Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why A Wife Led Marriage is Best For All

  I've talked before about how our wife-led marriage has freed up my time considerably.  I now have lots more "me" time to read, watch TV,  listen to music or whatever I want.  I used to get almost none of that.

Now, I'm much happier and at peace with my life.  So, that's been great for me of course.  But, it wouldn't work if it wasn't also better for my husband and kids.

Fortunately, it is.  Because I have more control over my time, I now have time and space to do the serious thinking and planning about where our family should be headed and how we get there.  In many chaotic families, no one does that because everyone is running around like crazy trying to keep up with life.   Inevitably, balls  get dropped, mistakes are made, important things get left undone, and that just causes more problems and more stress later.

Just like in a business, at home, someone has to keep tabs on what needs to be done and make sure it gets done.  That happens best when one person takes the lead and for the most part  schedules everyone's time.  That way no doctors appointments are missed; not late to kids sports practices, trips to the vet, working with the kids schoolwork, lawn mowed, trash out, dishes done, laundry kept up, groceries bought, etc, etc, etc.

Like it or not, in nearly every household, this job is best done by the woman of the house.  She knows best all the stuff that needs to be done to keep a house running.  Frankly, most men don't.  They really aren't as well equipped as their wives to keep track of it all.  (And, they know this and will agree with it.)   Men are very focused.  They can achieve great things when focused on particular tasks.  This is true whether in the workplace or at home.  But, they are not nearly as good at juggling lots of things at once.  So, it's your job to do that and keep him focused on what's most important for him to be doing.  In a female-led relationship (the best kind) -- you get to decide what's important for your man to do at any given time.

So, for me, I spend time each weekend, creating schedules for everyone.  Once you do it once, it's much easier after that.  These are high-level schedules, not every single task.  But, the big things for each day.  I have one chart for each member of the family and I fill in what they need to do.  I have a separate list of everything that needs to be done, simply listed out.  75% of that list are recurring things that need to happen each week.  Grocery shopping; trash out, house cleaned, lawn mowed, etc.  The other 25% are things unique to that week:  Dr's visits, teacher conferences, etc.  Then, I simply move things from the master list onto the individual lists.

Alex, of course, carries the heaviest load since he can do the most. But, I also try to give serious jobs to the kids and I have the time to teach them how to do the job.  It's good for them to learn that.  I might have a group project that I put Alex in charge of, but, privately, I tell Alex what needs to be done.  He gets to lead in the eyes of the kids, and whoever else is around, but, of course, really I'm the one ensuring it gets done right.

So, that leadership role is a heavy responsiblity for me.  If something doesn't get done, that needed to get done, it is really my fault first and foremost.  I set the priorities, assign the tasks, and ensure they are done correctly.  If that doesn't happen, unless someone has completely defied me (which will require strong consequences) -- then it is my fault for not enforcing the schedule and standards.

Again, though, can you see how important it is that someone fills this role?  And, if you, and your husband are really honest, you will both agree that you are best equipped to fulfill the role of leader of the household.
Of course, it's tricky.  Society has imposed certain expectations that the man is the leader.  Frankly, I don't fight that.  I don't flout my authority.  My husband runs his work life as he wants (mostly; though I keep careful tabs on it and give him direction when needed).  I give my husband his schedule for the week, but I do that privately.  I don't want to bruise his ego by showing him up in front of the kids or anyone else.  After all, I love him dearly and wouldn't want to hurt him (and maybe ruin the good thing we have going).
I don't want the kids telling their friends that their mom assigns tasks in writing to their dad.  Again, in most families this is actually pretty much what happens anyway.  It's just the formalization of it that is unusual.  I do what I do, partially because it's what he wants actually, and it just works well.    He knows what he needs to do for the week because I tell him.  And, believe me, he gets it done.  But, that's between us.  No one casually observing our family would realize how different we really are.   After all, most women behave similarly actually. It's just that in most families the roles aren't as formalized as they are in ours.  In most families, the man does what he wants and the woman is left to handle everything else, which inevitably is much more than the man is actually doing.  And, when the family is doing something together, it normally will be the woman who is telling everyone what to do, where to go, etc.   It's just that it's much more chaotic and the roles and responsibilities much more unclear --  resulting in wasted time, duplication of efforts, dropped balls, anger at times, frustration, etc.

In our relationship, the roles are clear and understood.  We each get better at our jobs every day.  And, we're all having our needs fulfilled.  My husband gets "turned on" by complying with my directions, he says he enjoys that; it makes him "hot."   And, it does the same for me.

Our family functions well, harmoniously, and we have fun and great sex.  I get more free time but it's understood I need that because I also have the most ultimate responsibility to keep everything operating smoothly.


  1. This is a great article, very well written and really shows the real life, day to day running of a female led relationship, and how when balanced and conducted from a stand point of mutual love and respect, as is obviously the case here, it is a very harmonious balanced and beautiful way to form your marriage or relationship and raise your family. As a man for whom female led relationships appeal, but wondered how they work practically in day to day life this is a wonderful artificial showing its function.
    A great many thanks to Emily for sharing this.

  2. Thank you for the nice article, Emily. I think men benefit from having the structure and discipline of female leadership at home. It helps us channel our energies better and makes for a smoother relationship. Obviously your husband finds it fulfilling to follow your agenda. As a man who's seriously interested in this type of relationship, I find it inspirational to read how couples make this work.

  3. Great article. Would you consider doing a review of my book: Real Women Don't Do Housework?