Men are not familiar with the sensitive side of women. Some dive head-first into marriage wrapped tightly in their own agenda, in which case they operate as husbands who largely ignore wifely sensitivities. Others wrapped less tightly are still not fully aware of what’s important to her. Only wife can make husband aware of what is important to her, and readers and I are headed there.
With more than three dozen suggestions, I advise wives how to initiate leadership by discussing and shaping mutual opinions about sensitive matters.
The rules for initiating discussions are posted at 2796, which also contains the first three initiatives in this series. Another rule: If and when he interrogates on any point, DO NOT give examples of what either of you has done in the past. Blame or criticism usually spurs ones to defend against the person, and cooperation wilts as competition sets in.
These are ideas and concepts to bring up and discuss wifely sensitivities and reduce the impact of problems anticipated by her. Neither perfection nor total agreement is the goal; informing husband and gaining more agreement about wife-sensitive issues is the objective. It’s vital that neither side be perceived as wrong in these discussions.
A wife needs to verbalize each item her own way. It needs to fit in with her marital arrangements without offending husband; otherwise he’ll go on the defensive and not cooperate.
Any wife is the ‘I’ who speaks here, and ‘you’ is her husband. To the extent wife initiates such discussions and husband cooperates, she succeeds as a marital leader. The suggestions continue.
4. I am aware that men presume to ‘own’ their woman. Is she worth owning, however, if she’s but a hollow shell —her spirit sucked out by lack of feedback of her importance and little or no appreciation of her diligence?
5. I am responsible to keep you satisfied living with me. In return for doing it, however, I expect an ROI, my return on investment, which may be little more than a frequent look in your eye that I’m an overall good gal. I accept whatever ROI you choose to provide. However, these things convince me better: thoughtfulness, pleasantness, attention, affection, intimate time together, backup of my leadership raising the kids, and strokes of admiration for keeping you satisfied that I do well. With those I sense fulfillment.
6. I am responsible to manage our marriage under your leadership. You take care of the bigger things, and I take care of the lesser. The objective is to satisfy you first. This arrangement may crumble, however, if either of us finds fault and pushes too hard on the other.
7. I’m the primary housekeeper, my efforts are well intentioned, and good intentions that fail are more worthy of your empathy than sympathy. Empathy means I could use some help. Sympathy means you’re sorry I got myself in a mess. Men are never more handsome than when they gently rescue a woman in a mess of her own making and don’t hold it against her.
8. Blame has no place in our home. We are both capable of finding satisfaction with each other without blame or criticism. If not, we need to practice. We need an agreeable method to expunge blame or criticism so that ill-feelings don’t develop.
9. We love differently. Women are open and above board, but men are not. Therefore, I receive your love indirectly and not nearly as cheery as my love is expressed more directly. I have but one way of measuring your love; it’s how devoted you act toward me. If I see it, I can live with it. If I don’t see it, I feel hollow inside.
10. Anger aimed at self is okay, aimed at someone else is not. How can we incorporate that and diminish expressions of anger in our family? Is it enough to count to ten?