51. I can’t tell you HOW to run a family. But I have developed a model of WHAT to do to become a more effective leader, husband, and father. It all comes from business ideas and workable solutions gained during 50 years in the workforce and 59 years married to the same woman who wonderfully raised three sons in spite of my often unproductive interference.
It’s natural for your job to come first. Now, how do you merge your career with her job, her career, children, and still enable her to blend and enrich the home with harmony? With you as husband and her as wife that reports to you, it’s a tough challenge but you’re still responsible for the big picture and success. Do it right and wife will let you lead as her hero. Otherwise, …?
Modern women have developed a bad habit; they seek to rule over men. Your biggest problem will be the challenges she puts in your face as she tries to later boss you. It won’t come at first but in a year or two after romantic love fades and she’s grown weary of trying to get you to do things her way. It won’t develop into too big a problem if you lead properly and effectively from the start. Consequently, I present the following.
You may want to consider using the model described below as the best way to organize, view, and generate purposeful functioning within your home, family, and life.
Family success depends on your leadership of wife and wife’s subordinate leadership of family. So, organize and train a hierarchy that’s reasonably familiar and easy to make effective.
You are CEO, ultimate authority, and most highly respected when you don’t use your authority. Wife is chief operating officer (COO) directly responsible to you; all others are responsible to her. Who are the others? Wife as mother, you as father, and the children. Treat mother as executive VP reporting to herself as your wife. Make yourself assistant VP reporting to mother as her assistant for raising the children. Remind everyone frequently of distinct roles and separate responsibilities.
Because you and wife married, all else flows out of that. Your marriage is sacrosanct and the most important connection that needs to be protected, continually strengthened, and held together at all costs. All else is minor except in emergencies.
(If mother and kids are prioritized above wife, husband, or the marriage, the relationship has started to dissolve and you’re unlikely to be able to stop or even slow it. Moms who marry after they give birth are very prone to making the child come before husband on even the simplest of issues. So beware. I advise you to cut a deal in courtship about who ranks highest in her mind when push comes to shove. You and marriage or her child(ren) who have their own lives to live now and later?)
As executive VP of children with you as her assistant, mom reigns supreme over raising kids; you rank as second in command. Doesn’t mean you can’t boss them; just do it such that you don’t undermine mom as primary leader. Doesn’t mean you lose your status, prestige, and respect as husband. In fact, your respecting mom as boss of kids elevates your position as husband and CEO. IOW, you’re ‘higher up’ as her backup than squabbling down at a lower level.
Families melt down when there’s no one left at the top to peacefully resolve squabbles. So, if you’re directly involved in issues that divide, there’s no one left at the top to impose fairness and resolve differences.
(Two equal bosses cause conflict and confusion and teach followers to play one boss against the other so the followers get their way. Also, contradictory expectations between parents ruin mutual reliability of everyone involved—leaders and followers, adults and children.)
The person in each role works for and reports to the role above. Everyone has their own domain of responsibility, authority to do their job, and can be held accountable. Success comes from making wife the kingpin. As mother she reports to herself as wife, the more superior role. Wife is the one responsible to ensure that respect is paid and harmony is generated all across the family spectrum in order to please you, the king aka CEO. You are responsible to see that wife doesn’t let her mother role upstage her wife role. IOW, mother may need reminding that sustaining the marriage is more important than kids getting their way or mother indulging them.
Your wife is the household manager and if you challenge her in front of the children, you weaken her authority, which means your castle becomes less than she can make it, and she can’t be held accountable for things over which she lacks control.
Leadership by example doesn’t work unless based on principles rather than personal taste and desire. Organizations only work well when everyone knows the principles, has a job, knows how to do it, and others let or help them do it the way the one responsible thinks is right. IOW, everyone knows what’s right for them, so others have to accept them that way. Part of it is that children are self-developers and must have certain freedoms to achieve their ambitions. Beware, because those ambitions begin in toddlerhood and the prevention of later problems depends on leaders’ respect shown to each child today.
When harmony prevails, leaders don’t have to impose threats or take disciplinary action on mischief makers. Followers know what’s expected, seek to do their best to please their leaders, and children tend to easily merge their self-development with family values and expectations. Wives and mothers know how to generate it but they need the frequent guidance, support, and knowledge that their CEOs cover their backs.
NOTICE: I do not advocate running a family anywhere or in any way like the military operates. The authority model is contrary to good order and family discipline. The compatibility model is far superior. It arises best when every member is treated with respect first, trust second, and love third. When praise far outweighs criticism, blame is unknown, and mutual respect and trust are the standing order for everyday life.