What’s the Greatest Sin that Wrecks Relationships?

Judgment Free Zone

Sin is a topic that Christians love to debate. Everyone seems to have an opinion on sin. Is one sin worse than another? Are all sins equal? How will God hold us accountable for our sins when we get to heaven? How should sin be punished? Who should be the punisher? The list of “sinful” questions goes on and on?

I’ll admit two things about sin: (1) I have as many opinions on sin as you do, and (2) I also believe I’m probably dead-wrong about my opinions. Why? Because I believe that our human minds can’t comprehend the fullness of God, the dimensions of His universe, and the depth of His views on sin. We can’t escape sin, but we can do our best to identify it and understand how it shapes our worldview and impacts our relationships. Only then can we choose to do something about our sin.

Sin That Unravels Relationships

What’s the greatest sin that prevents or unravels connection with others? After much thought, I believe it’s the sin of Judgment. Sure, many things can undermine relationships such as one person cheating or abusing another. Most people would easily agree that these extreme behaviors are sins. However, your connection with your mother, father, siblings, children, co-workers, spouse, and friends are likely on a continuum of closeness dependent on the number and quality of your interactions.

What’s happening when you feel more or less connected? I’d suggest you feel closest when you feel accepted, regardless of whether the other person agrees with you and that you feel more distant when you feel judged. Judgment causes separation.

Judgment

How easy would it be for you not to judge someone? Difficult? We judge everything from (1) what people wear, (2) the tattoos, piercings, and education they have, (3) how they speak and the words they use, and (4) what type of car they drive, house they live in, and what job they hold. These are just a few areas of judgment. How often do you find yourself making unsolicited suggestions in how someone should change for the better? Even if you don’t say it, how often do you think it? Despite your honorable intentions, I bet he or she felt judged. The result? Likely more emotional distance between the two of you.

Can you accept someone without agreeing with them? Suspending judgment means you will still love and accept the person and be appropriately helpful even when you don’t agree with their opinions, decisions, and behaviors. I’m not referring to extremes, where severe personal boundaries and protection are needed, but in your typical relationships.

How to Get the Plank Out of Your Eye

If you want to grow closer to someone in your life, think about how the sin of your judgment is interfering with your relationship. Will you love and accept someone without judging them? One of my favorite Scriptures:

“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5, NIV).

I keep this Scripture in the forefront of my mind, because I wrestle with this very sin more than any other. My husband even has permission to quote me that verse when he sees the judgment coming out, and he has said it a few times. All of us need a little reminding at least every once in a while.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, finances, and ministry. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her at www.shinecrossingsministry.com

 

 

 

Marriage Leadership: How Husbands Can Step into Their Leadership Role

husband leadership 2

Is there a leadership epidemic going on in American marriages? My heart breaks for the number of wives who are calling me for marriage coaching only a couple of years after saying, “I do.” They now wish they could undo it with “I don’t, at least not anymore.” In what feels like their last hope, they are reaching out for help.

Quite frankly men break out in a cold sweat when they hear, “We need to go to marriage coaching,” because they confuse it with the dreaded word “counseling.” I can’t tell you the number of reluctant men who become avid marriage coaching supporters. Professional athletes have coaches, so why shouldn’t couples have a marriage coach to work toward a best-in-class marriage.

Although it’s never just one thing that causes marriage strive, a major underpinning I see in my practice is the husband who shuns his leadership responsibilities or lacks the self-confidence to lead. Wives are not only frustrated when their husbands don’t lead, they resent having to pick up the slack and take on their husband’s leadership role. How can couples right-side poor marriage leadership?

INITIAL STEPS A COUPLE CAN TAKE TO CHANGE DIRECTION

(1) Initiate an honest conversation about leadership in the home

A wife should share with her husband what she believes her husband is doing well in leading her and the family. She should be specific in calling out measurable behaviors. Then a wife should share how her husband could lead her better. She might suggest initiating daily prayer as a couple, setting financial goals, and living on a budget that will achieve a future vision.

(2) Create a vision and mission for your marriage

Companies have visions and missions, so they know their purpose and the direction the leadership is taking the team. What’s good for business is also good for marriages. A marriage should also have a vision, mission, and a strategic plan that achieves them. Husbands gain leadership points when they initiate conversations with their wives to dream and develop a marriage vision and mission together.

(3) Rely on God’s Word for wisdom and discernment

I haven’t met a wife yet who doesn’t want a husband who relies on God and Biblical principles to lead his family in planning and decision-making. She may not always agree with his decisions, but a wife, more than not, will support her husband’s decisions, when she knows he’s not making decisions for his own selfish pleasures. Words of advice for husbands—take your family to church, join Bible studies, serve others, pray together, and embrace servant leadership principles. Your wife will love you for it!


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, and financial 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 www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

Why Some Wives Dominate and Their Husbands Submit


(Part 2 of a 2-Part Series)


Happy-Married-Couple


Relationships are complicated, and marriages can feel like a mystery that’s difficult to solve. Both husbands and wives can behave in ways that unintentionally undermine their marriages. The first part of this series examined what wives needed from their husbands, why husbands fail to lead, and why then wives take on the primary leadership role. This second part explores why women pick submissive men and why certain men choose dominant women.

Why Some Women Pick Passive Husbands

In some cases, women have a dominant personality that is reflected in all her relationships including her marriage. Picking a submissive husband allows a wife to continue acting comfortably on her natural tendencies. Unfortunately, what at first appears as a mutually agreed upon distribution of control ends up with the women disrespecting her man, because a wife has difficulty respecting a husband whom she can control.

A women’s dominate nature within the marriage can also be modeled from childhood. A wife, whose mother wore “the pants” in the family, at least subtly internalized that the wife leads the family. As is more frequent during these times of divorce, a girl who was raised in a single working mom home is likely conditioned to be the head of household and bring those expectations into her own marriage.

Some women have a fear of being controlled. If a wife experienced trauma or abuse as a child and makes a vow to never be in that type of relationship, she is likely to pick a passive husband whom she can control.  Her fear of being controlled manifests in her being the controller.

Why Men Sometimes Pick Dominant Women

In my premarital and marriage coaching practice, I encounter couples where the husband’s passivity in the relationship causes stress with his wife. Similar to the dominant wife, a passive husband may naturally have a passive personality preference or this behavior could have been mis-modeled by his parents.

However, one of the more common reasons why men fail to lead is because they don’t know how. They haven’t practiced it. Their parents over-nurtured them, and these sons are just continuing these submissive behaviors into their marriages. In some ways, these men were dominated by their parents—not allowed to grow in their responsibilities and express themselves without parental influence. Submissive men were likely not allowed to make decisions and live with the consequences. Likely they were rescued when outcomes weren’t favorable.

When boys reach adulthood without adequate leadership experiences and training, they typically gravitate toward living out childhood behaviors as opposed to taking on adult roles. These non-leadership behaviors are more comfortable.

Change Your Marriage by Meeting Your Husband’s Needs

If you’re a dominant wife married to a passive husband, you can change the dynamics of your marriage. Your marriage is under your control. Evans (2012) suggests that wives allow their husbands to fail. Failure is part of the learning process. In response, pray for him and treat him better than he deserves. Praise him for trying. A husband will rise to a women’s level of praise and honor.

As leadership is rebalanced within the marriage, husbands and wives can then focus on meeting each other’s primary marriage needs. Most men have a need for sex and recreational companionship. They want to be buddies with their wife. On the other hand, wives value affection and intimate conversation from their husband. Both spouses need to strive in meeting each other’s needs to create a purposeful and spiritually led marriage.

Reference

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 www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

Marriage is Like an Iceberg

Sandra Dillon: May 15, 2018


iceberg


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 www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

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 www.shinecrossingsministry.com 

 

Are You a Wife Who Unintentionally Undermines Her Marriage?

Part 1 of a 2-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.

Reference

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 www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

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 www.shinecrossingsministry.com. If you’d like to engage Sandra as your coach or ask a question, you can send a message to shinecrossings@gmail.com

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 www.shinecrossingsministry.com. If you would like to engage Sandra as your coach or ask a question, you can send her a message to shinecrossings@gmail.com

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.

Reference

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 www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

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.

Reference

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 www.shinecrossingsministry.com.