Jimmy Evans - Shared Control (Traditional Roles)
One of the things that makes people feel insecure about marriage is just feeling as though that it's not reliable. You know, if 50% of airplanes taking off were crashing, you'd be nervous about flying, so a lot of young people today are very nervous about marriage. A lot of people are nervous about marriage, and they see it as being unreliable for a lucky few, but generally they see it as being potentially very painful and harmful. So our society today, less than half of adult Americans are married. In 1930, 83% of adult Americans were married. Let me say a couple of things. First of all, God created marriage, and second is, God never makes anything to fail or to harm us.
What's happening today in marriage is happening simply because we're doing it wrong. We have left the standards of God's word, and we're kind of coming up with our own ideas of what's right and wrong, and they're not working. That's the reason marriage doesn't work. But I want to take you back to the beginning. When God created marriage, he created four laws that hold marriage, that literally are the foundation of marriage. These are inviolable laws that are true for all generations, and we know that because, when God created marriage, he said, "For this cause, a man will leave his father and mother, he'll cleave unto his wife. The two shall become one flesh". And then it says, "The man and his wife were both naked and unashamed". Those are the four foundational laws of marriage.
You say, "Well, why do we know that that's for everyone and not just Adam and Eve"? It says, "For this cause, a man will leave his father and mother", and Adam and Eve didn't have a mother. God created Adam and Eve directly. They were the only two people on the planet without a bellybutton. They did not have a mother, they only had God, so when God was speaking that, we know he wasn't just speaking it to them. But there are four laws of marriage, they're absolute laws of marriage, and I want to talk about one of them specifically. The first law is the law of priority. For this cause, a man will leave his father and his mother. It means your mother and father used to be the most important relationship you have. Now it's marriage.
Marriage only works in first place, in real terms. Before children, before friends, before work, before parents, before anything else, marriage has to be first. It says a man will leave his father and mother, cleave unto his wife. The word "cleave" is energy. It means like running up a mountain. It means to pursue with all your energy. Marriage is work, you have to work at it. You fall in love because you pursue each other. You fall out of love because you take each other for granted and get lazy. This is what happened to my wife and I when we first got married, and we almost divorced. I was lazy, I took her for granted, but marriage works when you work at it. Even if you've fallen out of love, you can fall way back into love by just beginning to work at it again and pursuing each other.
The third law of marriage is called the law of possession. They two shall become one flesh. Now, what this means is, marriage is something to be shared as equals. No one controls the other person, and no one tries to keep away something they have from their spouse, and what this means is, everything I have is now yours. Everything I had when I was single that I owned and administrated individually, now we do together. We're a very selfish society, and so one of the reasons that we're failing in marriage is, our society, it's 'cause we're so selfish. But marriage requires cooperation and equality. We share everything.
The fourth law is called the law of purity. It says the man and his wife were naked without shame. They had unbelievable intimacy and trust until sin entered the relationship. As soon as sin entered the relationship, they hid themselves with fig leaves, and they lost all intimacy and trust of one another. So I want you to know that God creates laws to create safety. Marriage is a 100% reliable relationship when you do it God's way. There are laws, priority, pursuit, possession, purity. Those laws will protect your relationship for the rest of your married lives and make it successful and stable. You don't have to become a statistic, and you don't need to mistrust marriage. Marriage is wonderful. In fact, you have a 100% chance of success in marriage when you do it God's way.
Let me go back to the third law for just a minute and talk about this one. It's called the law of possession, they two shall become one. The number one way that that law is violated is by dominance, is one spouse trying to dominate the other, and by the way, being dominant is gender-neutral. There are as many dominant women as there are dominant men. Research has proven that the number one thing, except for God, that makes for a successful marriage is shared control, is being willing to be influenced by each other. That's the number one thing that research has proven creates a marriage of trust and good will, but dominance in the relationship destroys the trust and good will in the relationship. It never works.
So I've done seminars all over the world, marriage seminars, and I've asked this question face to face to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. In fact, it's two questions. When I talk about this issue, I ask people two questions, and I ask them to raise their hands if they identify with this. Here's my first question. How many of you were raised in homes where one of your parents was clearly dominant over the other parent? Immediately, in every seminar I've done all over the world, 70 to 80% of hands go up. They immediately say, "Yeah, one of my parents was dominant". That's how common it is. Here's my second question. For those of you who just raised your hands, how many of you believe that that dominance in one of your parents had a negative impact on their relationship, and on the family? Immediately, every hand goes straight back up. I've done this all over the world.
So here's what this means. Most of us were raised in a home where we were watching one parent dominate the other, and it damaged us. So if you're a young boy and you're watching your father dominate your mother, you may begin to think, "Hey, that's normal. Men dominate women". If you're a young girl and you're watching your mother dominate your father, you may say, "Well, that's normal, women dominate men". If you're a little boy, and you're watching your mother dominate your father, you may say to yourself, "I'll never let a woman treat me like that. I hate that". Same with girls, they may see their father disrespecting their mother and dominating her, and they swear to themselves in an inner vow, "I'll never let a man do that to me". Either way, you're damaged. You're set up for damage.
Human beings are the only animal on earth that are designed not to dominate. When you go into the wild kingdom of the animal world, in virtually every animal species, there's an alpha male, or an alpha female. Someone is dominating among those animals because they're animals, but it's not designed that way among humans. The only way that marriage works is cooperation and shared control. My wife and I got married. I was dominant. I have the stronger personality. Again, this is gender-neutral. What happens was, is that I had a disproportionate control of our decision making. It was my way or the highway, and when I didn't get my way, I punished her. She didn't feel like she had a voice.
What it means to be dominant is, in the corporation of your marriage, you have more stock than your spouse. If you look down into a dollhouse and you see all the rooms, your room is the biggest room. In marriage, both spouses should have exactly the same amount of stock and exactly the same size rooms within that house. It's shared control. My wife and I had a terrible marriage. I was dominant, and I changed. God changed me, on the brink of divorce, so I wasn't smart, we just almost lost our marriage, and the Lord began to speak to me, and I began to respect my wife. Here's what I mean by "respect my wife". I said to her, "I will not make a decision without you, and I will not punish you if you disagree with me".
See, one of the reasons that some marriages lose their trust and intimacy is, I really don't have the right to disagree. I know, if I disagree or say how I feel, I'm gonna be punished. One of the most important things we do in marriage is to say to our spouse, "I want you to tell me how you feel, and I promise you won't lose your dignity, and I won't punish you for it. I want you to be honest". This is how trust and intimacy is built. When my wife and I first got married, we made decisions, typically, by what I wanted to do, or there was a price to be paid. I know a lot of women are like this. They're dominant. "When mama ain't happy, nobody's happy", so the whole job of the whole family is to make mama happy. That's what's called dominance and control..
To have intimacy, and good will, and shared control in the relationship, it means we make all of our decisions together. I will say to Karen sometimes, "Karen, what do you think about this"? She'll say, "Just go ahead and do it". I'm talking about an important decision. I'll say, "No, I won't. I will not do this without you. I want to know that you're 100% in agreement, and if there's anything you're thinking or feeling, that you have the opportunity to say it knowing you will not pay a price, you will not pay a price". That breathes such unbelievable good will into the relationship. You go to the strengths, like my strength is achiever, Karen's is empathy, well, naturally, I would have more dominance in getting things done. I'm like Allan, I want to get it done, and that creates a strength in itself, and opinion within itself. Karen is empathy, which means she just loves loving people, so she's not as strong in her opinion, but her opinion's just as important.
When you have a marriage that one person is stronger than the other, and you have one person who's overly submissive in a bad way and one person who's dominant, the healing of the marriage comes as the dominant person sits down and the other person stands up, and you're looking at each other face to face, and you're sharing the control of the relationship as God intended. This is a law now, this isn't a principle, or a rule that may be true here and not over there, may be true for one person, not the other. This is an inviolable law of marriage that they two shall become one. They're equals. The husband cherishes and nourishes his wife. The wife respects her husband, and all of their decisions are made together under God's authority, and I'm telling you, it's a game-changer. When you share control in your relationship, and you respect each other, your marriage is gonna go to the next level.
Allan Kelsey: If you're just tuning in, welcome to Strengths Based Marriage. We have a guest couple with us today. Let's have a look at how their strengths influence their marriage.
Allan Kelsey: It's great to have you with us today. I've been so looking forward to introducing you to our guests today. Fedrick, Jaclyn, thank you so much for joining us on the show.
Fedrick Bowe: Thank you, thank you.
Allan Kelsey: Can you tell us a little bit about you, and what you do, and how long you've been married?
Fedrick Bowe: All right.
Jaclyn Bowe: Yeah. Well, I am your assistant.
Allan Kelsey: That's right, you are.
Jaclyn Bowe: So I work at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, and my husband...
Fedrick Bowe: I work for Tim Ross at Embassy City Church, and just do a lot of different things. Just call me a Swiss Army knife, I guess, whatever that means.
Allan Kelsey: You guys got married recently, right? How long have you been married?
Jaclyn Bowe: We did, one year and three months.
Allan Kelsey: I should know that, 'cause I performed the ceremony.
Jaclyn Bowe: Oh, yeah, yeah, you were there.
Allan Kelsey: There's no getting around that. We got some inside trader information going on over here, so that's good, but listen, the reason we're here today is to talk about your strengths, and how they relate to each other, particularly in the context of marriage. I thought we'd just start with you, Jaclyn. Ladies first, that's the way it's gotta be, right?
Jaclyn Bowe: Okay, here we go.
Allan Kelsey: For the sake of the viewing audience, I just want to run through, really fast, what your strengths are. You lead off with positivity, number one, which means that you need for the glass to be half full, it's kind of how you roll, you see it that way. Then number two is arranger, which means you have a natural sense, an inborn sense of how the pieces are gonna fit together, and the right way for that to happen, particularly for the best outcome if there's people involved in that gathering. Then input is number three, which means you have a curiosity, but it's not a very broad curiosity, it's kind of in a lane of things. I'm gonna be interested to find out what your lane is in a minute, so I'll come back to that in a minute. Then you have connectedness, which means that you can very intuitively and comfortably weave a story between all these random facts because, for you, they all make sense. They're all connected in some way.
Jaclyn Bowe: Yes.
Allan Kelsey: Then the last is relator. Obviously, you're wonderful with relationships, you value relationships, and you like that one-on-one communication. Fedrick, in hearing her strengths, when you first got to know her, now that you've gotten to know your strengths, do you recognize that it was a strength, maybe, that you were first lured to in her.
Fedrick Bowe: I think, probably, I think the strength that lured me the most was probably her number one, positivity. Probably because I think I too share that, so as a positive person, you gravitate to other positive people 'cause, you know, you want to take the bright side of the situation regardless of what it is, so I think that was all over, in her smile, and just her laugh, and I could just tell she was really positive and just wanted to, you know? Who's that? I want to be around her.
Allan Kelsey: You know, it strikes me, it's a reminder of this phrase, "Well, it takes one to know one". Because you are positive, and so you would interpret the positivity out of her smile and out of her laugh, whereas I might just hear it and go, "That's good". 'Cause it doesn't do the same thing for me that it does for you.
Fedrick Bowe: Doesn't do it for you.
Allan Kelsey: Huh, cool. All right, let's roll to you then, Fedrick. Let's talk about your strengths. Your number one is restorative, which means you just love to see things, and if you happen to notice that something's missing, you kind of intuitively know what it is that might be missing, and how you could restore that thing. What's on the inside there is this desire to bring it back to its former glory in some way, so fixing things, older things are probably interesting to you for that reason. You have futuristic, which means you love tomorrow. You're interested in tomorrow. You like having conversations about tomorrow. You have strategic third, which means you kind of begin with the end in mind. You like to go to the end, the obvious outcome, the one that makes the best sense, back your way out of that to where we are today, and then know that you have a plan, and if you follow that plan, then we have confidence that we'll get there. You have a strong sense of responsibility, that's number four, and that really just is this sense of dependability and utter reliability on you, where, if you say yes to something, man, we can take that to the bank, like we know that's gonna happen. Then the last is your positivity that you share with Jaclyn. Have you guys talked about your positivity? Does it present the same way, or does yours have a different kind of flavor than hers?
Fedrick Bowe: Yeah, I think it's a little different. My positivity, I think, comes out more in situational stuff, basically, happening with us, or me, or just I'm gonna take the positive side of it. It can be the worst thing ever, but I'll find that one glimmer of hope just to hold onto, just to get us through whatever the thing is that we're going through.
Jaclyn Bowe: And encourage me.
Fedrick Bowe: And encourage whatever needs it, and that way.
Jaclyn Bowe: Yeah, I have found that my positivity is more geared towards people, and encouraging people, and I actually have a harder time encouraging myself, and so it's really easy to encourage him, or encourage the situation, or encourage people to go for what they're going for. Then I think, because a lot of my strengths are relational, so I'm so geared on putting that out for other people, I have to go, "Okay, you have to turn it around, do it for yourself too".
Allan Kelsey: Yeah, well the learning I want to offer you here is that 60% of your strengths are kind of a relational building group of strengths, so your positivity takes that expression. It takes that form, where your positivity wants to show itself in people because you have a majority of relationship-building strengths, whereas yours kind of have a mix where there is some strategic thinking, and there are some executing strengths, so your positivity comes out in your thinking and get it done types of presenting, but it's still the same word, but how it expresses itself is very different.
Jaclyn Bowe: Yeah, it is.
Allan Kelsey: Today's program deals with shared control, and where that lands in a relational environment like this, in a marriage context, is just the question of traditional roles. You guys are newlyweds, and so you maybe haven't had as much time to get stuck in traditional roles, but can you, if you think about traditional roles, like what the woman's role is, and what the guy's role is, who does what, who pays the taxes, who cooks, who does whatever, talk to me a little bit about how you have settled on what your roles are gonna be in your marriage.
Fedrick Bowe: It's funny. I mean, honestly, we probably just fell into it. We knew, going into marriage, we said, "Hey, we don't want to just do the traditional thing. We just want an equal partnership. We just want to come in together, and we're gonna attack this as a team, together". From traditional standpoint, I mean, I guess I like to clean, you know, I enjoy it, so I would clean the dishes. If there's dishes in the dishwasher, I'm gonna clean them. I'll pull out the vacuum and do all that stuff. She does it too.
Jaclyn Bowe: Let's just say he does a lot of that stuff, and it is a blessing to me.
Allan Kelsey: Okay, so from an outsider's perspective, if I want to offer you a little diagnosis for why that is, he's the one with the executing strengths, so to get the things done that need to be done, for him, it's kind of easier. He just sort of gets up and is like, "Well, it's gotta be done, I'm just gonna get to it". There's a mild level of reward associated with him when it's finished, which is different than it is for you.
Jaclyn Bowe: Yeah.
Allan Kelsey: So you see that in him, huh?
Jaclyn Bowe: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I will want to do it, he just gets to it quicker, so I'm like, "Score".
Allan Kelsey: So this is the upside of the conversation. Is there a dark side to the conversation? I'm all getting in your business here for a second, but now, where one of you gets mad, like, "Come on, this is your, you said equal, you're not holding up your equal, let's go here".
Jaclyn Bowe: You probably have an area of mine.
Fedrick Bowe: Which one?
Jaclyn Bowe: Probably my closet.
Fedrick Bowe: Oh, yeah. That's a good one. It's just, I think, being an execution, I'm not OCD, or clean freak, or anything, but, I mean, when it comes to the closet, when I would hang my clothes up directly, I guess she wouldn't.
Allan Kelsey: Oh, it's really burning your positivity to even talk about this.
Fedrick Bowe: I know, it's killing me inside.
Jaclyn Bowe: He can't even look me in the eye.
Fedrick Bowe: I can't look at her eyes. I will look right at you, and say this. Sometimes, she would make piles, like a little pile here of her clothes, and I'm like, "Why is that there"?
Allan Kelsey: How'd you resolve it? What's the result?
Fedrick Bowe: My resolve is, I pick it up and hang it up.
Allan Kelsey: So you get what you want.
Fedrick Bowe: I get what I want.
Allan Kelsey: She gets what she wants.
Fedrick Bowe: She gets what she wants, and we're still, you know, we're still happy.
Jaclyn Bowe: And we're still going forward.
Allan Kelsey: Okay, good.
Jaclyn Bowe: But I do know what he loves, and seeing what he does get done, I acknowledge it more.
Fedrick Bowe: For sure.
Jaclyn Bowe: And do it.
Allan Kelsey: All right, one of the things I want to leave you with, 'cause we're running low on opportunity for this discussion, one of the things I want to leave you with is, the way that you can intentionally invest in each other's strengths as a couple, and this is gonna sound corny, but I'm just saying, this is how it works. Pick one of your strengths, any one at a time, make a note in your calendar or your diary that you're going to do something intentional for that person about that strength on that evening or during that day somehow. Maybe send them a text, write a note, leave it on the mirror before they leave, buy a little gift that makes you think of that aspect of their strength, but do something to say, "I see you through this particular lens, and I love it". Say why you love it in the communication you have. Just planting little seeds like that throughout the course of the days, weeks, months, years really brings the two of you together in a way that's not just, "Hey, I love you, and I think you're handsome", but, "I really see who you are at a deep level. Who you are as a person really matters to me".
Jaclyn Bowe: I like that.
Allan Kelsey: Okay, do you promise you'll do it.
Jaclyn Bowe: I promise.
Allan Kelsey: Okay, Fedrick.
Fedrick Bowe: I'm in.
Allan Kelsey: You hearing me?
Fedrick Bowe: I'm in.
Allan Kelsey: All right, listen, guys, thanks so much for joining us on the program.
Fedrick Bowe: Thanks for having us.
Allan Kelsey: Wonderful having you.
Jaclyn Bowe: Thank You.
Fedrick Bowe: Thank you, it's been so fun.
Jimmy Evans: I love to see stories like that. That's why we do what we do, and an example of the impact these powerful resources can have on your marriage.
Allan Kelsey: Yeah, for example, maybe your number one strength is empathy, and your spouse's strength is to be restorative. Being aware of that is so important, because it will help you to understand how each of you think. Because while someone who is empathetic will feel what others are feeling, a restorative spouse will see a problem and try to fix it. They both want there to be resolution and understanding, peace and growth, but their perspectives are completely opposite, and if misunderstood by each other, can be cause for some really heated discussion.
Allan Kelsey: But trust me, no matter what situation you're in, your marriage can thrive in every area, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And we wanna help you experience that today, so request your Strengths Based Marriage resources with your gift, and discover the principles you need, to see yourself, your spouse, and your marriage in a new amazing way.