bible clearly teaches…”

“Where are you going?” I cut him off loudly. “Tell me about your vision for your family, for your life, for her. Where are you going?”

“It doesn’t matter where I go, she needs to obey me!” He was almost roaring now. “Wherever I decide, whatever I decide. If I want to do this, she does this. If I want to do that, she does that. She is my WIFE. I am her leader! I don’t need a full life plan for her to obey me!”

Unfortunately, the gentleman began cussing at me, so I had to hang up and block him without finish our conversation. I will not allow a man to ever use the f word at me again.

Apparently, though, his leadership style is fully locked-in autopilot… without a clear destination.

Every tiny decision is his to control… but he is not taking responsibility for the big picture destination. There is no vision.

Let me be clear. I am absolutely not against male leadership. I am against control. And there is a big difference.

In fact, a woman cannot feel fully in her feminine in a relationship without servant-leadership. John Gray, author of “Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus” has a newer book “Beyond Mars and Venus.” It’s a fantastic read. He talks all about the hormones of how men and women fall and stay in love. He points out that when a man does something for a woman, acts as a hero in some way, his testosterone increases and in receiving that her estrogen increases. A husband being a servant-leader makes him more manly and her more womanly, and it feels fantastic to both! 

But when a woman feels her needs won’t be met, her estrogen drops and testosterone increases. And when a man is receiving more than he’s giving, either because she’s trying to earn his love, or because he is forcing her to be what he wants, his testosterone drops and his estrogen increases. A husband being controlling defeminizes his wife and emasculates him! Which doesn’t feel good to either.

So, Gentleman who called me just to cuss me out, if the thought of your wife learning boundaries threatens your “leadership,” then it’s not leadership. It’s control. 

Leadership makes room for the fullest expression of the persons you lead. Leadership always has room for boundaries.