Limiters and Ablers

Some guys¹ look at their wife and their kids and see their jailers. They see the family they have created for themselves as limiters; people who keep them from doing what they want and being who they want to be.

It’s one of the saddest things I see in men in my city, and pretty much anywhere.²

These men see their wife, and even their kids, like weights that keep them from going as fast as they want to. For many of these men, they need these weights to protect themselves from themselves. Some of these men want to be and do things that would hurt themselves, and their families keep them from the pain. For these men, it is a misplaced anger. They should be mad at themselves for not being responsible enough to take care of themselves in a healthy way. Their anger should be self-focused because they are the problem, not their families.

Sometimes these men exist in marriages and families where the spouse and/or the kids, actually enjoy having the role of jailer. They feel an unhealthy sense of worth and authority by being an actual pain to their husband/father. They enjoy being a limiter.

I once had a friend who couldn’t go out and play basketball with his friends until he had a chore list at home done to his wife’s satisfaction. It revealed a lack of trust that he would get work done. Maybe he wouldn’t! I have no idea what was going on in my friends’ marriage, but I knew right away I never wanted to be in that kind of a relationship – I didn’t want to be that guy. I didn’t want to marry someone who would be responsible for limiting and controlling my life. It was a weird trade-off relationship, not a self-sacrificing love relationship, where the wife wanted her husband to have male friends and even be a leader among men.

The good news in all of this is that it doesn’t have to be this way. While some men look at their spouse and their kids and see their jailers – keeping them from their dreams – other men look at their spouse and their kids and see the people who make them able to live out their dreams.

Instead of being limiters, you can be an abler.

What if, instead of limiting each other in a marriage relationship, you make each other even more together than you could be apart.

The reason why this isn’t the case in so many marriages is because it’s difficult. It’s freaking easy to find a limiter to live with and then complain your way through life. It’s amazingly difficult to find someone who is so committed to you (and to be committed to them) that you actually become a better person.

The primary way to find a wife that will enable awesomeness is to look for it while you are single. I tell this to single people who are dating all the time; if you’re dating a loser, you’re going to be married to a loser, and you don’t want to be married to a loser. I say it that bluntly too, because so often single people will marry limiters just to have someone because they are so weak and scared that they marry the first loser that will say ‘I do’. They give away their dreams, in order to be happy, because the joy that fulfilled (and even only chased) dreams brings is just to difficult.

For married people, the best solution is not divorce. For married people, the best solution is not divorce. For married people, the best solution is not divorce. Are you catching this?

For married people, the solution is communication and serving. These work together because, when you are married, your primary dream is the fulfillment of the life of your spouse (this means, for example, my primary goal in life is to glorify God through the experience of life my wife enjoys). If your primary dream is something else, you lied when you got married. So quit being a liar and serve your wife because she is the only human being on earth who is willing to live with you!

Someone who is in a limiting marriage, communication and service means finding out the dreams your spouse has and then making those happen. It is not telling your spouse what you want – you want to serve your spouse. Communicate by asking questions.

This is simple. Sit down and ask, “What is the most awesome thing you want in your life?” And then listen and mentally begin to live in a way that you can help serve that dream.

Finally, if you are the limiter in a marriage, if your spouse really is limited by your sinful action and your broken need to have authority to the point that you intentionally sabotage your marriage is real. The solution is as easy as communication and serving also – but you need to repent as well. You didn’t marry your spouse because they were a loser, you married them because you saw a potential in them. So stop limiting and start serving. You’ll be amazed at what you see.


¹This is happening with women also. It’s not as frequent, but I see it happening with women, yet not as often. So this isn’t a man-bashing blog. It’s about the relationships, not the genders. I could have written about people instead of men, but it’s mostly men that I see in these situations. If you need to, reverse the examples, it makes just as much sense. 

²This is a preachy post, and you can feel free to call me out on that, I’m ok with it. It’s not a rant though, because rants are angry, this is sad. It’s rant-ish, but not a good and pure and useless rant.


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