Our Judeo-Christian culture over several centuries has taught this: Three separate and distinct roles provide the greatest insurance for family success. He’s the head, and she’s both neck and heart.
The head is the ultimate authority, responsible for the toughest decisions, and accountable for failures. Ill-equipped to manage family relationships directly, he contributes best when he’s focused on outside influences, opportunities, efforts, and what he does best: producing, providing, protecting, and problem solving.
The neck keeps the head turned and focused on whatever does or will brighten the family’s future. The neck points the head at desirable outcomes that please the heart and everyone else including the head. While the head governs the present, the neck governs the long run and shapes the future.
The heart overcomes the harshness of daily life, energizes the head, molds family spirit, and shapes character of infants and toddlers. The heart lathers family members with love, joy, gratefulness, and, most importantly, hope. It also keeps the neck (herself) inspired to keep the head on track.
The head can perform neck but not heart functions and still render the wisest and most beneficial decisions. Too much emotional involvement and conflict exists for him to excel.
If she doesn’t crown him as family king, she inherits the head role also. Many women reject on feminist principle the crowning of their former prince as king. They usurp his role, and then find themselves dumped and unable to do what a good man can do.
One final obligation: The kids between toddlerhood and puberty will be absorbing their values from heroes. Either head, neck, or heart or all three should apply and qualify themselves for the job. Otherwise, kids will learn to imitate outsiders and anticipate doing the same from teen peers a few years hence.
Single moms: Oh, what it might have been?
AGM note: Thanks to Nia Vardalos for the head-turned-by-neck analogy. It’s from her flick, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.