Lead me with Strong Hands

img_0300Did 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!

My “issues:”

  • 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 img_0301courtesy.
  • 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?

img_0297My 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. img_0303

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!”

img_0306Do 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…

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16 Responses to Lead me with Strong Hands

  1. toraprincess says:

    So much of this is familiar. Sometimes it’s keeping the peace and sometimes it’s that he truly doesn’t have a preference and that’s hard for me to accept.
    I get the wanting a forceful show have strong desire and passion. That just isn’t something he’s comfortable with.

    Like

    • LOL, you “feel” me! I hate to complain, because there truly is a LOT of good here. No doubt his list of my peccadilloes is quite long. I struggle sometimes not to go to the negative… but I do occasionally fight the demons and don’t quite know what to do with this.

      Thanks for weighing in!

      Liked by 1 person

      • toraprincess says:

        Yes mine is SO good. I’m learning to be content with where we are and realizing that maybe I don’t want all that I thought I did when I opened this door. So in many ways it is good he didn’t go full tilt. lol
        Sometimes it can be frustrating or maybe it’s a real urge for a little something more. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s good to realize these things. Sadly, I think I’m still a little stuck in the desire that this thing would be “full tilt.” That looks like resignation sometimes, which isn’t always a positive reaction. All we can strive for is happy where we are planted I suppose, but tell that to a dreamer!! Thanks for your thoughts!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. C for now says:

    Some play in the world while others live in it. A bedroom game is very different from a lifestyle and this has had me pondering a bit lately.

    A person is dominant/submissive or they aren’t. No amount of talk changes it. One may assume that role to please another but they can’t maintain the facade. One born to it might attempt to tamp down desires but they to shall fail. Communication and middle ground are important to those in “mixed marriages” seeking harmony. I know your efforts to submit but he needs to meet them with efforts to lead.

    Questions welcome as I know my head isn’t good and this may appear as gibberish.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “No amount of talk changes it…” I know this is true, but at the same time a depressing thought. I also don’t like the “assuming roles” because it feels fake and contrived. Ironically, he’s the one who several years ago gave me an acronym to describe what he felt I needed from him: PLUG (weird acronym…) Pursued, Led, Understood, Gifts. I totally am on board with the first three; Gifts are nice, but not high on my list of needs. More than likely I go into these funks when there’s a paucity of PLU from him. Conversely, from me he needs: Respect, Interest, and Patience. As I mentioned in a comment above, the list of my failures to live up is probably quite long too. Middle ground… Sigh. It’s the only place to go. I prayed for grace and forgiveness today, because God knows none of us are perfect and we are entitled to screw up. I question what it is about myself that can allow for such a violent and desperate downward spiral at times. Maybe it’s the hopeless dreamer in me.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

      Like

      • C for now says:

        I hope you didn’t see condemnation. As you well know, I faced problems as well so I’m not prefect. In this moment is when the not nice sad comes out. It doesn’t spring to tear you down however. It’s the hope that my honest answer might be the one that is most beneficial.

        Good luck ma’am.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your honest answers are always so appreciated. I apologize if my responses aren’t as quick. I have a little break-down when it comes to “technology.” I generally can only respond to comments effectively while on the big computer (vs. phone) thus a delay. And, when the flares are bad, typing isn’t an option. Yes, I’ve been told I need to investigate voice recognition. Ugh. As a writer, the keyboard has always been a flow in the process of thoughts.

        Like

      • C for now says:

        Hope you feel well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. sandra3364 says:

    Oh I get this too it’s like being on a roller coaster! Sometimes it’s fantastic and other times it dips so low we can’t help but feel upset and all reasoning/respect/tolerance etc goes out the window 😞 Hope your on a better route today 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for your words of encouragement.

      I rarely get to my desk top these days… using my phone for so much. However I find I cannot easily post responses to comments on my phone… so I apologize when there’s a delay!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Bret says:

    Hi,
    I’m writing nearly a year after you posted this blog. How would you describe being “Taken in Hand”?

    Like

    • That’s a very good question, which probably has many different answers. Google it and you’ll see many. In a nutshell, it’s a “traditional” marriage where without question the husband is the leader of the wife and the family, no matter how strong the wife is, no matter how many degrees she has, or how capable she is. There is an air of confidence and self-assuredness that goes along with this. This man will take you by the hand and you will feel his no-nonsense but benevolent leadership. He’s not a perfect man by any means. But he’s brave to be decisive and to lead even when it’s not popular. And, for many women, it’s a man who pursues and “claims” his woman. She never doubts or questions his love and attraction. Biblically submitting to this man is a no-brainer because he loves his wife as Christ loved the church and more than his own body. To “take in hand” means “taking care of business.” Beyond these descriptions there can be various permutations. Many women want an aggressively loving approach to aroise feelings of respect. A guy who exudes the confidence to say, “you are mine.” Often a couple will discuss and agree to aspects of “TIH” that work well for them, such as the wife’s willingness to give “open consent” to his decisions.

      So much I DO respect about him. He’s doing his best to be a responsible husband, trustworthy and fair. But there is no strong “pursuit” or “throw down ” going on around here. And I realize that despite my attempts at submission I am a lot to handle.

      Like

  5. Have you read the surrendered wife? I know the author had a lot of stick, but I found it honest and earnestly written. She was a strong woman and capable, and her story is very similar to yours, but she writes about how she enabled her husband to take the lead – it may help. I would also recommend fascinating womanhood, it is also an interesting read.
    I think its hard these days to know where the balance lies, so many arguments are caused by the balance of power. I think once this is settled in a relationship – there is nothing to argue with.
    I wish you all the best in your journey.

    Like

    • I appreciate your thoughts. Yes, I have read The Surrendered Wife (as well as many others similar books). The author had good insights, and the right ideas; her motivation and execution though left me a little disenchanted. It sometimes felt like she was being “manipulative” and belittling/disrespectful of her husband in her process of “surrendering.” Her end game was to have harmony and a better marriage; the motivation was not biblical but more self-centered. I would have liked to see more selflessness in her motivations, more attribution to God’s design and plan. Thanks for reading , following and commenting!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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