In the movie Cheaper by the Dozen, Steve Martin’s character is a father of 12. If you haven’t seen the movie, you can imagine the craziness that many children can bring.
They move in to a house next to a couple with an only child. The wife is overprotective, controlling and mean. It’s obvious throughout the movie that her husband disagrees with her about how to raise their son and how she treats people. However, his eyes and facial expression consistently show the mark of a defeated man.
It always leaves me wondering how he got there. Was he always that way or did a series of put-downs and non-affirmations reduce him to this passive state? Thankfully, at the end of the movie, he shows life and stands up for himself and what’s right.
Some men make the mistake of confusing being a passive husband with keeping the peace. Concerned they are going to make their wives mad, they tiptoe around and avoid issues. They may disagree with something, but they remain silent because they don’t want to upset her or they feel like it’s not worth the hassle. Other times they voice their opinion only to be ignored or steamrolled. Being a passive husband is detrimental to the family, the marriage and the kids. Here are the reasons why and what to do about it:
It is a slow road to disengagement. The marriage won’t last if you continue on this road. The connection is dying, and it will become impossible not to be resentful of her.
If the internet keeps going out at your house, you are going to get frustrated. When it happens too often, you eventually switch carriers. The same is true for your marriage.
Passivity in our relationships with our wives leads to disengagement and a loss of connection. Eventually it will collapse or result in the two of you being estranged roommates. Have the strength and courage not to let that happen.
Two people are put together to help each other become sharper, grow in character and mature. Part of loving our wives is challenging them when we think they are wrong or off-target. Now we need to make sure we are loving, kind and respectful when we do that.
Not having the conversation or voicing opposition out of fear of her reaction or to avoid an argument at all costs is a disservice to her and our vow. She needs you to stand, not fade away.
They are missing your much needed input and leadership. A passive dad will likely affect their confidence. You are a model for them. They will do as you do.
What you are modeling is disengagement and that your voice doesn’t carry value. You’re modeling that being disrespected is appropriate behavior. It is a dysfunctional partnership.
Huddle up with your wife tonight and ask, “The most important need I have from you is to be respected. What is the most important thing you need from me?”
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