Marriage is Like an Iceberg

Sandra Dillon: May 15, 2018


I’ve often heard people say, “I wish I had a marriage like so-and-so’s.” What they really mean is that they want what appears to the marriage of the other couple. They fail to realize that marriage is like an iceberg—only 10-20% of it floats above the surface with 80-90% of it living hidden from view. What a married couple shows to the world about their marriage is usually just a small percentage of the relationship, and it’s usually the “good” stuff.

As a marriage coach I’ve seen both—great marriages that are consistent both inside and outside the home and those which appear ideal to the world and are “hot messes” at home. What are the differences between good marriages and ones that need improvement? What needs to reside beneath the surface for a truly successful marriage? In my practice, I find thriving marriages usually have one or both spouses intentionally adopting more of the “successful” attitudes and behaviors and shedding the “struggling” ones.

Successful Marriages Have… Struggling Marriages Have…
Self-sacrifice Selfishness
Optimism Negativity
Gratitude Ungratefulness
Shared core values Opposing core values
Trust Distrust
Vision and mission Lack of vision and purpose
Meeting spouse’s needs Ignoring spouse’s needs
Vulnerable Closed off
Shared goals Competing goals

If you’re married or engaged, I encourage you to review the list of “marriage haves” and rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on how well you stand today on the “successful” side. Then take one small step by selecting 2 or 3 of these behaviors and attitudes to work on. Get specific on what this change would look like in action, so you can measure improvement.

I hope you won’t be envious of other marriages and focus only on your own. Refrain from comparing your marriage to others, just get to work on yours. You don’t need one more vacation, a new job, or more money to have a better marriage. You only need you, the right attitude, and the right behaviors.

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

My Tribute to Motherhood

Sandra Dillon: May 14, 2018

I’m blessed to be both a daughter and mother, and hopefully, when the time is right a grandmother. Sandwiched between two great women—my mom and daughter—I love these two awesome women who are alike as they are different from me. We are connected by our similarities and at the same time wonderfully unique. Regardless whether we agree or would make the same life choices, I can honestly say that they are both my heroes.

My mom was my first hero, although I didn’t identified her as such until I was myself a young adult. The significance of her sacrifices made during my first 18 years of life where magnified when you consider that my father left our family when I was 6 years old. In 1967, my mom was left to take full responsibility for my brother and me. Although it was only 50 years ago, divorce had a stigma and women were still considered property in some states.

Without practical skills, a college education, and receiving only sporadic child support, my mother did everything possible to keep us safe and off welfare. When most single working moms were Democrats, my mother was a Republican, who believed everyone had a personal responsibility to provide for themselves and their family. She instilled the values which led my brother to become a reputable home builder and myself to be an engineer, business woman, and now leadership coach.

Every day I am in awe of the world my mom had to navigate with two small children. I appreciate every opportunity she gave me and how she supported me even during difficult times. She always believed in me when at times I wasn’t sure of myself. My mom is an incredibly strong woman who gets tough when the tough gets going. She’s a survivor, hard worker, creator, and problem-solver. I may not choose the bold colors and bling that my mother fashionably wears around town, and she may not have my technically sharp mind, but we share a zest for life, an incredibly strong work ethic, and a never give up attitude.

These enduring qualities have been passed down to my daughter, my second hero, although she has created a life that is different and very much her own. She has a love for animals that sometimes rivals her love of people. When I asked her at 6 years old what she wanted to be when she grew up, she unwaveringly replied she wanted to be a seal trainer and have 10 dogs, 10 cats, and 10 kids. At 23 years old, she is a certified vet tech, board member of a dog rescue, cross country pet transporter, has 1 cat and 4 dogs, and fosters at least 3 additional dogs. Kids? I’m not convinced I’ll be a grandmother, but I’m certain she’ll have at least 10 acres of land in Colorado for those 10 dogs, 10 cats, and 10 fosters. And if not, she’ll have you believing you need to with her creative and compelling storytelling.

Her heart is huge for those who can’t do for themselves and has little patience for those who choose otherwise. She’s one of the most self-sacrificing women I know and will go without if it means saving one more homeless pet. Her work ethnic inspires me, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by those she works and serves alongside. I’m proud to call her my daughter.

My mother, daughter, and I are connected by blood, a shared bond of ethics, and the belief that anything worth doing requires our best efforts. We are spread across the country in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Texas, and it seems like forever since we shared time together. Although this Mother’s Day we will celebrate our relationship quietly in our own state, we will have our tribute to motherhood later this year when we spend a week together with no agenda other than to celebrate each other.

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

Failure Is a Must for a Good Life Story

Sandra Dillon: May 13, 2018

Story to tell 1We should all have at least one great story to tell, and it is the story of our life. And if we want to make ours worth a read, it must have certain elements.

A good story has a theme that helps the reader learn something about his own life through the penned words of the writer. All memorable stories have a character that struggles with internal feelings or needs or a conflict which may or may not be a result of his own doing. The important part of the plot is the character must win or lose at least partially by his own initiative and choices as opposed to being rescued.

Why am I sharing the structure of a great story? Because we’ve entered a time when failure isn’t a socially acceptable option, and parents will go to great lengths with their time, money, and excuses to ensure their children don’t fail. In my opinion, these parents are robbing their children of a full life—experiences of personal growth and the telling of a good life story.

To ensure we’re talking the same language, let’s define failure. Failure can be driving hard for something never achieved or never working hard enough to achieve anything of personal significance. Failure can be not having the right priorities and living with the outcome. In the worse scenarios, failure can mean choosing selfish behaviors that result in harm to others. You may have other definitions, but these capture some common ones.

Who doesn’t like a good story where somebody struggles and overcomes failure or a series of failures? I don’t know one good story where someone has been rescued when he should have rescued himself. Parents should allow their children to (1) live with the consequences of their choices and (2) live their own life and not the plan parents dream for their children.

My encouragement to parents is to suspend any helicoptering parenting that clears obstacles in the path of their children or rescues them from their poor choices. Instead, pray for your children as you let them fail while they figure out life, and with faith you will likely see them flourish as they learn first-hand from their mistakes. Perhaps their story will be so compelling, it will find its way onto the New York Times best selling non-fiction list.

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

The Best of the 2018 XO Marriage Tour

Sandra Dillon: April 26, 2018

Love MarriageWhen 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 3-Part Series

Sandra Dillon: April 20, 2018

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

Marriage: How Husbands Can Grow Their Leadership

(Part 3 in a 3-Part Series)

Sandra Dillon: February 25, 2018

husband leadership 1

Leadership Starts at Home

A man wants to be respected by a wife who also encourages him as he steps out in leadership. A wife wants a stronger leader who rules with a soft heart and provides for her basic needs of security, affection, communication, and leadership (Evans, 2012). When asked, most women say they wished their husbands were stronger leaders of their families. Marriage: Why Wives Need Husbands Who Lead and Marriage: Why Some Husbands Fail to Lead, shed light on the importance of leadership and the underlying dynamics that result in poor leadership.

Now more than ever, wives and children need strong leadership from their husbands and fathers. Society and new cultural norms are heavily influencing families’ health and stability as well as redefining leadership in ways that are deviating from God’s truth and what wives need. For men dedicated to grow their leadership on the home front, there are several steps they can take to move the leadership needle farther right.

Steps Husbands Can Take to Increase Their Leadership

Depending on where a husband’s abilities reside on the leadership continuum and the strongholds that are affecting his leadership, he may need to make changes in several areas. From my experience, many husbands struggle with putting pride aside their pride and admitting they need to work on leadership.  However, growth in a husband’s leadership not only benefits his family but also the husband realizes greater self-control and self-confidence that come with his new-found leadership behaviors.

If you are a husband open to improving your leadership, you may consider the following:

  1. Be open in how you define leadership—research, discuss, and pray about it. The world communicates one way, but is it God’s way?
  2. Get real with your leadership style—ask your wife and trusted friends how they’d describe your leadership style. Humans are poor judges of their own behaviors, because they evaluate them through their own filters/lenses.
  3. Seek help to heal past hurts that interfere with your leadership—consider therapy if needed. It’s difficult to grow and move forward when an emotional wound needs immediate attention.
  4. Recognize the problems within your family—every family is dysfunctional; it’s only a matter of degree. What dysfunctions are attributable to your existing leadership behaviors and decisions?
  5. Take responsibility for your behaviorapologize—say you’re sorry when you’re wrong as it shows strength not weakness. Everyone makes mistakes and needs to be accountable.
  6. Get vulnerable with your wife—talk openly and honestly with your life partner. Share your struggles and challenges. Ask your wife for support in ways that are helpful for you.
  7. Forgive people—lead with a soft heart.
  8. Pray—seek God’s guidance for wisdom, truth, and discernment.
  9. Seek feedback after making leadership changes—leadership improvement only counts when others see and feel the change.
  10. Get a coach—define and work toward goals and behaviors that increase leadership. Everyone may not need a therapist, but everyone can benefit from a coach.

Evans (2012) says the best leaders are husbands, who put their wives above all else, communicate admiration, love, are faithful, show non-sexual affection, and are dedicated to provide for their families. Without a doubt, wives appreciate husbands who are vulnerable and committed to work on leadership by putting words into action.


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

Marriage: Why Some Husbands Fail to Lead

(Part 2 in a 3-Part Series)

Sandra Dillon: February 19, 2018

Husband leading wifeIn Marriage: Why Wives Need Husbands Who Lead, the article explained why it’s necessary for husbands to be servant leaders in their marriages. Sadly, society’s messages and the impact of broken families have conspired to undermine men’s confidence and ability to lead well. Boys don’t have biological and spiritual fathers in their homes, who can show them how to become successful leaders as they journey into manhood. Even when a man acknowledges he should lead better, many still struggle with how to step into these behaviors. Evans (2012) brings insight into the underlying contributors to the four types of damaging leadership styles that are playing out in today’s marriages.

Damaging Leadership Styles

Evans (2012) describes four major types of “destructive” husbands—referring to one who knowingly or unknowingly destroys his marriage by how he leads his wife and family. Characteristics of each type are:

  1. Dominant: pride overrules humility; control-driven; rules over versus rules with; dominates into oppression
  2. Passive: wears the uniform but won’t do the dirty work; no accountability; sulks or withdraws when he doesn’t get his way
  3. Immoral: lusts for other women; sexual promiscuity in mind, body, and spirit
  4. Distracted: ruled by busyness and selfish pursuits; focuses on job, hobby, recreation over family; unhealthy priorities

Damaging Leadership Causes

Evans (2012) also discusses several potential underlying causes that create men with damaging leadership styles. Hopefully, the following insights will bring awareness and discussion about the sources and behaviors that result in unhealthy leadership. I appreciate the leadership role that men were designed to hold and want women to receive the blessing of security that leadership brings. My hope is that once a couple understands the forces that impact a husband’s leadership style, he’ll make changes to put the couple on the path to a dream marriage.

Dominant Leadership Style

Some husbands who dominate their wives may have been under-nurtured as a boy or had detached parents—having never received words of encouragement or the attention and affection he needed. He’s not able to give what he doesn’t have.

Another reason may be mis-modeling by a boy’s parents during his formative years, where he’s carrying dominant behaviors forward into the next generation.  His behaviors reflect his desire to master control over people and his world.

Dominance can also be sourced from insecurity. Without a father in the home as a child, a boy doesn’t learn how to love and respect a woman or know how to develop a healthy relationship.

In some cases, the husband simply has a dominant personality temperament. In all cases, a dominant husband focuses on control versus serving his wife.

Passive Leadership Style

Converse to the dominant leader, a passive husband can mature out of a boyhood journey where he was over-led or over-nurtured by his parents. Because his parents made too many of his decisions and over-controlled his behaviors, he never learned to do for himself or developed appropriate self-control.

Like the plight of dominants, passive husbands may have also suffered from parental mis-modeling or been born with a passive temperament.

Interpretation of the women’s movement has also intimidated some men. Chastised for certain views and behaviors, they are reluctant to assert themselves and choose to do nothing versus do the wrong thing.

In some cases, passive husbands may just be lazy. Initially, they seem sweet and accommodating, but later they drive their spouses crazy as these wives are forced into picking up the slack.

Immoral Leadership Style

Pornography has gripped the minds, spirits, and finances of an untold number of men. Some of this immoral behavior can be rooted in rejection by a man’s parents. When boys are deprived from physical affection during boyhood, they can easily develop a stronger appetite for physical contact than normal.

Pornography taps into men’s heightened responsiveness to visual stimulation. Sadly, when a husband has an interest in pornography, many wives feel devalued. These women express feeling “not enough” for their husbands.

Distracted Leadership Style

A distracted husband is too busy with his own interests to make his wife and family a priority. “Performance motivation” may be the source of this distraction, where a man only felt love and approval by his parents when he performed.

A second cause may just be greed. He justifies his behavior under the disguise of working hard to provide the family, when in truth, the husband is starving them of attention.

In some case, a distracted leadership style is simply an expression of distorted values and thinking—believing wives and families are extensions of their work and lives.

Some husbands are distracted due to unresolved conflict within the marriage. In these situations, men typically turn their attention to work where they get recognition, appreciation, respect, and admiration.

Do You Identify with One of These Leadership Styles?

People are generally challenged to see themselves as others see them, so it’s unlikely that a husband would read this and identify with one of these leadership styles. If your marriage is not a dream marriage, I would seriously consider whether one of these leadership types are at work within your relationship. You may get more insight by asking your spouse:

  1. How would you describe our marriage?
  2. What characteristics and behaviors do you appreciate most in me?
  3. What characteristics and behaviors do you wish I would change?
  4. What would change look like in action?

Answers to these questions will hopefully bring greater understanding and stimulate the conversation to find ways in working toward a healthier marriage.

Next Up in the Series

Women want to be led—led in the right way. Leadership is a complex subject, and hopefully, this article provides insights into why some men don’t lead as well as they should. Regardless of the contributing factors to poor leadership, men are not absolved from the responsibility of leading well. In the final part of this three-part series, we will explore “How men can change and learn to lead well.”

For those readers who may be wondering whether there’s help for destructive wives—ones who refuse to be led by their husbands.  The answer is yes and that is another series.


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

Life Coaching: What to Look for in a Coach?

Sandra Dillon: February 15, 2018

Coaching Profession

Coaching has become one of the fastest growing professions, expanding beyond the ranks of sports to include life, executive, wellness, and leadership to name a few life coachspecialties. Brick-and-mortar as well as online schools are popping up and offering training and certification with a small investment of time and several thousands of dollars. These schools advertise they can teach you how to coach and build a client portfolio delivering a 6-figured salary. I’ve yet to find anything sustainable that does not require time, patience, and hard work. Without a doubt coaching can be transformational, and the responsibility lies with the client to vet a coach to find the best fit.

What I Would Look for in a Coach

Coaching helps people define and meet their goals, and coaches help clients get results. Coaches typically market themselves with certifications, degrees, and diplomas, yet a coach’s education is only one aspect of creating a successful coaching relationship. Other factors someone should consider before choosing a coach include:

  • Degree/Training/Certification: Does the coach have some form of training, formal education, or certification? Master’s degrees are available from colleges and universities. If selecting a coach based on his training, make sure he graduated from a program endorsed by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
  • Length of Experience: Many coaches hang their shingle up on a part-time basis, because it takes time to build a practice. They still have full time jobs to pay their bills, so when a coach advertises he has coached for 3 years, ask more questions regarding the amount of time he’s invested in coaching.
  • Type of Experience: Although coaching uses a general set of tools and processes, a coach who has practical experience in a specific field brings added value into that area of coaching. They’ll be able to offer suggestions if a client becomes stuck on how to navigate toward his goals.
  • Recommendations: Can the coach provide recommendations from satisfied clients? If coaching is primarily individual-based, recommendations may be more difficult to secure as clients don’t want to reveal they are coached. With business coaching, companies are usually more forthcoming with recommendations.
  • Business Legitimacy: Is the coach coaching as a hobby or business? Does the coach have a social media presence (business website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook Page)? What does it say about them? Although there are many talented coaches who approach coaching as a hobby, clients should be comfortable with the cost/reward structure.
  • Connection: Don’t underestimate the value of the coaching relationship. A coach can have all the right tools, processes, and background experience on a subject and be limited in what he can do for the client because of personality fit and connection. Liking, respecting, feeling comfortable, and being inspired by your coach is very important.

How I work with Clients as a Coach

As a Life & Leadership Coach, I approach my clients holistically because humans are multi-dimensional. Although a client may come to me to work on one specific issue such as transitioning careers, changing jobs, and learning teamwork skills to name a few, we explore what is happening in each area of my client’s life. As an example, if we’re going to work on changing careers, I need to know about his/her marriage. Why? Because we need to understand how the spouse will either support or challenge my client’s ability to change careers. Since I have a broad knowledge and experience base, I routinely coach on relationships, marriage, finances, career, jobs, business management, and time management.

I typically offer a free 30-minute call, so I can (1) answer any questions about myself, (2) understand what you are seeking from coaching, and (3) recommend how I think I can help you. During the call, you learn (1) how the coaching process works, (2) whether you are comfortable with me as a coach, (3) have any coaching questions answered, and (4) whether the fee/schedule fits.

During the first session, we typically review your Wheel of Life Assessment to understand how satisfied you are with each life dimension and how they affect each other. You then prioritize where you want to initiate improvement. Most coaches are trained not to advise and only ask open-ended questions so their clients can figure out what they want to do. In my coaching practice, I wholeheartedly drive on questions but find that clients at times need my support with brainstorming options and solutions. They also need help vetting these options against their standards and discussing approaches to get over obstacles.

Next Steps

I highly encourage people to consider coaching in an area of life that they’re struggling through. Coaching can be a powerful tool as just about any athlete can attest to.  The most difficult part is finding a talented coach you click with that can help you achieve your goals.

 [Note: The opinions and views of this article are of the author’s own and do not reflect those of any coaching organization or other professional coaches.]

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