Case Study: Introduction
Jane is a strong, confident Christian woman. She loved Tom from the first time they met and thought they would make a wonderful life together. They married 10 years ago and Jane immediately set out to be the wife she thought she should be.
Tom was a great guy, but he had a few quirks she thought that she could fix over time. Jane didn’t care for the clothes he preferred to wear, so every time she went shopping she would buy him something that was more in line with what she thought he should be wearing. She would remove the offending item and replace it with the clothing she preferred.
She really didn’t care too much for his friends, so she set out to arrange new friendships for Tom, strategically arranging golf dates and double dates with other couples in the church, particularly if her friend’s husband was more like the man she hoped Tom would become. Jane’s siblings were all very successful and it was important to her that they think well of her husband. Before they would meet up with her friends and family, she would coach Tom on what to say and what not to say, thinking she was being helpful in being a wise counselor to her husband. After all, she reasoned, she was only trying to help Tom to become a more godly man. What could be wrong with that?
Children & Activities
Jane longed for children, and after a few years she told Tom that since they had been married for a while that it would be a good time for them to try to have a baby. When Tom was resistant, Jane presented all the reasons why it was a good idea for them to have a child. Over many months Jane systematically waged her campaign to convince Tom to agree, and to her joy, he finally saw things her way and she became pregnant. And so now, at the ten-year mark, Jane thought they were a happy family of four; with one girl and one boy. Jane relished her role as a mom and did everything she could to be a good wife to Tom and mother to the kids. She made sure they did all the popular activities, knew the best kids at church, and played the right sports for their future.
It’s A Wonderful Life
She and Tom had a wonderful life together, and everything was going along so well! They never fought, always agreed on everything, had a beautiful house in a great neighborhood, and their children were happy and healthy.
One Friday evening on their usual weekly date, Tom told Jane that he was miserably unhappy and had been for a very long time. He told her he was going to be leaving her and the kids. He had made arrangements to move into an apartment in the next town so he could still be close to work, and to see their kids. Tom denied having involvement with another woman. He confessed that he really had not been happy in their marriage for a number of years and that he had been living a lie. He told a stunned Jane he was just tired of it all. He said he needed to find out who HE was, and determine if there was any of himself left after 10 years of Jane’s Improve Tom Campaign. He told her he had never really wanted what their lives had become. He said he didn’t really want the children, but that he did love them and planned to stay involved in their lives. He just had to get away from her and her controlling ways.
Jane was dumbstruck. They left the restaurant in silence and drove home, thankful the kids were in bed when they arrived. When Tom took the babysitter home, Jane tried to make sense of it all. She thought she had been an excellent wife to Tom, and that he’d agreed to everything they’d done over the years. She thought she had helped Tom become a godly husband and father. She was very confused and broken hearted. Tom followed through with his plans and left his wife and children.
Lessons To Learn
Jane and Tom’s story is a fictitious case study, but this scenario is played out in Christian homes all over the place. Jane’s goal, however noble, was wrong. When she married Tom she said she had everything she wanted in Tom, but when she thought back to before she married him she realized she intended to change who he was from the very beginning. She set out to create herself the perfect husband, and she had done just that.
Tom was miserable because Jane was a controlling, bossy, domineering woman who orchestrated every aspect of his life, from the clothes he wore to his friendships. If she didn’t get her way immediately, she would apply multiple methods of manipulation until Tom would see things her way. She was not unpleasant or nasty about it, just…persistent. After a while, Tom got tired of fighting her about everything and just gave in to her wishes. In the process of Jane’s makeover, Tom lost his own identity. He stopped being his own person, the one God had created him to be, and became the man Jane created him to be. For a while, Jane got what she wanted, and in the end, it became a bitter pill to swallow.
You may be able to identify with Jane. You married a man you have been making over since the day you said, “I do.” If so, I urge you to consider Jane’s story.
Jane’s actions do not excuse Tom’s response of course. Each of them is responsible for their own sin in this matter, and both of them have numerous issues about which to examine themselves and repent. Because this is a blog for women I am focusing on Jane. Jane loved Tom and wanted the best for her family. However, her actions were very selfish and self-focused. She was ultimately thinking of herself and not of her husband despite anything she may have said. This is something all women must be careful of. Our tendency is to control and take over (Gen. 3:16). Often we think we know more and better than our husbands and this is nothing more than rank pride.
Are you a wife who has determined to remake your husband into the man you think he should be? Has your “helpfulness” become controlling and demanding? If you are not sure, ask your husband. If your husband has withdrawn and you sense he is giving in to your demands, I urge you to do some self-examination. Then, ask him. There is always time to repent and change.