Q. How can I control my childish wife?
A. It is not our job as husbands to control our wives, but to love them unconditionally and sacrificially. This includes loving them––and showing love to them––regardless of what we perceive their faults to be. God is the One who should be in control of our lives and marriages. Although God commands our wives to respect us as husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24), He does not give us the authority to be “controlling” over our wives––as is mentioned in your question.
You cannot control her reactions, responses, and attitude; you can only control your own. The Holy Spirit is the only one that can convict her of her “childish” ways. You cannot and should not. If you try to convict her––or confront her in an unloving manner––she will probably resent you. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict her heart to change, and also pray that God will give you the strength and patience (Colossians 3:19) to love her unconditionally, whether she changes or not (Ephesians 5:25).
I would encourage both of you to seek Christian marriage counseling. I hope you are part of a church family with some wise and discerning married couples to whom you could both (or at least you) go for advice. Also, hopefully you are in a church family where your wife could form strong relationships with godly women who could be a positive influence on her. Most likely, she would listen to their words with an open heart before she would listen to you. Do not, however, try to take matters into your own hands by telling these women about your wife––trust God to take care of this in His time. You can also form strong relationships with godly men who can be a positive influence for you, and who will encourage you to love your wife the way Christ wants you to love her (Ephesians 5:25-27).
I would recommend you do special things for your wife to demonstrate your love for her. You could make her dinner, buy her flowers, or do things around the house that are usually left for her to take care of. She may not acknowledge them, or appreciate them, but you will be showing obedience to God, regardless, by loving your wife as He commands. As men, we have a great tendency to want to “fix” things, but as Christians, we need to leave the fixing up to God and wait patiently on Him.
I also recommend seeing the movie “Fireproof,” which is about a man who gives his life to God, and in the process changes the direction of his unloving, broken marriage.
– Adam Grimenstein