Not too many women wear aprons regularly these days. Although I probably should when I’m cooking. My husband laughs at how messy I am in the kitchen. He never balks at the results, however. 🙂
The legend about the apron strings travels back to the 16th century when the mistress of the home wore an apron to designate her authority.
Through the years, the phrase “cut the apron strings” also symbolizes a young adult’s ability to make their decisions, income, and home apart from their parents. Healthy parents desire healthy children. They willingly release these young men and women to the next phase of life, celebrating each milestone.
You looked for specific attributes and characteristics when you began dating your husband. I remember desiring a gentle, kind man who knew his mind, would engage in healthy conversations with me, worked hard, and enjoyed a good laugh, but wasn’t afraid to show emotion when appropriate. I wanted to feel safe.
Most women I know desire that their husbands be strong men and be in charge of the family.
To be not only able providers but also involved dads, good communicators, faithful friends, and consistent lovers. But something happens in the home. Daily life, struggles, and ordinary everyday cares remove the shine off the shining knight.
Sometimes, in your desire for that man to be strong, you grabbed an apron, tied it around your waist, declared yourself Queen of the Castle, and somehow thought tying your husband up in those apron strings would help him become the man you desire. But those decisions and actions backfired.
Your apron strings emasculate your man.
I discovered some verses about treating my husband with honor instead of control, with respect even when life felt rocky and treacherous.
- Proverbs 21:9
It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.
- Proverbs 21:19
It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.
- Proverbs 19:13-14
A foolish child is a calamity to a father; a quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping. Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife.
- Proverbs 25:24
Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack than share a mansion with a nagging spouse.
- Proverbs 26:21
A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.
- Proverbs 27:15,16
A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.
After reading these verses, I knew that’s not the woman I wanted to be.
When I spent my days trying to control my husband, I nagged to get my way. You become his mother and expect him to cling to your apron strings. Ladies, your husband deserves your respect, not your control.
I learned this lesson during our recovery period. Today, I remember these verses when I catch myself trying to control Dave’s choices, actions, or behaviors. Do my words and actions reflect a quarrelsome wife? What’s behind my desire to control or intimidate him in my way? Usually, I feel unsafe or insecure.
When you tighten the apron strings around your husband, how do you cut him loose?
1. Ask God to forgive you.
Yes, your attitude toward your husband must change before your words and actions. Like your husband, you make mistakes, make poor decisions, and break trust. And if you think you don’t, you’re lying to yourself. The first step in cutting those apron strings requires you to admit your mistakes. Come to God and confess your sins. He promises to forgive you and restore your relationship with him first. Release the apron string of judgment. It hurts every relationship.
2. Ask God to give you the courage to trust him first.
Finding your security and safety involves running to God. No human can be completely safe. We disappoint each other regularly. Because we are human. We break trust with one another. God alone is 100% trustworthy. If you discover you’ve lost trust in your husband and feel unsafe, you might also realize you’re angry with God. I get it. I found myself angry with God because I knew he could have protected Dave and me from the mess we found ourselves in. However, I realized I had to trust that God is always good. And because he never changes, I had to trust that he could reconcile the present circumstances, pain, and broken relationship with Dave. When we focus on him first and allow him to protect our hearts and minds, we learn to trust others. But, when we flip that sequence, we find continual disappointment and heartache. Rebuilding trust has to begin with our relationship with God. Untie the apron string of punishment so trust can build.
3. Ask your husband to forgive you.
Oh, how this one stings. I remember when God showed me how much I needed to ask Dave to forgive me. I wasn’t guiltless in our marriage crisis. Yes, his porn problem precipitated the situation, but I also had issues to deal with. One unexpected thing happened when I asked Dave for forgiveness. I felt safer with him. He accepted me and drew toward me with new tenderness and compassion. And I felt the same toward him. I cut the apron string of self-righteousness and set us both free.
4. Pray for your husband daily.
Maybe more than the first three, this one softens your heart and mind. I remember my first feeble attempts to pray for Dave during the aftershocks of his revelation. My prayers weren’t pretty, pleasant, or coherent. Often, I cried more than I uttered words. Yet, God heard those real emotions and frightened angry words. Romans 8 tells us he hears our groanings and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, too. Each time I prayed, my heart softened toward Dave. I discovered the truth that you cannot pray for someone and remain angry. God works on both parties. Through those disciplined prayers, the Holy Spirit taught me to release Dave to God, to trust him to do his work in Dave and me. I severed the apron strings of retribution.
5. Allow your husband to be the man God created him to be.
While I knew Dave’s character pretty well when I released my desire to control him, I received the strength I desired in Dave. Funny how that works. My controlling actions stifled my husband. I’ll never forget the day I complained to God about the things Dave didn’t do and heard, “When will you let me be the Holy Spirit in Dave’s life?” Ouch. I slumped back in my chair, stopped journaling, and absorbed the Spirit’s reprimand. Snip, snip went that apron string of control. When I tried to reconnect it later that day and the next, I felt God ask me to open my hands when it came to Dave, to trust him (God) to do the work in Dave’s life as he did in mine. Instead of control, I watched and waited. It wasn’t until I let God be God and got out of the way that I saw my desires come to fruition.
When any betrayal has wounded you, your instincts might be to grab control.
Fight that urge. Read those verses about a quarrelsome wife again. Let the gentle rebuke sink into your mind.
What kind of woman do you want to be?
Pause and honestly reflect on your answer. Grab your journal and pour out your pain, fears, anxiety, and concerns to God. He’s the only one who can answer and deal with each piece.
Release your husband from your apron strings.
That’s not what you want anyway. By trusting God first, you can learn to trust your husband one step at a time.
Need help processing your pain, anger, and fear? Reach out. I promise to listen and help you move toward God first to find your safe ground.