XO 2019 Conference: Escape the Ordinary Marriage

XO

Favorite Conferences Messages

If you don’t speak the truth, you don’t have a marriage

Great marriages are great when both spouses deal with their individual baggage

 

The XO MarriageToday conference was standing room only with over 4,000 people carving out 2 days to learn about healthy marriages. Gateway Church was filled to capacity with all ages, nationalities, and faiths. Attendees ranged from singles, couples on the brink of divorce, and those hoping to hear of a new tool or strategy to help couples help themselves.

What Did You Miss?

If you didn’t know about the XO Conference or were on the long wait list to get in, you missed some pearls of marriage wisdom by a knowledgeable panel. The speakers’ openness, transparency, and stories brought a richness that can’t be replicated, so I encourage you to attend next year’s conference in Southlake, Texas. Isn’t your marriage worth it?

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Communication That Creates an Indestructible Marriage

More than 85% of couples say communication was a factor in their divorce, naturally suggesting couples need to learn how to do it better. Communication serves multiple purposes: (1) convey basic information and facts, (2) inform and transact, (3) resolve conflict, (4) create connection, (5) share personal information/revelation, and (5) conduct intimate conversation. Jimmy Evans shared the important elements in indestructible communication that support indestructible marriages:

  • Right tone: Voice affects whether a man feels respected and a woman feel secures. The right tone tells that you care.
  • Enough time: Proactive, face-to-face, and intimate conversation show that you love and appreciate your spouse. Train your kids to respect your marriage.
  • Atmosphere of trust: Trust is earned in drops and dropped in buckets. Build trust through your character, connection, and how you approach conflict.
  • Atmosphere of truth: Must be able to share yourself, have grace, and speak truth in love.

Create a team spirit by accepting differences. Adopt the attitude: I love you so much you fill in my gaps. What team are you playing on? Your own or your spouse’s?

Unpack Your Baggage

Tim Ross suggested that most couples who come for counseling think their problems and relationship are worse than most. The truth is they’re not. However, working on the marriage starts with dealing with yours and not your spouse’s baggage, because most spouses haven’t yet unpacked their own baggage.

You can’t go anywhere without baggage. You can’t go into a marriage without taking your baggage, whether it’s the size of a backpack, tote bag, suitcase, U-Haul, or van line. Great marriages are great when both spouses deal with their individual baggage. How do you do that?

  • Bring your bags: don’t avoid them, you have them, so bring them
  • Unpack your bags: don’t pick and chose what you bring out, unpack all of it
  • Sort through your stuff [not your spouse’s]: label your stuff and identify why it’s baggage
  • Put away your stuff: when it comes back up, you know where it is and can deal with it

How Has Marriage Changed Over the Years

The definition of marriage has changed over the last 25 years. Proposals and wedding ceremonies used to be simple affairs. Not anymore! Dan Lian noticed how the big focus is now the engagement and wedding and not the marriage. How big is the ring? Where and how do I propose? Is it all captured on camera? The proposal has become a theatrical event along with the wedding with little investment in marriage after the couples says, “I do.”

The design of marriage is good, because God, the designer, is good. If you do marriage God’s way, you set yourself up for success. A successful marriage is less about finding the perfect match and more about working at the marriage—working at it all the days of your life. Trust the design. It’s never too late, because The Holy Spirit is the counselor of the heart.

What Kind of Marriage Do You Have?

Joe and Lori Champion proposed that marriages can take one of two directions: problem-focused or purpose-focused. If you are married long enough, the issue is not whether you’ll have problems, but when.

Marriage is grounded in purpose. What is the purpose of your marriage and are you proclaiming the Gospel through your marriage? Do not lose your marriage by building something outside your marriage such as career or ministry. The marriage comes first over all other earthly pulls on your life. What priority does your marriage have in your life?

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Share What You’re Withholding

The real reason couples fight is because of a (1) perceived threat (control, judgment, demand, attach and critical) or (2) perceived neglect (uncaring, uncommitted, selfish, neglectful, disengaged). Les and Leslie Parrott are known for advocating for the fair fight. Fighting is the price we pay for intimacy, and fights are rooted in differences in perception. “Oh,” is the big word that signals the fight is over.

How do you have a good fight? Focus on sharing “withholds” which are things that aren’t shared. When couples don’t share negative withholds, they have a high rate of resurrecting. How do you share a withhold? First, ask permission on whether you can share a withhold. Second, when shared, the recipient cannot respond for 30 minutes. After a half hour he or she can ask to discuss further. This grace period allows the recipient to go from a react to a respond mode.

Withholds can also be positive. Couples neglect to share positive withholds because of fast-paced lifestyles. What withhold are you holding onto that should be shared with your spouse?

Marriage Expectations

Realistic Expectations + Biblical Skills = 100% Marriage Success

The number one reason for divorce is disappointment. Many people get married with false expectations with divorcing couples either naive optimists or extreme pessimists.

Marriage vows are covenant vows, yet American culture has turned marriage from a covenant—it’s worth what you pay for it—to a contract—which protects each party’s interests. Jimmy Evans encouraged all couples to count the cost before entering their covenant vows.

Three unchangeable realities of marriage are: (1) hurts from the past, (2) quirks in personality, and (3) ignorance of how marriage cures the opposite sex. Marriage is a healing journey with the wedding like the registration desk of the hospital. Every man can heal every woman and every woman can heal every man. Most wives’ hurts are from not feeling valued and they want to be nurtured and cherished.

Satan hates marriage, and spouses need to fight against this enemy. Marriage is the first foundation on whether every other relationship is built. Couples who have a firm grasp of reality, the right expectations, and a strong commitment of marriage are not threaten by significant problems. The good news? God gives us authority of the Satan.

How Naked Are You with Your Spouse?

I call it having no filters. Dave and Ashley Willis call it having a naked marriage. What are we both talking about? Being transparent and vulnerable physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The best marriages are those where both spouses can say, “I still choose you,” when everything is shared. Will you commit to working toward a naked marriage?

Fixing Your Marriage Can Be Messy

Bringing to life the story in John 9 of the blind man whose sight was restored after Jesus spread mud [dirt and spit] over his eyes, Michael Todd shared:

  • People want miracles but without the mess. Your problem is not a punishment, it’s a platform for Jesus’ power
  • Don’t let the method of release keep you from the miracle. Stand through the method of release
  • A person’s release is more important than what people think about the release. The worse part of you with the least part of Jesus can release you from what you’ve been struggling
  • Stop caring what people think of you and their opinions

Conference Thoughts: What’s Missing?

Although I love the XO conference and agree with all the principles shared, I noticed through their testimonies that the coupled speakers were all in long first marriages—15 to 30 years—and able to work through struggles to come out stronger on the other side. I haven’t yet attended a conference where a blended couple was expanding on their truth.

I view divorce not as a punishment but as a platform for the power of restoration the second time around. Darin and I had long first marriages, 22 and 15 years, respectively, before marrying each other. Through first marriages and divorces we learned about ourselves and relationships. Unfortunately, our first marriages didn’t make it, but there’s no doubt we are applying all learnings within our second marriage with the hope that some day we’ll be invited to the podium to share what it takes to have an extraordinary marriage.


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 and to create powerful and purposeful marriages. You can contact Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

 

Marriage Postcards: Words of Affirmation

When was the last time you sent your spouse a postcard? When was the last time you sent your spouse a postcard without leaving town?

Browsing around Gateway Church during a break in a marriage conference, I noticed a long table with stacks of post cards. The instructions were to pick a postcard, write a love letter to your spouse, put a stamp on it, and drop it in the mailbox.

What a simple and brilliant idea or said another way a simply brilliant idea. I encourage you to pen a few words of praise, appreciation, or affirmation to your spouse on a postcard and put it in the mail. Tell them one or two things you love about them. Postcards are a novel and simple way to show your spouse how special he or she is to you.


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 and to create powerful and purposeful marriages. You can contact Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

Sex-cess

couple-kissing

Did the title get your attention? As a marriage coach, sex and money are the two big topics that divide couples in my ministry. They are also the subjects that families rarely talk about. You can’t become knowledgeable, comfortable, and practiced on an issue when you don’t or won’t talk about it? Why do some couples avoid the topic of sex? A sampling of replies to my question: “Why don’t you talk about sex with your spouse?”

  • I’m just not comfortable. Our family never talked about sex.
  • I don’t really have much of a sex drive. If we talk about it, I’m afraid it will hurt my wife’s feelings.
  • I’m not sure. I guess we should talk more about it.
  • My husband is addicted to pornography. I’m angry at him, so why would I want to have sex with him.
  • I don’t want sex. If I avoid talking about it, I’ll feel less pressure to have sex.
  • I’m afraid to tell my husband what I really want because of what he’ll think of me.
  • I’ve faked too many orgasms that I’m afraid to tell my husband the truth. He’ll think I’m a liar, and I don’t want him to feel bad that he didn’t please me. I love my husband though.
  • I was sexually abuse as a child, and it’s too painful to talk about sex.
  • For years, it’s all about him, not me. Why bother?
  • I’m tired of asking, so I’ve just given up.
  • We don’t need to. We have unspoken understandings. For me to get sex, I need to do ….

What would you answer? Differences in individual values, needs, relationship conditioning, and preferences can naturally cause sexual conflict, but if you won’t talk through these differences, nothing will be resolved or managed? If you want to have a fulfilling, aka successful, sex life with your spouse, it starts with you. Becoming sex-cessful in the bedroom is a journey taken at a pace you’re comfortable committing to. You might consider the following steps:

  • Expanding your sexual self-awareness: needs, limitations, boundaries, recognizing underlying influences
  • Getting comfortable talking about sex without pressure to perform
  • Sharing and learning about partner’s needs and wants as well as uncovering the whys and feelings behind both
  • Negotiating, compromising, and developing a sex plan
  • Acting on the plan

You may think that may work for some, but what if my spouse and I have wildly different sexual appetites. That’s where you need to take a hard look at the cause. Is it because of conditioning, taboo stereotypes, performance anxiety, sexual abuse, or just plain skewed hormones? As with most problems, there’s usually more than one contributor. Identifying the main issues will give you a starting point on where to focus. In some cases, you may never fully emotionally or physically enjoy sex, but that doesn’t mean you should withhold sex from your spouse unless he or she is abusive. I know a few couples who have fluctuating and divergent sex drives over the course of their marriages. How do they handle the incompatibility? They give sex gifts?

People routinely give gifts to family and friends whom they love and care about. What better way to love your spouse than to give them the gift of sex? There may be times when you’re both “into it”, and sex is a big theatrical production. Other times, it’s a gift of pleasure. As with any other gift, you don’t expect anything in return. Your spouse will appreciate your gift of sex, even when he or she knows you weren’t in the mood and gave it freely.

Some believe they shouldn’t be pressured into sex when they don’t want to. I agree. I’m not suggesting they do something they don’t want to. I’m suggesting they intentionally give a gift to their life partner.

Note: If you are in sexually abusive marriage or relationship or have untreated sexual trauma in your history, I encourage you to seek help. The effects of sexual trauma are devastating for the individual and their relationships. Seek the healing you need, so you can experience the power of healthy relationships and focus on the purpose God has called you into.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in life, premarital/marriage, finances, and ministry. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. Sandra welcomes comments and conversations. You can reach out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

Enemies That Can Undermine Your Marriage: Break Free from Jezebel, Leviathan, Ahab, and Legion Spirits

As a Christian marriage coach, my purpose is to educate, equip, empower, and encourage couples who trust me with their personal vulnerabilities and relationships. God has called me to help strengthen marriages, because the health of the marriage directly affects the family and its future generations. The degree of individual brokenness in a spouse has a significant impact on how well I can help a couple.

jvc-breaking outMost couples experience break-through and success as evidenced by my growing collection of thank-you cards and personal testimonies. And then there are those couples who can’t find a way out of their relationship pain. Until I was trained in Restored to Freedom by Nelson Schuman’s School of Ministry, I couldn’t have explained or freed these troubled spouses from the spirits that were gripping one or both from the joy God intended for their marriage. Who are these spirits? Say hello to Jezebel, Leviathan, Ahab, and a host of Legions.

The Spirits

Schuman (2018) describes the grip and manifestation of each spirit on a person. Many spirits own bloodlines until a generation breaks the spirit hold. The spirits are given authority when a child grows up with (1) an absent father, (2) father/step-father who spoke with criticism, was verbally, physically, or sexually abusive, or (3) a mother who was abusive or controlling. These spirits can inhabit either gender and their degree of control depends on several factors.

Is a Spirit Operating in Your Life

It’s hard to admit when you’re not perfect or don’t measure up to a standard you’ve set for yourself. Your only chance of breaking free is to at least be honest with yourself. Ask yourself the following sets of questions.

Do you experience any of the following feelings or behaviors?

  • Need to control or manipulate people/outcomes and to get what you want, because no one will watch out for you and your best interests
  • Do not easily trust; people have to earn your trust
  • Have anxiety and fear
  • Lie to get your way at times
  • Not feel loved by parents

Do you experience any of the following feelings or behaviors?

  • Experience back, neck, and upper shoulder pain
  • Have Scoliosis
  • Suffer from Fibromyalgia
  • Struggle with insomnia
  • Fall asleep when listening or reading the Bible
  • Have difficulty remembering anything that helps from spiritual perspective

Do you experience any of the following feelings or behaviors?

  • Are passive
  • If male, difficulty leading your family and defer to wife
  • Avoid rocking the boat
  • Walk on egg shells
  • Struggle with sexual purity

Do you experience any of the following feelings or behaviors?

  • Dwell on past sins and traumas
  • Struggle with feelings of forgiveness
  • Suffer disease, sickness, fears, and suicidal thoughts

Each of these sets focus on a specific spirit. Afterwards ask your spouse and/or child how they would answer on your behalf. If they are not afraid to answer truthfully, the answers may be different.

Breaking Free

Each of these groups of questions relate to a specific spirit. If you want to learn more you can reference Schuman’s series of books. People have the ability to renounce and free themselves of the spirits through the power of Jesus but only if the prayer is from the heart, not the head.

References

Schuman, N.L. (2018). Restored to Freedom: The Road to Deliverance from the Enemy’s Finest

Schuman, N.L. (2018). Waking the Lion Within: Reclaiming Your Position in Christ

Schuman, N.L. (2018). Restored to Freedom: Deliverance from the Spirits of Jezebel, Leviathan, Ahab, and Legion


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 contact Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

 

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.