"The heart of a man needs to be engaged; it needs to feel like it belongs and is understood."
Husbands are losing their marriages because they won't communicate. Wives are losing their marriages because they won't let their husbands communicate.
It's a vicious cycle that is killing marriages every day. It's part of a cycle that is creating passive and rejected men.
I've seen it first hand in multiple couples. Put them in a group of people and they'll talk a good talk, but put them in a room together, and the communication train derails almost immediately. He doesn't want to say anything to offend her, and she is waiting for him to say the wrong thing.
What happens next? He disengages and resorts to one of the following methods of passivity:
1. Sarcasm. Sarcasm used to be my second language. I would use it often as a way to get out of tough communication situations. I would use it just so I would have something to say in a conversation I wasn't comfortable in. It became one of the reasons for my near divorce early in marriage.
Sarcasm is typically an over-exaggeration of a comment or circumstance. It's a defensive method used to dodge the truth or accuse the other person, typically your wife. It can even come across as a joke. This is especially harmful in group situations. In order for a husband to feel better about himself and his personal issues, he may choose to make jokes about his wife to the other people around him. This builds him up and tears her down.
No marriage will last if sarcasm is one of the leading means of communication.
A great marriage will stay clear of sarcasm and seek to engage in meaningful discussions.
2. Silence. A silent man is a man causing a slow death to his marriage. Silence becomes the answer to a man's problem when he can't share his heart with his wife and be accepted. In other words, he can't freely share the issues on his heart without being torn down or disrespected by his wife.
How many times does it take for him to disengage? Not very many at all. In my personal experience in early marriage, it only took a few times for me to realize that it was easier to not tell my wife what was wrong than to actually tell her. The main reason this becomes an issue is because the wife thinks his issue is more about her than it is about him. Wives, please understand that if your husband has something to get off his heart, he needs you to listen and understand. You want him to be able to come to you.
No marriage will survive long with a silent husband.
A great marriage will allow for open and honest communication from both spouses.
3. Avoidance. Men who avoid interacting in their marriage are doing it for a reason. From long work hours to extra time spent with their friends, he is tired of spending time with his wife and will find any means to be away. These husbands need to rarely worry about sarcasm or silence, because they are always away.
Avoidance can be caused in many ways. I know men who work hard all day and then come home only to be drilled with things to do and a stressed wife. The mindset soon sets in that his hard work is not appreciated, and he can find appreciation elsewhere. This, of course, is one of the most dangerous forms of passivity in a marriage. Appreciation could be found by going to the local hangout, climbing the corporate ladder, or seeking respect from another woman.
No marriage will last when avoidance is the main goal.
A great marriage involves two people working and communicating together side by side. It involves trust.
How can you avoid becoming a passive husband and build a strong marriage? These two steps are not easy, but they are musts if you seek resolution:
First, if you fall into one of the three categories listed above, you need to invite Jesus into that situation. Get over your whole macho, "I'm a man, I don't need Jesus" delusion and honestly ask Jesus to enter that part of your life. Ask Him how to resolve your issue and how you can speak to your wife about it.
Second, after praying for some time, set a time to speak with your wife about the situation. Let her know that you've been honestly praying for some time about the issue and would like to discuss it with her. Lay out what you've been praying about and what's on your heart. Allow for some back and forth and then pray together at the end. Invite God into that situation, or situations if she adds her side of the story, and work on it each day from that time forward.
It's worth it, and you can do it.
Are you being passive in your marriage? Share your struggles in the comments section so that others can help. What are some ways you fight being a passive husband?
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