passive husband

The Problem with the Passive Husband

In the movie, Cheaper by the Dozen, Steve Martin’s character is a father of twelve. 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 over protective, controlling, and mean. It’s obvious throughout 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 remain silent because they don’t want to upset her or 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. [Tweet This] Here are the reasons why and what to do about it:

Your Marriage

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 to not let that happen.

Your Wife

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, voicing opposition out of fear of her reaction or avoiding an argument at all costs is a disservice to her and our vow. She needs you to stand, not fade away.

Your Kids

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.

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • Tony Bright

    Ok, I will be the first to ask, where is the actual solution? This seems like the introduction, but I’m not seeing the solution.

    Maybe I am missing something here. If I am, feel free to point out the solution and the guidance to put it into practice.

    I don’t see the guidance or coaching that will teach the passive, steamrolled husband to become an effective and assertive partner in his marriage.

    Comes across as a football coach saying you must get better at tackling, but offering no actual coaching on the skill.

    • I Mail

      This is my take on this short article:
      Solution for the Passive Husband
      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 remain silent because they don’t want to upset her or 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 kid.

      So never get concerned that you will make your wife mad
      And never tiptoe around and avoid issues
      You only create being ignored

      Your Marriage
      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.

      Example: 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.

      So NEVER disengage
      Have the strength and courage to not let that happen.

      Your Wife
      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 you need to make sure you are loving, kind, and respectful when you do that.

      Always challenge her when you see she is wrong or off target!
      Not having the conversation, voicing opposition out of fear of her reaction or avoiding an argument at all costs is a disservice to her and your vow. She needs you to stand, not fade away.

      Your Kids
      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.

      Let your kids see a different side of you, show them what YOU look like as the leader of the family. Make your actions be what you want to see in them as adults.

      You’re modeling that being disrespected is appropriate behavior. It is a dysfunctional partnership.

      • BJ_Foster

        Well said.

        • Bone

          Nice work. Not afraid to call you brother.

  • Is the solution listed in another post? #clickbait

Subscribe to the Play of the Day for daily advice, videos and updates on how to be better dad.

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?”

foster and adoption
Did You Get It?
Every Man's Bible
Florida Prepaid