Connection Over Control

There’s an idea in the horse world that anyone can get a horse to do something with enough force, the same way that you can get anyone to do anything with enough coercion. The difference is that that horse, or that person, probably won’t want to do that thing again. I do not agree with or subscribe to that ideology because I want to focus on creating a relationship and partnership with my horse that uplifts and benefits both parties. Building trust and open communication is far more important than getting my horse to do everything I say the moment I say it and then getting upset when she doesn’t understand. And the same is true for my relationships with the people in my life. I want them to feel safe around me, not always having to second guess what will set me off next simply because I didn’t get my way.

This is one of the many lessons I’ve learned since getting married. I can’t control everything, and realistically I should never be allowed to. When you’re living alone, you have almost total autonomy over your space: how it looks, how things are put away, the level of cleanliness, and if the socks go in the laundry basket or not. And you allow yourself a level of fluidity in how rigidly you follow those rules. But things get a bit trickier once you start sharing your space with someone else, especially someone who will be there for the rest of your life. Because you’re both used to a different set of rules and have a different level of leniency with those rules.

This is where I often find myself at a crossroads. I could hold onto my way of doing things as the right way and let bitterness and resentment fester in my heart as my husband continues not to do things the way I’ve always done them. Or, I can choose to release my need to control everything in my life and figure out how we can create a new set of expectations for our home together. Because we’re in this together as equal partners.

Partnership isn’t about control; it’s about connection. When we’re constantly trying to assert our dominance over something or someone by trying to control every detail, we lose sight of the fact that the person we’re trying to control just wants to connect with us. When God created us, He did so out of love and crafted us for soul-deep connections with one another. Control twists this around and makes everything about me. Connection makes everything about us…together. Without connection, we’re just a bunch of people bobbing along in a life raft fighting over who gets to use the oars. But when we can set aside our pride, lay down our unexpressed expectations, and lean into meaningful connections, we create a space where understanding and love can grow and flourish.

Whether it’s riding horses or talking with our spouse, we need to remember that we’re on the same team. One of us isn’t better or more worthy of getting our way, but instead, we should be focused on making sure the other person feels seen and heard. This space allows horses to flourish and develop into willing partners excited for every ride. And it’s where relationships grow deeper roots, and people feel safe expressing their feelings and opinions because they know that you care enough to listen. Control can sully our relationships and outlook on the world, but only if we let it take root in our lives. Don’t let it, friend. Instead, choose connection over control and allow your relationships to flourish.

One thought on “Connection Over Control

  1. Thanks for that perspective. That realization has to go with us for our whole lives. It seems we have to keep relearning that lesson.


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