It has recently come to my attention that I am a possessive girl. But not in the way you would expect. I don’t freak out when my fiancé, Ike, talks to another girl, and I don’t accuse him of staring at other beautiful women. No, my possessiveness is far more subtle.
All this time I’d thought I was better than those “other women,” but it turns out I’m just like them in a lot of ways. And I suspect you are too.
Why? Because our relationships with men often combine a careful blend of jealousy and the need to control. We want men to prefer us, and oftentimes we try to make them. Or, we simply like to be in control, period.
In case you think this doesn’t sound like you, I have decided to put together a list of ways that you might have seen that nasty possessive side rear its ugly head in your own life. I am making it a three part blog series because each point warrants a lot of its own attention. The series will be composed of the following list:
1. You’re possessive about your guy friends
2. You’re possessive about your crushes
3. You’re possessive about your boyfriend/fiancé.
I myself have qualified under all three categories at various stages in my life, so I encourage you to read through them and be honest. This topic is important, not because we need to be less possessive, but because our possessive tendencies say a lot about our relationship with God, and others.
Part 1: You’re possessive about your guys friends
This form of possessiveness typically manifests itself as “big sister” protection. You may have absolutely no romantic interest in your friend, but you take it upon yourself to protect him from all the “unworthy women” who try to enter his life. You become very vocal about the girls he dates, stating that they need to “get your approval.” Or, you find yourself gossiping about the girls trying to get his attention–“She is SO desperate. I just can’t stand the way she throws herself at him.”
Now we often deceive ourselves into thinking that this behavior is for his own good. We’re just looking out for him. In reality, it is a manifestation of jealousy, the need to control, or both.
The jealousy dynamic tends to be the most obvious. Even in platonic friendships there is some part of us that doesn’t want to be outranked by another girl.
But even if you would be happy for your friend to find the right woman, we often act as if guys aren’t smart enough to navigate the dating process on their own. We think some Jezebel is gonna pull the wool over his eyes, so if we don’t step in he’ll end up marrying a total floozy! This behavior is all about control. It reveals that you don’t trust your friend’s judgment, nor do you trust God’s sovereignty in his life.
In addition to those issues, this behavior is a disturbing commentary on how we view other women. We treat them as if they’re dangerous predators, not our sisters in Christ. The truth is, our sisters need just as much guidance, support and love as our brothers, and it is far more appropriate for us to give that kind of care to other women than to men. But we instead treat other girls as competition, rather than co-laborers in Christ.
And what if your guy friend is interested in a non-Christian girl? Well that’s ALL THE MORE REASON to reach out to her. Yes, caution your friend against missionary dating–or better yet, encourage his other guy friends to do so–but in the mean time remember that this may be her only exposure to the sweet fellowship she might find among Christian woman, so don’t spoil that opportunity.
Those are just a few of the dynamics involved in possessiveness over male friends. I am guilty of giving into this temptation many, many times–I am a total control freak. But if you find yourself being possessive about guy friends, let it be a barometer of your heart. This behavior is not really about guys at all–it’s about the state of your heart toward God. Work on that, and the possessiveness will take care of itself.
Stay tuned for the next post on being possessive about your crushes!