Did God place this man over me as my protector-leader, and I his partner-helpmeet? Is there ever going to be a dominant husband in my life, or is this just a cruel fiction?
There are times in a marriage when the relational dynamics just don’t feel right. And over the past several years it’s become crystal clear that I NEED, and what I’ve needed all along and desired, is to feel my husband is leading, that he’s the dominant factor in this relationship. To that end, I’ve tried so hard to step up my surrender and submission.
No easy feat when you mix a strong woman like me into the equation!
- I struggle to respect weak men.
- I cannot respect bullies and un-chivalrous men.
- I warm to confident, kind men who can make decisions, yet strive for fairness and courtesy.
- I crave a decisive man who understands, respects, AND knows how to lead a strong woman without stripping her of her dignity and power: a leader who inspires smart people to follow him and strengthen him; a leader, who when the moment requires, makes a necessary but unpopular decision because it is the right thing, and people still want to follow him because he is proven to be trustworthy. I don’t mind becoming putty and in thrall to such a man.
- To feel safe/content/happy, I need to know he can take care of me (even though I can take care of myself).
The line between courtesy and decisiveness is blurry for SJ. He’ll never utter the command form of a sentence. It’s always, “What do you think…” or “Would you like to…” There never is a firm utterance, a statement with conviction. He prides himself on being “nice” and courteous. AND, nice can be good, a highly underrated quality. I remind myself to feel blessed that he is a kind man. But “nice” can also slide into an appearance of weak, such as his goal to “keep the peace at ALL costs…” Including tucking his tail in at times, conflict avoidance, not making a decision, to ensure keeping the peace. I know, I should also be grateful for a peaceful man. I’ve just named 2 of the 9 Fruit of the Spirit, and he pretty much has them all.
So what’s wrong with me, and why am I in this funk?
My confidence waivers when his leadership goes missing. When he stops being THE MAN. I feel discombobulated and out of sorts. And angry. And betrayed. It’s hard to put in words. But I know it has to do with feeling respect. And trusting that he IS THE MAN.
I have a dominant personality. It’s my non-wife default. I have leadership and planning skills that others appreciate. I’m no shrinking violet. I can easily follow a good leader, because I believe I value and recognize the characteristics of strong leadership. However, I can’t abide by weak, lazy, unfair, or indecisive leaders.
But I THOUGHT my exerting my dominance wasn’t a good way to run a marriage–it didn’t seem to be working well for us. Ever since we’ve made efforts to turn this marriage around, based on a premise of a husband-leader model, I admit a struggle remains for us. He wants to lead when he feels like it. And he wants to acquiesce, frequently, because it requires less energy and is easier. It “keeps the peace.” Easier to let me take over, and in the absence of leadership, my dominant personality will rise.
This issue tends to really raise its ugly head when we travel together. I’m “deputized” to plan our trips, because I’m good at it. However I expect him to be invested and able to make decisions in the process. To take me by the hand. Instead, once we hit the road, he seems to want a vacation from being a husband. I really feel like I lose my husband, and it gnaws at me.
So our otherwise nice mini-vacation disintegrated into more than the stresses of traveling as a couple. Traveling together is so vividly emblematic of his reluctance to be a leader. Or, the kind of man who can be strong in the presence of a strong woman. It always tends to raise that uncomfortable question, “Does he really want that role of husband-leader-protector?” And, “Can I happily be with a man who isn’t a natural leader? Someone who can’t handle me? Who perhaps is afraid to take charge?” I suppose I’ve resigned myself that there never will be a passionate “throw-down,” a feeling of being pursued and conquered. That’s not him. Or maybe he just never has felt that towards me…
My silence has endured well past my breaking point nearly 2 days ago, because I just don’t know what to think or say, and I don’t want to say ugly and hurtful things (he’s tried to get me to talk… I’ve asked for time). Comically, it takes us hitting difficult times for him to FINALLY to take the effort to read my blog… as if he’ll find answers here (and all he found was sweet stuff). He feigns interest in my writing and starts to ask questions to get me to talk. It’s almost more sad to feel him suddenly pretend to take an interest, as if he’s searching for a formula to step up his game. We’ve had this same fight before. I feel I lose my strong, leader-husband, I get tired of having to make all the decisions, to feel him so uninvested in what we’re doing. There’s little intimacy or romance. We revert to roommates. There’s no heart-felt passion. He’ll claim he’s having a fine time; but I get sick of being THE Mommy, THE ADULT, making the decisions and calling all the shots!
(Pause here to put my head in my hands and sigh…)
And he righteously proclaims he’s being “nice” and “agreeable.” That I need to specify when I want a response from him. Seriously? As if a question mark at the end of my sentence doesn’t signal that? In response to that, my total bitch voice responded– “Do not worry about me. If I have a problem, an issue, I’ll let you know!! But just make a damn decision, plan something!”
Do men need weak women to be able to lead? Why do men seem so scared shitless to relate to a strong, smart woman (who incidentally has clearly stated her desire to be “taken in hand” and remains invested in this relational style? Notice that I don’t say “handled.” Smart, strong women can’t be handled; they can be led by a smart, strong, confident, worthy man.)
There’s so much good, I know there is. I love him, and we have a better life than most. HE IS A GOOD MAN. He’ll ensure I’m taken care of. He’ll not be mean. He’ll keep the peace. We’ll get along like good roommates. He kind of rolls over, and frankly, if I had a mind to, I could lead him by the nose. But that wouldn’t make me happy.
But I still can’t help but get depressed at times to think that after all these years, I’ve just not met a man who has the confidence to step up and handle me. I guess I was hoping maybe he was the one who could…