Dominance & Complacency


There’s something I’ve come to observe in most marriages. There is typically a more dominant personality, and a more submissive one. This does not seem to be gender driven at all as the roles vary from couple to couple. And there’s no one ratio that fits this pattern across the board. In some cases the dominant partner is extremely dominant and in others just slightly so. In other words, it might look like 90/10 and some and in other marriages 51/49, but I suspect there’s always one partner that holds more power than the other.

This is not a blog post on Biblical submission or spiritual leadership. There’s a ton of good material out there on that topic and I encourage you to seek it out if you are so interested. I’m writing this based on my personal experience in dealing with couples.

If the dominant partner in a marriage is “satisfied” with the way things are, there is very little motivation for change.  If, however, the dominant partner seeks to improve on their current situation, they will typically encourage / persuade their partner to consider taking action alongside them.

I personally fall into the camp that anything can be made better if you focus on making it happen. And being the egocentric blogger that I am, I fully assumed that everyone else would think like I do. Surprise! They don’t.

I’m not talking about marriages in crisis here. I know of several couples where the less dominant partner would love to improve their relationship, but they find little motivation in their spouse in doing so. Sure enough, if I talk to their spouse they are often quite content. “Things are fine” they say – in so many words. And with that attitude, things stay just the way they are. Well that’s not entirely true. Isaac Newton recognized this when he claimed that (in nature) things don’t get better when left alone, they naturally degrade. The same holds true for marriages.

So if my theory is true, no marriage can ever get better than what the dominant partner wants / expects it to. If the relationship is solid, I suppose the other partner could thoughtfully bring up their desires and hopefully be heard. But how committed can you be at resolving an issue, if you don’t see there is an issue?

I want  to encourage all married couples to focus on and improve their relationships. If you think everything is just fine in your marriage, you might fall into the dominant and complacent category. Don’t assume your spouse is right there with you. Talk about it. What is their opinion? Can you both imagine areas where you could stand to improve?Why wouldn’t you want your most important relationship on Earth to be as good as it possibly could?

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