Relationships: when he does not want to lead

What makes a successful marriage is shared character

Mo’s personality is laid-back and he takes his time to make a decision, while Phindi is a Type A personality.

Some of the many advantages in Mo’s Type B personality include the ability to go with the flow, not easily stressed, patient, less caring of what people think, calm, and able to work steadily.

These are extremely valuable qualities that Phindi’s impatient, go-getter, competitive, stressing, must-be-done-now personality needed.

Rather than having our different personalities frustrate us, we have learnt how to make them serve our relationship.

One of the most liberating things to do in marriage is for you to give your spouse permission to be his- or herself while you own your uniqueness, in order to serve one another in love.

We are approached by many women who are frustrated by men who just won’t lead their relationships. Even though they are successful in their careers, many women want a man who will take control of the relationship and lovingly provide leadership.

We wish to explore what causes men to seem withdrawn and not provide the much-needed leadership in their relationships.

Firstly, it is because of differences in personality.

Personality differences are manageable in relationships, especially when they are met with maturity.

If your husband is too laid-back for you, then he is just the right personality for your driven, stressful and time-conscious personality. He becomes a needed equaliser.

What makes a successful relationship is shared character

To make a successful relationship in marriage, you don’t want a person with a similar personality to yours.

God created you different for a reason. And it’s incumbent on both of you to nourish and cherish that difference so that after a while, you could be the best individuals you each can be.

Having common interests and being compatible is over-rated. In fact, such make a relationship very boring. When the two of you are similar in personality and interests, then one of you is unnecessary.

What makes a successful relationship is shared character. What you want is a man who is mature and whose integrity you can match. That’s what you commit to when you marry – character.

You don’t marry his personality. So, let him be who God created him to be.

Don't criticise personality

The worst thing you can do is be critical of his personality. When you criticise his personality, the core of his identity as a person, he is bound to withdraw his love and emotions from you.

Secondly, unfortunately a lot of modern men are raised in the absence of healthy masculinity they can model in their own lives.

In terms of the General Household Survey published in July 2018 by Stats SA, 62% of children born in our country are fatherless. This only speaks of physical absence as a result of death, long distance and irresponsible fathers.

But there are fathers who are physically present, but absent in their masculine essence.

Boys raised in the presence of these fathers miss the “rite of passage” into manhood. They learn to be withdrawn, uninvolved, laid-back and silent.

Many men are confused about what it means to be a man because they feel they’re working against the tide

They are taught to be absent, and force their wives later in life to assume the leadership responsibility in their marriages. They simply have no one to learn from, besides their mothers, who do not know what it means to be a man.

Men have so much pushback in the 21st century society. Women are elevated on almost all fronts, sometimes at the expense of men.

The result is generally men who don’t know how to display healthy masculinity. They just don’t know how to be men to self-assured women – as many women yearn for.

Many men are confused about what it means to be a man because they feel they’re working against the tide.

Their voices and emotions are internalised as no one is genuinely listening. And while they’re silent outwardly, they’re screaming for help inwardly. Unfortunately they express that frustration through toxic masculinity.

A man you can trust

And so, many a woman in a relationship is now left to provide leadership, when all she ever wanted was a man she could trust. A man who will take her by the hand, claim her as his woman and lead her; who will decide where to take her, knows how to surprise her and with whom she feels safe.

Phindi always says one of her deepest feminine pleasures is when Mo stands full and steady in the midst of her emotional storms. When he stays solidly present with her, and loves her through her many layers. Then she feels his dependability, and she can relax.

When a woman takes the responsibility of leadership in marriage, especially against her will, she becomes more and more rigid, exhausted and unfulfilled. She is likely to lose herself, and eventually become resentful of him.

Praise him continually

Praise him continually. The man in him will want to continue doing what his wife affirms as he responds well to positive feedback. Yes, there may be times when he doesn’t lead effectively. But find something you can praise, no matter how little.

Affirm his positive initiative, his courage in taking a step, and his desire to do right. As he steps out and leads, he needs to know you are supporting him and that you’re on his team rather than his critic.


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