No one would have dreamed Brad and Sue had marriage problems. From the outside, their relationship looked perfect. He was outgoing and handsome with a gentle, personable manner. She was fun-loving and family-oriented, faithful to God and Brad.
Everyone loved being around them because they were so easy to get along with, but no one noticed their deteriorating marriage.
Sue had first been attracted to Brad because of his sweet, gentle nature—but before long it began to irritate her.
People were drawn to his kindness, so they went to him with their problems. He was a great listener but lacked the character and convictions to provide any solid answers.
He was a people-pleaser. He wouldn’t lead.
That lack of leadership was the root of a problem that grew between Brad and Sue. She appreciated his good qualities but found herself losing more and more respect for him.
She took her frustration out on him by complaining. She nagged him about the things he wasn’t doing. She needled him about his lack of leadership. Brad resented her remarks and attitude and resisted making the changes she wanted to see.
Brad was at fault, of course. He was falling short of God’s plan for men to lead their wives in a righteous, sacrificial manner.But Sue was as much of the problem as Brad. From the start of their relationship, it was her dominant personality that enabled him to be passive. Rather than keeping her naturally aggressive and opinionated personality in check, she exploited Brad’s personality. She used it to dominate him.
At one point, he had seemed to enjoy her strong personality and opinions, but now he resented them. Sue was confused. Brad was frustrated. Neither was happy.
The problem is that Sue wanted to control Brad. As Dr. Marlin Howe once wrote, “I have never yet met a woman who respected a man she could control. So from her innermost soul swells a basic need to disrespect her husband, to find fault with him.”
Along the same lines, a man will struggle to love a woman who controls him. When this happens, the man tends to ignore her or seek significance elsewhere.
Both spouses end up pushing each other away. The solution is for the man and woman to return to the roles God has designed for us in marriage: a husband leading with Christ-like love and a sacrificial spirit. The woman dependent on his leadership and supporting him as his helpmate and companion.
Let Brad and Sue’s story be a warning. They had the best of intentions but ended up miserable.
What about you? Are you fulfilling the role God desires you to play in your marriage?