The Best of the 2018 XO Marriage Tour

Love Marriage

When did you last spend a day investing in your marriage? MarriageToday made it easy when it brought the XO Marriage Tour to Houston. If you didn’t attend, below are some key messages gleaned from marriage speakers Jimmy Evans, Dave and Ashley Willis, and Garrett and Andrea Booth:

  • Although God can only fulfill our most basic human needs for identity and purpose, marriage only works when spouses serve each other by trying to meet each other’s relationship needs.
  • Men look to their wives to fulfill their top needs of honor/respect, sex, friendship, and home support. Wives typically need their husbands to provide security (physical and financial), non-sexual touching, open/honest communication, and leadership.
  • Pride and partner domination typically interfere with a servant spirit and reflect a lack of respect. Spouses who dominate their partner don’t respect their better half, and vice versa. Dominant spouses need to stand down more and dominated spouses need to assert themselves. Why change? The health of children is at stake. The least mentally and emotionally healthy children are raised in female-dominated homes followed by male-dominated. The best marriages reflect loving leadership expressed in equal partnership with the husband getting an extra 1% when the situation warrants.
  • Spouse should refrain from criticizing their personality differences but instead celebrate how they expand their capabilities and influence. When differences require resolution, spouses must feel safe in the relationship to express their views without paying a price.
  • Over 85% of marriages end in divorce based on non-serious reasons such as disappointment in how spouses “feel” about the other. Emotions can feel right but be wrong. Spouses who make decisions independent of their emotions usually have the most satisfying marriages.
  • In marriage, two become one. Therefore, spouses should be naked (vulnerable) with each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Some marriages experience the F5 Marriage Tornado which starts with (1) frustration and escalates to (2) false assumptions, (3) fighting, (4) fatigue, and eventually (5) fantasizing. These steps lead to a feeling of hopelessness about the marriage.
  • The F5 Marriage Peace Plan is the strategic tool to battle the F5 Marriage Tornado. The plan starts with a couple sitting in (1) frustration, but who take intentional steps toward (2) forgiveness, (3) fixing thoughts on the positive, (4) focusing on God’s promises, and finally culminating with (5) finding peace.
  • Spouses should ask themselves whether they are a thermometer or thermostat in their marriage. Are they measuring the temperature of their marriage or controlling the output? Spouses should strive to be a thermostat.
  • The best marriages build something together and thrive under a marriage vision. A vision answers the question of why God put a husband and wife together. When spouses have a marriage vision, they (1) share goals and know where they’re going, (2) share the effort, (3) make decisions easier, (4) share successes, and (5) realize God’s blessing and provision. Marriage visions may adjust with major life events such as a change in health, jobs, and children’s life stages.
  • The key steps in undertaking a marriage vision is to get prepared, get away, and get real with each other. Definite signs that spouses need a vision are (1) marriage conflict, (2) feeling disconnected from each other, and (3) unresolved financial pressures.

There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage, but you can certainly achieve a happy, harmonious, and purposeful marriage. I hope that you are living out many of these concepts. If not, ask me how I can help get you started on the journey toward a more fulfilling marriage.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at 


Are You a Wife Who Unintentionally Undermines Her Marriage?

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

If you’re a wife, I applaud you for reading past the title. It’s difficult for any woman to believe she is undermining her marriage, even if unintentionally. In fact, a spouse is likely to name the other as the major contributor to any discontent in the marriage. What is the truth? Spouses influence each other by what they do and how they react to one another—they are both responsible and accountable.

As described in Marriage: Why Some Husbands Fail to Lead, some men unknowingly sabotage their marriages by failing to lead. A woman has a deep-felt need to be led by an honorable husband who is meeting her needs, and yet marriage is not a one-way street of getting and not giving. Regardless of a husband’s behaviors, a wife also contributes to the success of the marriage by her decisions and behaviors. Read on if you’re a woman who wants to:

  • Learn how wives become injurious to their marriages
  • Determine whether you are behaving destructively
  • Understand why you might choose damaging behaviors
  • Change your marriage by meeting your husband’s needs

Why Women Are Unhappy in Their Marriages

Men are struggling with leadership, which is putting pressure on women to take on more responsibility. Although many women derive personal reward and satisfaction from their jobs and careers, many wives and mothers would prefer not to have the additional burden of bringing home a paycheck. They want working-outside-the-home to be an option which they can rightly prioritize after wife and mother.

I encounter women who are run ragged as they are take on the combined responsibilities of childcare, home care, and a full-time job to make ends meet or perhaps because their husband is un- or under-employed. In a worst-case scenario, some husbands have given up on work and forced their wives into the role of bread winner.

Evans (2012) says women have a natural desire to be provided for by their husbands. Most women resent being forced to make money or lead their household when they have a husband. When wives are not led well, it takes a significant toll on the family. Women, whether they realize or admit it, are usually frustrated and angry for having to take on the male leadership role.

Why Husbands Fail to Lead Their Wives

More men are abandoning their leadership role. Many don’t know what true leadership looks like, because it was never modeled by their fathers who were weren’t skilled at leadership or absent from the home. Therefore, we have a society of women behaving like male leaders of their families and propagating the de-masculinity of their husbands.

My intention is not to beat up husbands and wives but to bring awareness to the dynamics that are likely playing out. Before sustainable change can occur, spouses must understand what they are battling.

What do Wives Need from Their Husbands?

You’ve probably heard that women are complex and men are simple. I would argue that women are also easy to understand, if a husband can accept his wife’s needs are quite different than his. What do women in general need from their husbands? First, and foremost, Evans (2012) states women want (1) security, (2) affection, (3) open communication, and (4) leadership. What is the most common compliant expressed in marriage counseling? Lack of leadership.

Are You an Undermining Wife?

When women take on leadership roles that husbands are designed to fulfill, they unknowingly start a downward emotional spiral in their marriage. The more women take on, the more husbands let them, and eventually the angrier wives become for having to take on more.  The cycle continues until many spouses are sleeping in separate bedrooms or divorcing. Wives need to understand that they can’t do for their husband what their husband needs to do for their families. By taking on their husband’s leadership role, it only serves to weaken their men. Essentially, women are self-sabotaging their own marriages out of fear of failure.

Are you unintentionally undermining your marriage? Answer the following questions to find out whether reverse leadership may be wreaking havoc in your marriage. If you find yourself hesitating with a firm answer, you may be on the slippery side toward what you don’t want to admit is true in your marriage.

  1. Do you find yourself arguing for control over things going on in your home?
  2. Do you worry that your husband or children will fail?
  3. Do you use frequency of sex to control your husband’s behavior?
  4. Do you refuse sex to get back at your husband for not meeting your needs?
  5. Do you find yourself the only spouse worrying about money or a significant family issue?
  6. Do you sometimes find yourself sneaking behind your husband’s back to do what you think is best because your husband wouldn’t agree?
  7. Do you placate your husband by saying you will do something when you have no intention of carrying through with it?
  8. Do you resent your husband for not working harder or providing more financially?
  9. Do you resent your husband for not contributing more to the household and childcare?
  10. Do you resent having to work outside the home?
  11. Do you wish you could stay home and raise your kids versus feeling pressured to work?
  12. Are you disappointed with how your husband interacts, or lack thereof, with your children?
  13. Do you correct your husband in front of your children?
  14. Do you criticize your husband in front of family and friends?
  15. Do you wish you husband would plan some date nights or family outings, so you didn’t have to?

If you answered “yes” to more than half of these questions, I would pause and reflect on what behaviors you led with that eventually had your husband withdraw from his leadership responsibilities.

Next Steps

When marriage leadership is out of balance, spouses respond with coping strategies, yet over the long-term come to resent their spouse’s behaviors. In many cases, the balance leans toward women becoming more dominant and husbands more passive. Husbands usually claim they get little respect from their wife, and her compliant is that she feels like she has an adult child to take care of. Does this ring true in your marriage?  If so, stay tuned for the next part in the series that discusses why some women choose passive men and why passive men choose dominating wives.


Evans, J. (2012) Marriage on the Rock: God’s Design for Your Dream Marriage. Dallas, TX: MarriageToday

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at

How Can I Get That Loving Feeling Back?

Sandra The Peoples Coach Rev 1

Client Question

I’ve only been married for 2 years and feel like I’m falling out of love with my husband. We don’t have major disagreements, but his personal habits are really annoying me.  I like to plan things in advance while he leaves everything to the last minute. He wants to go out all the time when I want some quiet evenings at home with just the two of us. Do you have any advice on what we can do, so I don’t fall further out of love with my husband?

Sandra’s Response

The feelings you describe are not uncommon in the early years of marriage. When dating, it is true, opposites attract! When the “love” chemicals fade sometime between 6 months and 3 years, the differences in your personalities become more noticeable and can become annoying.

If you want to change the course of where your feelings are headed, you’ll have to change your mindset which includes how you view these differences and define “love.” Many people associate love with feelings, but I would challenge you to think of love as a verb. Love is a choice in how you will act toward and respond to your husband.

Can you think of your husband’s habits as potential strengths to your relationship? As an example, without your husband’s push to get you out of the house, you might find yourself ignoring friends and missing out on new, fun experiences. Leaving decisions for later rather than sooner may lead to better results as more information becomes available.

Although you still need to share your needs and find compromise, viewing your husband’s habits as strengthens may help you have stronger positive feelings for him and your marriage. Consider dividing and assigning responsibilities that naturally suit each other’s strengths.

Anything worth having takes hard work, and marriage is no exception. A great marriage requires spouses to show vulnerability, ask for what they need, and compromise. Staying “in love” requires sacrifice and appreciating the differences that each brings to the marriage.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and life coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at If you’d like to engage Sandra as your coach or ask a question, you can send a message to

How Fast Can Marriage Trust Be Rebuilt?

Sandra The Peoples Coach Rev 1

Client Question

My husband is putting pressure on me to trust him again, because this time he says he’s really changed. He’s only had 3 months of “good” behavior and doesn’t understand why I don’t yet trust him.  Am I being unreasonable or too cautious?

Sandra’s Response

We’re all fallible and wrestle with temptations that can lead us down a path of bad behavior to satisfy immediate pleasure. Some behaviors are one-time events while others develop into destructive patterns. Regardless of their frequency, when a man has a heart-change and begins to demonstrate trustworthy behaviors, he naturally wants family and friends to respond as if the past is the past. He wants the status that he hasn’t quite earned.

Your husband needs to understand that trust is only built over time with the right and consistent behaviors that garner trust. In my experience working with couples, the rule of thumb is it will take as long to rebuild trust as it took to destroy it.  For example, if a husband has been cheating for 2 years, it will take him at least 2 years of honorable behavior to earn trust back.

I don’t think you have unreasonable expectations based on your husband’s long history of implied prior behavior. Your husband should have more patience. If he’s truly committed to change, time will be his friend as you afford him the opportunity to rebuild your lost trust.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and life coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at If you would like to engage Sandra as your coach or ask a question, you can send her a message to