Partners in Life

There are few things more destructive to a marriage than for one partner to treat the other partner like a child. It’s un-sexy, unattractive, and unhealthy to not be partners in life.


Men need partners in life, not another “mom.” Everyone loses if the relationship deteriorates into more of a “mom/son” situation.

With the woman trying to keep track of everything that’s important, and the man trying to coast through life just trying to have fun, no wonder so many marriages show signs of stress and failure!

I recently met a married couple that had 2 kids. The wife said about her husband, “He’s my 3rd child.”

She said it with a mater-of-fact tone to her voice, as if it were normal and healthy to have that type of marriage relationship. She never even noticed her husband’s slight blush and his withdrawal from the conversation.


The age-old Biblical pattern for marriage is found in Genesis 2:24, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

From a man’s perspective, a happy, healthy marriage includes trading a “mother” for a “partner in life.” If instead, he gets a replacement “Mom,” things can quickly go from bad to worse in the relationship.

At the very least, this lack of respect will cause the man to back away from giving all his strength, courage and effort to his wife and kids. This kind of treatment can even drive him into the arms another woman who IS willing to deal more respectfully with him.


So, here are 4 ways men don’t need another “mom” in their lives:

  1. Men don’t need to have their immaturity encouraged.

Yes, men might tell or laugh at inappropriate humor. Of course we will probably be too forgetful, too messy, too lazy, too something. But that doesn’t mean that women should mentally categorize and treat us as if we were little children to be managed in some way.

When dealing with immaturity on the part of their men, women often forget to factor in a man’s pride and stubbornness. When you include those into the equation, it’s easy to see why many attempts by a wife to “nudge” or “encourage” maturity backfire.

Sometimes, a woman’s goal is, “Maybe I can embarrass him into changing.” Most of the time, when she makes that attempt, a man will think to himself, “If she doesn’t respect me any more than that, why should I burden myself to make things better for her?”

It doesn’t matter how well deserved it is for a husband to be treated like a child, if you do so, it will probably NOT work out well. No matter what the “reasons” are, and no matter what your goals were, DON’T encourage a man to be more immature.

  1. Men don’t need “reminders” to become “nagging.”

I recently saw a t-shirt that said, “If a man says he will fix it he will. There is no need to remind him about it every six months.” The saying was humorous on several levels at the same time. Men tend to procrastinate and women can get sucked into nagging about it.

A woman basically reduces a man to kid status if they are constantly, day in and day out, serving as the “reminder person.” It also places an unfair responsibility burden on her.

Some reminders are needed and very welcome. But some things are more important than others. Everything in life doesn’t need a rigid timetable and rigorous management. And sometimes that means something gets forgotten and left undone. Ok. So be it.

  1. Men don’t need to have everything done for them.

Adult partners need to be just that – partners. That implies a level of confidence and trust in each other that leaves room for the other’s performance (and failure) in various parts of the partnership.

If a woman finds herself being a one-woman show, she needs to lighten up and allow some things to go undone. Many men enjoy being the “fix-it-guy,” even if they are unqualified to do so. Give him the chance to see the need, try and perhaps even fail at filling it.

Maybe the woman is a control freak. Maybe the man is a lazy bum. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Regardless, you simply MUST discuss this as a real couple in a real partnership. Work it out!

  1. Men don’t need to be sheltered from childcare.

It’s true that “dad childcare” can look much different than “mom childcare.” I don’t remember ever seeing Tammy swinging our infants by their feet or carrying them like a football. And pre-school teachers can sometimes see that a hurried dad had dressed a child when a mom was in bed sick.

Some women find themselves unable to “allow” less than perfect parenting skills when it comes to their children. And, some men are so fearful of making their spouses angry or of doing the job poorly, that they avoid all of the childcare duties that they can.

Something is very wrong when a woman feels free to leave her man in charge of a house, but not in charge of the kids. Why would you give your life to a man who is untrustworthy with children?

And something is very unhealthy when a man thinks his only responsibility to the process of rearing children is to provide his part of the genetic code. Why would you allow the next generation of “mini-mes” to venture out into the world without your finger prints all over them?

Parenting should be a team sport. Both parents should be actively involved, even if they approach the details of doing it differently.


Don’t settle for a “mother/son” relationship in your marriage. Have the rough discussions. Force yourself to act and react differently. Do the difficult work needed to build a true partnership together. Trust me; it’s worth the cost!


Like What You See Here?

Click Here

Sign up for free updates and other occasional goodies from Dr. Rick Janelle.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *