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.

Sex-pectations: The Difference and Implications of Marital Needs

holding hands


I am crawling out on a limb as I share this perspective in the hope of helping just one struggling couple who wants to save their marriage in the aftermath of infidelity.  On the other hand, perhaps a husband or wife who is teetering on the edge of infidelity will decide to change course.  As a marriage coach, I have couples sit on my couch who are wrestling with a gap in sexual appetite.  In most cases, the husband desires more sex than his wife, and over time, this unresolved need has culminated in an extra-marital affair.  I fully acknowledge that women also have affairs, but in most cases, the catalyst for theirs starts with unmet non-sexual needs.

For the record, I believe every adult is fully responsible for his/her decisions and behaviors. However, one of my first coaching questions is usually directed to the faithful spouse: “What did you contribute to the extra-marital affair?” My question is not to suggest that this wronged spouse caused the affair, should feel any guilt, or accept any blame. My intention is to shine a spotlight on the couple dynamics that the husband and wife co-created before the affair occurred.  Husbands and wives share a responsibility in what goes on within their marriage. I would only ask this question if both spouses were committed to work on their marriage and not focus their energies on assigning blame or playing the victim card.

This pointed question expands the conversation around marital needs as discussed in Thriving Marriages? It’s All About Meeting Needs. A healthy and satisfying marriage results when each spouse tries to meet the needs of his/her spouse. As mentioned in His Needs, Her Needs, Harley (2011) discusses 10 emotional needs that husbands and wives seek to have fulfilled within their marriage.  These are (1) affection, (2) sexual fulfillment, (3) intimate conversation, (4) recreational companionship, (5) honesty and openness, (6) physical attractiveness, (7) financial support, (8) domestic support, (9) family commitment, and (10) admiration.  Men typically rate sexual fulfillment and recreational companionship as their highest needs; whereas, women favor affection and intimate conversation.  Harley (2011) states that when primary needs are not met by a spouse, over time, husbands and wives will usually find ways to get those needs met outside of their relationship.

As an example, it is common for a woman to crave intimate conversation with her husband.  When a wife does not receive it, she may innocently share her frustration with a male coworker or friend.  With no calculated intent, this intimate conversation blooms into a romantic affair.  Most likely, the man is also married and not getting his sexual needs met by his wife.  The same model holds true for husbands.  They may have no plans for an affair but are unable to hold the line at only flirtatious conversation. Unless suffering from sex addiction, neither spouse is likely to stray if their needs are met at home.

Readers may counter that spouses should not feel pressured into having sex with their spouse.  I could not agree more; however, I do suggest that a husband and wife adopt a self-sacrificing attitude to meet their spouse’s top three needs.  Love undoubtedly requires self-sacrifice.  For example, when I want to relax on the couch with a glass of wine and good book after work, my husband is in the kitchen cooking dinner and cleaning up afterwards.  Would he rather trade places with me?  Absolutely!  Yet, he knows that I will gladly gift him sex when we crawl into bed when I prefer to pull the covers over my head and drift off to sleep.

“What did you contribute to the extra-marital affair?” may be the first question on the table; however, the second is asked of the unfaithful spouse: “What did you not do for your wife/husband that led her/him to not care about satisfying your sexual needs?” Husbands and wives both have a responsibility to nurture their marriages.  When the love chemicals subside, the happy and enduring marriages require hard work and self-sacrificing decisions. I encourage couples to prioritize their individual needs and communicate their top three, so their spouse can make a concerted effort to satisfy them.  If successful, couples may be asked a third question after decades of marriage: “What’s the secret?”

Reference

Harley, W.F. (2011). His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional leadership coach with an extensive background in premarital and marriage coaching, education, and mentoring. She coaches individuals, and couples, as well as facilitates relationship workshops.  She has a passion to help people experience outstanding marriages and relationships.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website www.shinecrossings.com