Passive Men & Overbearing Women


Chris and I have made no secret of our marriage struggles; we feel we are to steward that season with transparency to share hope and Jesus through it.

If you are trying to do marriage without Jesus, we are concerned. There is nothing natural about marriage – two independent, selfish people living together for fifty or so years, raising needy, dependent children amid the stress of scrapping out a life together. Its only hope is the supernatural. We shouldn’t at all be surprised by the state of marriage. Even Christian couples who take their eyes off Jesus – even briefly – can and do easily end up in a ditch. We are convinced Jesus is the ONLY hope for a healthy marriage that lasts. We don’t think it’s possible any other way.

The fact that Chris Cawthon and I are still married is the work of Jesus.



We’ve been married seventeen years, and we spent a year in Christian counseling (individually and as a couple). We want all marriages to win, and we’re not afraid to tell you we sucked it up real good before we discovered what God intended for us all along.

Chris emerged from the fray with a dogged fervor for the restoration of manhood – particularly in the church. So much so that he’s hosting M*A*R*C*H, a real-talk event for men only, next week (Thursday, September 10). We are both committed to facilitating honest conversation between men and women to help couples succeed in their relationships.

Let’s dive in….shall we?

Fellas, hear me……..We women want you to be men! We want you to lead. We need you to love Jesus more than you love us. And we need you to find your validation in Him. That’s a weight we cannot bear.

Duty and obligation aren’t your best looks. Neither is bully.

Jesus looks good on you.

Adventure looks good on you.

Laughter is dashing.

Leadership looks strong on you. And we need you to know, if there is a leadership vacuum in our relationship….we’ll fill it. Even though that’s not supposed to be our role. And deep down, we really don’t want to.

And if your idea of leadership focuses on the Biblical command for wives to submit more than you take seriously your mandate to serve, your definition of leadership is inaccurate. Jesus is the example. In fact, Dr. Tony Evans says, “[w]hen a husband refuses the authority of Christ and attempts to follow his own way, he forfeits any expectation of submission from his wife” (I’m still testing that against Truth, but he makes a compelling point).

We want you to be our safe place. Even though we sabotage that by hurting you. In response to being hurt by you.

We want to feel fought for.

And we care about feeling beautiful….even if we say we don’t.

We want you to regularly plan dates – arranging the sitter and making the decisions. We want you to create space and time and quiet for us to invest in our sanity and our souls. Your forethought and intentionality make us feel loved and led well.


Ladies, I love you. You’re my people. But we bear a responsibility for the state of our relationships that I don’t feel we accept. We’re pretty good at being blamers [rolling of eyes, pointing of fingers].

When we treat our men like one of our children, we are out of line.

And whether we know it or not, if our husbands “do what we tell them,” it makes us sad in the inmost closet of our hearts. Because we are standing in a role God never intended us to fill.

So if you want your man to lead, get out of his spot.

When we bark and sneer at him publicly, when we disrespect him in front of our children, or even in private, we emasculate him. There is no more grievous offense against a man.

We also dishonor the Lord with our contempt. Which puts us in a scary place before Him (Psalm 111:10).

Our guys want us to know they are often haunted by a fear of failure. And when we aren’t their biggest fans, we hurt them in a way no one else in the world has the opportunity to do. AND, we need to know they become more susceptible to the attention of someone who may cheer them on.

Victimhood doesn’t look good on us. Insolence is not in style. Chris is not driving home thinking, “Man, I hope Cookie is frazzled and tyrannical when I get there.”

Girls, I do not minimize the difficulty of raising young kiddos. I know showering is a legit struggle, but if we are not trading childcare with a friend, forking out some dollars for a sitter, or asking nearby relatives or the husband to watch the children so we can recharge, we don’t get to complain. In fact, we are often given to a martyr-complex, and we need to knock it off.

You are a woman before you are a wife or a mother. Your identity isn’t in either of those roles. Your identity is only secure in Jesus.


This is hard business, people. This kind of talk isn’t much fun, but hopefully it pushes the ball forward and can possibly serve as a conversation starter in your marriage.

[Feature image: Valentina Mabilia]
When a Dream Dies
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  1. Kathy Hutchinson
    Kathy HutchinsonReply
    September 2, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Girl you are on point! This is oh so good and it’s loaded with so much truth! Thank you so much for sharing your gift of writing with the world!!!

    • Cookie Cawthon
      September 2, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      Girl, I love that you and Brent share a similar passion for marriages!

  2. Jeannie
    September 2, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Amen! So true. It takes BOTH willing to do the work together. If one doesn’t want to, it is a hard life. This I know! I’d rather be alone than be with a man who does not put God first. Good for you two! Your blessings will multiply to others who need this, too. God bless you!

    • Cookie Cawthon
      September 2, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      Unfortunately, Jeannie, the things we’ve learned came at the hands of a lot of mistakes. It is fun to watch God make good from the yuck though… Thank you for reading and commenting!

  3. Martha Davis
    Martha DavisReply
    September 3, 2015 at 1:41 am

    Cookie, like you and Chris, Rusty and I aren’t afraid to tell people about our marital problems because I know that God did an amazing work in our marriage. Those first two years were horrible and scary and when he showed up in my office and said he was leaving me, and I didn’t have a clue why, I asked God why He put this man in my life if we communicated so poorly that I didn’t even realize he wanted to leave me! God healed our marriage but Godly counseling got the ball rolling.

    We’ve been married 22 years and we still struggle but the struggles are just different. The biggest change is that after those early years, we knew that whatever happened in our marriage had to be what God decided and if we were obedient that submission would never be a problem and that he would listen to God’s voice on how to be the spiritual leader of our home!

    Praying for M-A-R-C-H! I’ll pass the word along!

    • Cookie Cawthon
      September 3, 2015 at 5:22 am

      Thank you, Martha! You are right….when all is aligned with the Lord’s design for marriage, submission brings freedom and security. Thank you for helping promote MARCH; it’s going to be a great night.

  4. Jane
    September 3, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Thank you for this blog, and the MARCH event. Mt question is, are you going to hold an event for ladies???
    Jack and I have been married for 17 years also. I feel as tho our stories are so similar, excluding you guys having 2 beautiful daughters and we have no children.
    The struggle is real to follow and not attempt to take the leadership role.
    As a past leader of a ladies home group, I would LOVE for you to do a semester Bible study on this topic. We ladies need to get this right or the wheels will continue to fall of the marriage.
    Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Cookie Cawthon
      September 3, 2015 at 8:35 am

      I love your question, Jane! I haven’t really thought about doing that, but I do agree with you about a need for it. I am thick in the midst of another project, but I am going to pray about your suggestion… It’ll be cool to see what the Lord does with it. Thank you for reading!

  5. Grace
    September 3, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    This blog entry is full of wisdom. I have forwarded to all my children and their spouses.
    I am surprised I have not heard of this MARCH event. Is it open to the public? Where has it been publicized?
    I’d like to tell my church about it

    • Cookie Cawthon
      September 3, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Grace! MARCH is the first event of this kind but there are definitely plans for future events. This time around it has been primarily promoted on social media, but thank you for helping us spread the word.

  6. H
    September 5, 2015 at 11:50 am

    It’s a catch twenty-two for Christian wives, isn’t it. Don’t repond to, react, or behave hurt by our husbands, because then they’ll be even MORE open to “other women”. There were no fear tactics used in talking to men, but it seems that fear tactic is always used on Christian women and it honestly has my heart constantly in paralyzing fear.

  7. Kurt
    September 5, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Great article! Thank you!

  8. Lauren
    September 8, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    This makes no mention of same-sex couples? What are we supposed to do? If we’re both women, when should we back off and let the other lead?

  9. Gail Garrison
    Gail GarrisonReply
    July 21, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Please send me some info about MARCH if it’s not full.

    • ShipShop
      July 25, 2017 at 11:07 am

      Gail, the next MARCH event will be in September at the FMU BCM. Chris Cawthon will email you more information about the event!

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