The Strong-Willed Woman

A wife who uses her strong will for her husband and her marriage is a blessing.
When our dating relationship got serious, Big Guy began to make jokes about what he referred to as the Taylor Curse: Taylor men marry strong-willed women.

Who wants to be viewed as a curse? “It isn’t the Taylor Curse,” I would say. “It’s the Taylor Blessing.”


The sad truth is that for many years, marriage to a strong-willed woman (me) was more a curse than a blessing for my husband.

My strong will exerted itself every day—against Big Guy.

The Taylor Curse was in full force, whether I admitted it or not. My strong will fought my husband constantly. He was not blessed in his marriage to me.


When our marriage began to change, it was not only because I was working on sex. It was because my heart had softened on my husband’s behalf (which was why I was working on sex in the first place).

My journey started with attention to sex. As I began to learn about God’s design for sex in marriage, I frequently encountered Bible verses that challenged me in even deeper ways than sex.

They pointed me to the shadow side of my strong will.

It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. Proverbs 21:19

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. Proverbs 25:24

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4

No, your beauty should come from within you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. 1 Peter 3:4a

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Verses like these began to convict me. I was quarrelsome and fretful in my daily interactions with Big Guy, I brought shame when I questioned him all the time, I had a harsh spirit, and there was no such thing as submission or respect in my approach to him. I was the opposite of a wife of noble character.

I was a stubborn and strong-willed woman, and these verses upset me. Is God telling me that my very character is wrong? I wondered. How on earth do I become quiet and gentle? What is respect, and how can I respect someone I don’t feel respect for? How I do learn to step back and let him do things his way sometimes, even when I know they’re wrong? 

I worried that I was supposed to become someone other than who I was—a weak-willed doormat Stepford wife. My strong will battled with this thought for two years.


As I sought God’s desire for me as a wife, my heart was growing for my husband. I began to notice how he was affected by the many ways I exerted my will against him. His responses showed that he felt frustrated, beaten down, unloved, and disrespected.

There was one area, however, where I’d stopped exerting my will in our marriage: sex. After a while, I noticed that in that one area of life, Big Guy was starting to respond in ways that showed feelings of fulfillment, confidence, love, and respect. My desire began to grow and show up in our marriage bed as I responded to these things in my husband. I was beginning to see a mutuality in our marital intimacy.

My mind began to connect the dots between what the Bible was telling me I should be doing as a wife and my husband’s state of mind. As my husband was able to let go of some of the constant tension he’d experienced due to the lack of sexual intimacy, he became more pleasant to be with outside the bedroom. This led me to be kinder to him and not feel like I constantly had to defend or protect myself emotionally.

I’d begun to live in better alignment with the Bible verses that had upset me without trying or even being aware that it was happening.

One day, Big Guy made an off-hand remark as we were talking: “It’s nice to finally feel like you’re on my side.”

Lightbulb moment! When my husband said that, I realized that I’d spent years using my strong will to oppose him, to fight against him. Now I was on his side.

I hadn’t become any less stubborn or strong-willed than I’d been before. I was still who I was, no different inside. I was not weak. I hadn’t become a doormat. I was far from a Stepford wife.

What had changed was this: I was using my strong will for my husband, not against him.

My strength was no longer just for me; it was for my marriage.


The bright and shining side of my strong will is that it helped change our marriage. The energy and persistence that once built walls now enable me to leap over them to strengthen our unity and intimacy. God has used my strong will to strengthen our marriage in ways that still surprise me.

My husband still sometimes jokes about the Taylor men and their strong-willed wives. He points out that his life is much more fulfilled than if I were a doormat.

It is no longer the Taylor Curse, though. My strong will has truly become the blessing I always said it was.

A wife who uses her strong will for her husband and her marriage is a blessing.

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8 Comments on “The Strong-Willed Woman”

  1. Strong willed or just strong? I think all humans are strong willed. We are made in the image of God who is the strongest willed. Some choose to use their will for God’s glory and some choose to use their strength to further their own agenda. He gave us a choice. Choosing to honor Him and our own husband’s takes great strength. You are a strong woman, a wife of noble character, a knowledgeable teacher and a wonderful friend.
    Thanks for another great post!

    1. I usually think of myself more as stubborn than strong-willed. It does take a strong will to abide with God rather than to go along with the flow of everything else in the world.

  2. I have often thought my will is srong, and that’s why I get so wrapped up in sin and flesh, I don’t surrender to God’s will enough. 🙂

    I, too, am that “strong-willed wife”, who used it against my husband rather than for. We are now a team that stands strong….it’s a totally different marriage.

  3. Strong-willed vs stubborn is something I’ve thought about numerous times. I think there are two answers that are both valid.

    One is that stubbornness is more a matter of rigidity, a lack of flexibility that makes no effort to understand, let alone respond to a reasonable request to bend. If a stubborn person bends, it is usually accompanied by a bad attitude (or worse) because the choice to remain rigid was somehow taken away.

    In contrast, a strong will is one that can carry on through diversity. It does not bend when important principles are at stake, but is able to listen and consider the opposing side. The strong will isn’t afraid to compromise or concede, maybe because he/she was wrong, or because of kindness . The strong will may even empathize with a person whose request is rejected (sometimes anger is appropriate IMHO).

    The second answer is that they are the same thing. I’m not just being a flake… It’s just that people often adjust their language in order to avoid discomfort or embarrassment, for themselves or others. One way we do this is with euphemisms. I think that in common usage, strong-willed is a euphemism for stubborn. So, if you are talking to your fiancé about the “Taylor Curse”, you might refer to strong-willed women because you don’t want to offend her with a harsher term that would mean the same thing.

    Naturally, using the words that way can cause some confusion if someone really wants to understand more about the actual underlying truth. But, it gets easier when you know the words get used in that way. And of course, sometimes our cultural understanding of the concepts is purely broken anyway. In that case I find it useful to read scripture, meditate, pray, and sometimes fast. The concepts that take the longest time (months/years) to sort out usually give the biggest reward. The ones that require me to examine my own motives and spirit usually fit in that category.

    1. When my husband said it, he truly meant “strong-willed” in a positive way. The full version is “Taylor men marry strong-willed women, and they raise strong-willed women.” And then he talked about the ways his mom and grandma were strong-willed. It was a great compliment, although from someone else, it easily would have been a euphemism.

  4. Ummm.. I *meant* to say that a strong will can carry on through ADVERSITY, not diversity. My brain must’ve been thinking about “divers trials” or something. Or maybe I just had some neural flatulence. 😉

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