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: 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.