30 August 2012

A Husband's Short-lived Enthusiasm

It starts with a simple choice. The husband, weary of his miserable home life, decides to man up to the challenge. He wants a satisfying marriage, a happy family life, a stable home for his children, so he decides that is exactly what he is going to have. He swings his feet off the couch, switches off the television, shakes the crumbs off his shirt, and sits up straight. Yes, he wants something better. He knows that deep down he isn’t useless or pathetic as his wife keeps telling him he is. He knows he can do better. He knows he wants to do better.

He looks around the room. Perhaps something will trigger an idea? He notices the picture on the wall is skew, so he gets up and straightens it. Nice. He sees his pile of unopened mail on the coffee table, so he sits down and opens the top three envelopes. Junk mail. He pushes the remaining, unopened envelopes aside. Too boring. He wants something exciting to do - something that will go well with his new commitment to be the head of his home. Lucky for him, he doesn’t have long to wait. He hears his wife’s car in the driveway. He sits down, impatient for her to enter the room, eager to share his new-found enthusiasm with her.

His wife enters the room, and he greets her with a very warm, “Hi, sweetie. How was...” Before he can finish the question, she lashes out verbally. “Do you know what I had to spend the last two hours doing? Fixing the mess you made. Again.” The husband is clueless, and looks quizzically at his wife. “The utilities bills you insisted on paying? Remember? The very same bills you failed to pay three months running, and which I reminded you over and over again to pay each time we received a reminder call. The same bills I offered four times to handle for you? Do you remember now? I don’t know why I let you do anything around the house. You are always forgetting. Sometimes you act like a little child.”

The husband sinks back into the couch, wishing it could swallow him. He remembers now. He did promise to pay those bills. He did forget a few times. His wife did remind him. Then he wasn’t sure what happened. Somehow it all got away from him. Work kept him busy and... Yes, he forgot again. He feels stupid. His wife is probably right about him being too immature to handle a few bills. What made him think he could be the head of his home? Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Yes, a husband can make the simple decision to be the head of his home. It only takes a second to choose that. But what if you as the husband don’t feel like you have what it takes? How do you keep heading in the right direction when everything points to you being inadequate as the leader of the home? Shouldn’t you just gracefully step down and let your brilliant, sexy, articulate wife (who seems more than qualified to lead) just keep doing what she was doing all along?


  1. The picture you paint is of a mutual failure. Let's assume the wife has only ever thought of male leadership in terms of domineering and oppression. How can the husband rise past his self-doubt and start to make a positive change in a way that encourages him to continue?

    1. The scenario is certainly a sad scene of mutual failure, Kevan. It is included here as a stimulator: its purpose is to get a husband or wife thinking about the role they play in keeping their partner from becoming the husband with authority or the wife who submits graciously. Many people today do associate traditional marriage roles with weak women who cannot think for themselves and domineering men who oppress their wives. A big part of this blog is to explore these modern ideas, expose the misconceptions, and highlight the truths about old fashioned marriage with traditional roles. Later, we will take a closer look at why modern husbands fear the label of "head of the household" and dread being seen as controlling and domineering husbands. We will also try to explore strategies that will help husbands get beyond this fear and rise up to take on the authority that will enrich their marriage. Keep your comments and ideas flowing, Kevan. We look forward to addressing some of the issues you have raised.