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 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.