My wife loves decisive strength, and I’m happy to provide it. She is very capable, by any estimation, and has learned to offload serious problems onto me, trusting that I’ll protect our future, our home, and our kids. She really seems to enjoy watching me, as I wrestle with sticky situations, and set them right. She definitely loves the results. I resolve things quickly, tying up any loose ends and sparing her from guilt and nagging insecurity.
We tried doing it differently for many years, equally sharing authority and responsibility. Guess what? We were miserable. It’s no wonder, since we aren’t wired that way. I focus on specific problems, stripping away the debris, and choosing the best solution. In contrast, she juggles a million thoughts at once, with each one impacting all of the rest. Our complementary strengths and weaknesses define our relationship, so understanding them is critical. With the benefit of hindsight, we’ll never again swap roles or behave as though we’re interchangeable. No, we've shifted toward a Taken in Hand marriage exactly because it makes us more effective—and so much happier.
I’m fascinated by her feminine subtlety—especially the mysteries that she keeps hidden. She’s a challenge, on any given day. Her overlapping, fluid notions are all intertwined with powerful emotions. I might give up in frustration, except that on rare occasions, in just the right light, she reveals herself.
A few weeks ago, I caught a glimpse of her core, and it wasn’t very flattering. I got lazy and let my responsibility slip, telling her to resolve a problem on her own. She responded to my failure in a startling manner; going rigid, as all color drained from her face. I noticed a sudden chill and guessed what was wrong. She confirmed my suspicion; I had let her down. She also confessed that it was a purely emotional reaction, but that wasn’t the point. As my control waned, she became very anxious; her protection was missing, and she felt abandoned and vulnerable. She doesn’t need perfection, she just needs commitment and attention. I need to keep my hands on the reins, at all times. She’d feel it if I let go.
I fixed things by admitting my mistake, and reasserting control, insisting that it’s always my job to keep us calm by absorbing stress. It was astonishing. She sighed and visibly relaxed. Relieved of that burden, she refocused her energy toward me, in the form of affection and complete dependence. My blunder turned into renewed intimacy and trust. It was a fantastic trade. I blew it, and felt lousy, but I learned a valuable lesson.
Of course, some choices are tougher than others, and may take more reflection. Usually, that’s fine. Lacking an instant answer, I’ll tell my wife to wait, while I think it through. She’s fine with that. There’s a big difference between hesitation and due consideration. A moment to weigh the cost is reasonable, and I’ve found ways to make it pay dividends.
When I’m smart, I take advantage of my gal’s abilities without compromising my role as head of our household. It would be foolish to heap worries onto her pretty shoulders. There are better uses of her time. When I need her help, in finding a solution, I make it into something positive. Here are some easy examples:
1. If I need more time to think, I just tell her to wait. She can sit still and realize that I’m dealing with it. We both get positive reinforcement.
2. If I need more information, I ask what else she knows. She gets to help out in a significant way, but the final decision still rests with me. No worries.
3. If she doesn’t volunteer any ideas, I can require her opinion without passing off the responsibility. Either way, I take her views into account, and she sees me doing my job, considering all of the options, because I care about us.
4. If I don’t see the importance, I ask her what she wants. I don’t trivialize her interests, but rather place them front and center. I want her to be happy.
As long as I acknowledge her value and keep a steady hand, she complies, without objection. We stay tightly connected, and everything works out in the end.
I try to be consistent, and avoid switching in and out of my leadership role. She would notice any discrepancy and become frustrated, so I pay attention, even to the little things. When we both feel secure and comfortable, our natural intimacy multiplies. She needs my strength and I need her affection. It’s a powerful dynamic and we’re thoroughly hooked—and very fortunate.