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 Wives Need Husbands Who Lead

(Part 1 in a 3-Part Series)


Sandra Dillon: February 12, 2018

Most of my leadership focus has been with paying clients who want to work on their leadership skills in the area that pays the bills, yet neglect investing in their most important relationships at home. What’s more important: spouse, family, or work?

husband leadershipThe sad truth is that some men are succeeding at work and failing in their marriages. They pour time and energy into work—justifying to themselves they are sacrificing for their families. The more they feel like a failure at home, the more they gravitate toward work where they get acceptance, appreciation, and recognition. At home they feel like a failure when they receive criticism and negative feedback.

Why a Man’s Leadership at Home is So Important

A man’s leadership at home is a topic dear to my own heart as well as from sentiments shared with me by couples receiving relationship and marriage coaching. I am a child, sister, wife, mother, and ultimate survivor of poor leadership, and lucky for me a winning, well-led, later-in-life wife.

Although a man’s leadership is an important part of God’s design for marriage, I believe this truth transcends all faiths based on my experiences while an agnostic for the first 48 years of life and Christian for the last eight. My stories of male leadership have spanned (1) a father who disappeared from my life when I was 6 years old, (2) a stepfather and mother who divorced after he failed to work either inside or outside the home, (3) my now ex-husband who refused to work at 52 while he expected me to be the sole family provider for another 26 years, and (4) my second husband of more than 5 years who exemplifies a true leader who I willingly follow.

When husbands don’t lead themselves and their families, everyone suffers. Marriages can breakdown, divorce creeps into conversations, wives and children can feel physically and emotionally abandoned. At best an overwhelming sense of apathy takes hold within the family culture. Women become frustrated and fearful, and sons never have a role model to learn what it means to be a true leader.

What do Wives Need from Their Husbands?

You’ve probably heard that women are complex but men are simple. I would argue that women are also easy to understand, if a husband can accept his wife’s needs are very 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.

Wives’ Leadership Needs

Women want to be led by a caring and righteous man throughout their lives (Evans, 2012).  Leading does not imply and suggest domination or control. Women want to be led spiritually, financially, and with the discipline/training of their children.  When wives do not get the leadership they crave, they become frustrated, which typically results in them nagging to get what they so desperately want. When a wife is forced to take on the leadership of the family along with her wifely and motherly duties, she becomes resentful.

Some women have difficulty allowing their husbands to lead based on their own traumas and insecurities which drive them to control everything in their lives.  The best marriages are those where a man leads by treating and consulting with his wife as an equal partner. He seeks her input; they have healthy discussion and debate; her desires are seriously regarded; the full impact on the family is considered in any decision he makes. The happiest Christian couples would likely say their marriage is 50/50, with the husband getting an extra 1% when they need a tie-breaker decision.

Next Up in the Series

Leadership is a complex subject, because it involves people and the current manifestations of their personal histories and relationships. This article lays the foundation on why it’s important for men to lead in their marriage and families.  Women want to be led—led in the right way. Living out good leadership is not as easy as understanding its importance, so stay tuned for the next parts in this three-part series.

  • Why some men fail to lead
  • How men can change and learn to lead well?

For readers who may be wondering whether there is help for destructive women—those who refuse to be led by their husbands.  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.

How to Have a Thriving Marriage

Sandra Dillon: February 6, 2018


Love FamilyAs a coach who leads couples through premarital and marriage coaching, most of the programs are designed around understanding how individual personalities mesh and equipping with tools to navigate a long-term successful relationship. Evans (2012) brings a fresh perspective that starts with God, our relationship with Him, God’s design for marriage, and the adherence to laws that help couples sustain a thriving marriage over time.

Our Deepest Needs

Evans (2012) proposes that people have four basic needs that we consciously or not strive to satisfy.  We feel fulfilled when we have:

  1. Acceptance: feeling that you are needed and loved by others
  2. Identity: knowing that you are special and significant
  3. Security: recognizing you are protected and provided for
  4. Purpose: understanding your reason for living

Non-Christians and many Christians as well look to personal accomplishments, family, friends, possessions, money, jobs, and pastors, to get these four needs met on a consistent basis.  A significant subset put enormous pressure on their spouses and children to fulfill those deepest needs.  The result?  Grave disappointment.  Why? Because no human, not even your spouse, can meet your deepest needs.  With people suffering from some degree of selfishness, imperfection, and limited resources, they will naturally disappoint and at times hurt you.

What Happens When We Turn to God to Satisfy Our Needs

Only God can meet our deepest needs. When a couple releases unrealistic expectations of their spouse to fully meet his or her needs, both are then open to have these needs met by God. Spouses are then free to support the other in their individual Godly purposes as well as live out the mission of their marriage. The chance of divorce is minimized, because neither has the pressure of being the provider of their spouse’s acceptance, identity, security, and purpose.

God’s Four Laws of Marriage

Evans (2012) references 4 laws of marriage that God created.  When we abide by these laws, marriages not only work, they thrive.

  1. Law of Priority: When a husband and wife leave their families and become “one flesh,” they put the other above every other earthly relationship. Their spouse comes before parents and their children. Time, energy, and resources are prioritized and protected for the spouse and the health of the marriage.
  2. Law of Pursuit: Like anything of value, marriage too is hard work. Spouses put forth intentional effort in pleasing their partner and investing in the marriage.
  3. Law of Possession: Because marriage is a complete union, everything is owned and managed jointly. Without this operating agreement, mistrust, jealousy, and reduced intimacy creep into the marriage.
  4. Law of Purity: When a couple is “one flesh,” nothing is withheld from the other. Every aspect of the body, soul, mind, and spirit should be shared without shame or fear. Marriage requires spouses to be totally open and vulnerable with each other.

Breaking any one of these foundational laws will cause turmoil within a marriage. Breaking two or more typically spells doom.  This brokenness may not lead to court, but it may lead to separate bedrooms. Is a marriage held together solely by paper any better than divorce?

Where Do Most First Marriages Get Off Track

In my experience, first marriages unknowingly start to develop their first crack when they violate the Law of Pursuit. In an over-scheduled society and drive for success, couples tend to focus their energy on jobs, careers, and fun activities. This focus intensifies when children come along, and parents want to provide them with the best things and opportunities. Marriage takes a backseat to all the other demands for time, money, and energy, and spouses start to take each other for granted.

Where Do Most Second Marriages Go Wrong

When I coach couples, who are marrying and have biological children from previous relationships, they typically set their second marriage up for trouble prior to even saying their “I dos.”  I find the Law of Possession is the most common struggle from the start, when they decide to keep some money separate and discipline of the child is reserved only by the biological parent. They’ve already designed division into their marriage.

What Should I do Before Saying “I do”

With an average divorce rate in America of ~ 50% and second marriages at ~ 70%, I would encourage everyone who is dating with the intention of marrying to pray, think about, and answer the following questions for themselves:

  1. Am I relying on God to get my deepest human needs met?
  2. Do I have reasonable expectations of my spouse and marriage?
  3. Am I willing to sacrifice and abide by God’s 4 laws of marriage?

If you can honestly live out a “yes” to these three questions, you will likely have a model, not perfect, marriage and find that others seek you out for marriage mentoring.

Reference

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


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.