Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Decision Making: Leading versus Dictating

Frequently people mistakenly assume that in a Female Led Relationship (FLR) or Wife Led Marriage (WLM)  the wife makes all the decisions in the relationship and the husband has no say at all. Then there are those who take it a step further and assume that because the wife makes all the decisions, she is only going to make decisions that are best for her, without any care for what the husband wants. These are big misconceptions. I have written on the topic of decision making in a FLR in the past but a recent comment on the I'm Her's blog made me want to revisit the topic. The comment was under the post "United We Stand, Divide We Fall" in July 2017. The reader posed several questions in a few comments, but below is an excerpt that I think captures the essence of the concern"

"..the question always remains how do you know that your partner is correct or right and does blind following of their decisions really lead you as the individual to a better place in life? Will you be a happier partner by following their decisions or will you only be happy for the short term since it suits the dominant partner when they want it to suit them?"

FLR is a complex concept and different thinking compared to traditional marriage and there is a ton of bad advice and incorrect information on the subject so it is easy to be confused about the roles and responsibilities in the FLR. Let's start with the "L" in FLR and WLM. It stands for 'led' which makes the wife the leader of the relationship. A leader is not the same as dictator.  At times, a leader may dictate orders when he/she feels it is in the best interest of the organization (or marriage in this case) but great leaders bring people together and motivate them to excel toward a certain vision. They are good at identifying the strengths and unique abilities of each individual and leveraging those strengths and abilities to help achieve the vision. Those that follow the leader look to her/him for direction, guidance, and motivation. Good leaders inspire people to want to follow them and achieve the vision. A good leader knows the strengths and abilities of each individual and strikes the right balance between empowering her/his followers to do things for her/him versus dictating and making decisions on her/his own.

Those same principles can be applied to the FLR/WLM. In the FLR, the wife has the right to final say in all decisions but she does not have to exercise that right all the time. If there are strengths that her husband has, the best thing she can do is utilize those strengths to help make the right decisions. For example, my husband is very good with finances and money. Therefore if we are going to make a big purchase that requires a loan or if we want to start saving money, he is the one that will figure out the best way to do it.  I may ask him questions or ask him to explore other options. I will expect him to explain his logic but I am pretty much going to agree with what he recommends because he knows more than I do when it comes to finances. 

Likewise, he is great at planning activities. When it comes to vacation I will usually lean on him to do all the research and come up with ideas for vacation, suggestions for hotels, car rentals. etc. I know he will do a good job with it and it saves me time. However, he is not allowed to book anything until we discuss his ideas. During this discussion I will add my input and we will decide together about what to do.  Many times it ends up being different than what his original suggestion was.  If there is ever a difference of opinion that can not be resolved, I get the final say.  He is fine with this as it is part of the deal that he bought into with FLR. In the end we plan a vacation that we both will enjoy. I would not want to plan a vacation that he would not enjoy because that would take away from my enjoyment.

Hopefully you can see that this is not 'blind' following, which was a concern in the comment at the beginning of this post.  I am seeking input from my husband when it comes to the big decisions and often times relying on his recommendations.  In no way does this take away my control or influence over him. In fact, this makes me an even stronger leader as I am making him work for me so that I can make better decisions.  The difference between this and a traditional marriage is that there is an expectation that he can not make big decisions on his own and that I get the final approval and final say on what is to be done. 

Something else to not lose sight of is the reason why the wife married the husband. I can't speak for others but I chose my husband because I enjoy hanging out with him, we have similar ideals, he is supportive of me, intelligent and my best friend. I do not want that to change. I call him slave but that is more for fun. In reality I do not want a mindless slave that just obeys and waits for the next command. I want a husband who is a great companion. Part of that companionship is making big decisions together such as what house to buy, how to remodel the kitchen, and where to go on vacation. In essence, this could be considered the vision that I follow when making decisions (but my marriage vision would encompass much more such as healthy family, supporting kids, etc.). With that perspective it would not make sense for me to expect my husband to blindly follow me and it would not make sense for me to impose rules or make decisions that would leave him completely unhappy.

There may be some women who take a bolder stance on decision making. Every couple is different and for some people a more dictator type approach may work. However, in my opinion, the more extreme/dictator approach the wife takes, the less likely the marriage will remain stable and happy in the long-run. In this extreme case I would agree with the comment at the beginning of this post, that happiness would be short-lived. 

It is also important to recognize differences in peoples abilities and that life is one great learning experience. A younger wife, new to FLR  may not be a strong leader but that should not stop her from embarking on a FLR. There are many different flavors of FLR. She does not have to start out having complete authority over her husband. She can start with small areas that she is comfortable with and increase her breadth of authority over time as she learns and her confidence builds. That's pretty much how it happened with me. My guess is that it is rare to find someone that just jumped in and knew all the right things to do. There is nothing stopping an inexperienced wife from growing into a strong leader.  I disagree with the notion that if a person is not a leader or not dominate that they can not be turned into a leader or dominant person. If they have the desire, the right environment, and encouragement they can change over time. The husband should support her in this endeavor. If the wife makes a mistake or bad decision, then an  apology will suffice. Nobody is perfect. Mistakes and decisions are where we learn the most and when we learn from them it makes us better individuals.

A final thought that I will leave with you is that FLR is a journey that both husband and wife embark on together.  For a FLR to flourish there must be trust, compassion, and love from both husband and wife.  

This is a complex topic that can often cause stress or confusion in a relationship so please chime in with your thoughts or questions.  I expect that people will have different views on this so I am looking forward to the discussion.

-Mz Kaylee


  1. In our 3yr old FLR marriage my wife is getting beyond comfortable with the idea that she is the decision maker. Why? Because each day I pledge my obedience and also that she has the final say in all decisions. Certainly I might offer a different viewpoint but if it doesn't sway her I try to stop presenting it before she gets annoyed to the point of verbally reminding me of my position of submission in our relationship. We are both very happy this way.

    1. That is fantastic and a great approach

  2. Hello Mz Kaylee. I hope you and you family had a nice vacation.

    I think your comments on decision making show a practical balance in a realistic FLR. Useing these principles the woman is clearly in control but not overwhelmed by the process of making every decision. I believe a FLR that gets too far away from the norm in everyday life is more fantasy and not likely to stand the test of time.

    The Dictator approach can become exciting and fun on "a slave weekend" or a date night . I have some strong fantasies about giving up total control and doing WHATEVER she desires especially when we are away for the weekend. WHATEVER can become pretty embarrassing in public if the woman has a strong imagination . LOL


  3. This is probably the best information on FLR I have read so far. I think you are dead on as far as a true FLR should be.Trust,love,respect for each other and truly being open with each other. My wife is a wonderful leader, Mom, grandma etc.She leads are marriage and I love being the supportive husband. We can talk about are FLR at anytime and it makes the relationship that just makes it stronger. Thanks for taking your time and putting this information out for us to read. R R

  4. Would that I could add to the discussion as you have requested but, you have spoken much of where my wife and I are and how our WLM works.
    Thanks for being a teaching voice in this better way of living.