This expands #15 in previous article with another option to wife’s leadership as neck of the family.
Separate roles/domains with sufficient authority attached makes for smoother family sailing. Both spouses learn to please each other by submitting to the one previously designated as ‘ultimate’ authority for routine matters. This rank structure defines roles and how they work relative to each other.
By mutual agreement, each adult fills two roles. Husband reports to God, the source of his authority to lead his family. Wife reports to husband. Mother reports to wife. Father reports to mother. And children report to both, but primarily their mother.
Yes, mother reports to herself. Wife has broader and deeper responsibilities than mother. To rank mother above wife is to effectively rank children above husband, which is destructive to family harmony and even solidarity. Wife has responsibility to keep husband uplifted above children and against her own motherly tendency to put children first.
Yes, father reports to mother, and kids have only one boss. She’s far better positioned and qualified to lead the domain of child care, provide developmental guidance and assistance, and generate ambitions to be adults rather than teenagers. Fathers are far better qualified to roast in the limelight of mother turning offspring into children of which father can be proud. Fathers contribute best to child-raising with indirect leadership by example that mothers can highlight as admirable examples to duplicate as adults.
Don’t interpret it to mean fathers should be disengaged. Just subject to mother being the sweeter and more acceptable boss with kids. Mom takes all disagreements with father from in front of the children to deal with husband as his wife. It forces children to draw conclusions from what happens next.
Mom always appears to have won—even if she hasn’t—and dad never seems to have lost and vice versa. But wife/mom functions anew if she lost to husband and sells the children on buy-in her husband expects to see. Thus, children see love in action resolving parental disputes that involve them. They more easily imagine that mom will win behind closed doors. And each time mom reappears as if she most likely won whatever the ‘battle’. Whether she actually won representing the children or not, her ‘warrior’ courage to face off with dad reinforces their allegiance to her, aka the primary leader of their lives.
And you say, what if dad doesn’t like something about mom’s mothering? Then husband takes it up with his wife, who is responsible to him. He tells her the WHAT of the matter, and wife as mother determines the HOW she will carry it out. And you say, I never heard of such a thing. And I say, effective leadership is based largely on many principles. These three pertain here: 1) Loyalty and trust starts at the top and works downward or it isn’t worth much. 2) Telling someone WHAT to do within their domain of responsibility is to signal belief that they are qualified and trusted to do the right thing. 3) OTOH, to also tell them HOW to fulfill their responsibility is a direct sign they are considered unqualified and distrusted. To distrust someone is to cause them to question their respect for the sender, which in turn also generates distrust.
When and if distrust and its counterpart disrespect appear between wives and husbands, it does not get conveyed to the children. That children see on trust and respect is critical to the raising of good children.
When wife thinks she has everything under control because she’s the neck and he’s the head of family, she misses out on so many ways of working out disputes. Cooperation does not emerge from one high boss and tweaker beneath. It arises out of mutually respectful working relationships where who does what, when, and where depends on who is responsible and must answer for the results. If one does not have the authority to judge and decide what needs to be done, they cannot in good conscience and good leadership be held accountable.
As for me, the neck analogy may work, but I favor the rank structure where everyone knows that for which they are responsible, can be held accountable, and children have only one boss. It is leadership within a partnership instead of being a partnership without firm leadership principles for guidance.