A Marriage Of Manipulation


Have you ever been with a  married couple and seen one of the spouses try to manipulate the other?  We all have seen it and perhaps many of us have been guilty of it. It’s wrong! The unfortunate aspect of manipulation is that often the innocent party doesn’t recognize it because, well, when you are in the middle of being manipulated, you are being deceived. Thus, you are unaware that you are being unfairly used to the advantage of another. While manipulation is prevalent in the business world, it strikes me as particularly egregious when one spouse makes this form of coercion a habit in their relationship with their mate.

Using manipulation in a marriage is a sure sign of extreme selfishness on the part of the manipulator. In counseling with couples over the years it has come to my attention that the use of financial withholding by the breadwinner, and withholding affection by the at home spouse is a common tool used to force the mate into a desired behavior. It’s an unhealthy relationship that, in the long run, usually fails. While these types of marriages, for various reasons, (usually love of the children), can last for quite sometime, many end in divorce. The time eventually comes when the manipulated spouse recognizes that they have, and are, being taken advantage of.  Unless change occurs a breakup usually results.

Selfishness is behind a manipulative marriage! And selfishness is the opposite of what the Savior taught. Thus, a manipulative marriage partner is acting contrary to the teachings of Christ.

If any of us are involved in such behavior we should cease and desist. The ignoring of such behavior in our marriages will surely bring about the destruction of our partnership and the shattering of our families. The time for ending such selfish behavior in our marriages is never better than today.

Great are the words spoken by Russell M. Nelson:

“…Above all, do not be selfish! Generate a spirit of selflessness and generosity. Celebrate and commemorate each day together as a treasured gift from heaven.” (“Nurturing Marriage”, GC, April, 2006)


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