Who is Leading Who in Your Marriage?

The most important leadership skill in your marriage may not be what you think.

Dad should be the leader of the family.

No, wait.

If Mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

No, wait.

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Men need to be the King and treat their wives like Queens.

But if you treat her like a Queen… she’ll think of you as her King.

Clichés and metaphors are cute but they can cause a lot of confusion.

Shouldn’t there be a clear answer for who is the leader and who is the follower?

Maybe it’s More Like a Flock of Geese

Everyone knows the story of how geese fly together. Maybe not.

They fly in a “V” shape and play a combination game of leapfrog and follow the leader. They each take a turn as the lead goose in the “V” which is the hardest position to play. That goose is the only one breaking wind so he/she gets tired a lot more quickly. The others get to draft behind someone else to conserve energy for their turn at the leader spot. They keep switching around so everyone gets a chance to rest – a chance to follow.

Pretty cool arrangement. I wonder who thought that one up.

What if Couples Operated the Same Way?

They would glide through their relationship with ease and it would be hard to tell who the leader is.

They would have this cool arrangement where they both get to lead and follow at the same time. It would look effortless to outsiders who couldn’t discern the rules of the game they are playing.

There would have to be an inherent appreciation and respect for each other’s leadership skills and willingness to follow. They would have to want to go in the same direction and under the same set of rules.

They would have to share the same love of the game and the values that define it.

Have you ever seen a couple like that?

It seems to me the only way that could happen is if each person was less concerned about leading the other and more focused on leading themselves.

Therefore, each partner is a very important leader – at all times.

That reminds me of another cliché.

“You must become the partner you wish your partner to be.”

Hmmm…that sounds a little like leadership too.

What Does Leading Yourself Mean?

This is the hard part.

Now that the fairytale part of my article is over, the question becomes “How do I do that?”

How do I become a better partner when she is cold and he is such an ass?

How do I lead her when she doesn’t even respect me?

How do I lead him when he doesn’t even listen to me?

Leading yourself to becoming a better partner – a partner who deserves a great partner – requires an incredibly selfish mindset.

This is about you. Only you. Nobody else but you.

This is where you figure how to love and care for yourself first so you can be strong enough to love and care for someone else.

Leading yourself means learning how to give her/him something to follow.

You can’t give a rat’s ass (another good cliché) about what she/he chooses. You can’t give a crap what she/he thinks about you and your values. You can’t be focused on what she/he isn’t doing because you will never be able to see what you need to be doing…for you.

And if you can’t see what you need to be doing, you will react to everything. You will mirror negative energy. You will find yourself arguing, complaining and nagging over stupid things.

You will end up negotiating, sacrificing and compromising the very values you know can lead to an amazing relationship.

Leading yourself means you’re very, very clear on where you’re going.

It also means knowing when to not follow someone who isn’t capable of going where you’re going.

And if you don’t know where you’re going you’ll be easily led anywhere and wonder how you got there.

That may be a cliché someday.

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Photo Marlna Agular/Flickr

author avatar
Steve Horsmon Certified Professional Men’s Coach
Steve Horsmon is a Certified Professional Life Coach and owner of Goodguys2Greatmen Relationship Coaching in Livermore, Colorado. He has appeared on well known coachign and psychology television, radio, youtube, and podcast channels related to maintaining healthy relationships. Steve provides intensely personal, action oriented coaching services for men through 1-on-1 coaching, private retreats and workshops designed to give men new knowledge, skills and mindset to achieve their relationship goals. He is a committed, lifelong mentor who teaches his clients to discover their masculine power, take bold action and create the life they want. He has written articles and guest blogs for numerous relationship and expert websites.

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