Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Following the Leader

The leader of our family was strong, assertive, and bold. 

And who was this fearless leader?

I shift my eyes to and fro looking the other way to avoid the answer.  I look over my shoulder to shift your attention elsewhere, but still I feel the heat of your eyes.  “Who me?”

Like a little girl setting up her playhouse, not a plastic one, oh no, but a playhouse of the fanciest kind.  The one with the mahogany furniture shipped from India.  Rooms lined with cheery wallpaper adorned with flowers.  A toilet whose handle turns.  And a doorbell that really rings! 

Life in the playhouse.  Carefully orchestrated by mommy doll.  A wake up kiss for daddy doll each morning before he rushes off to work.  A welcome back kiss each afternoon when he’s returned.  A small role for daddy doll.  But aren’t boy dolls always played less with than girl dolls?  I remember only needing Ken when there were chores to be done or things to be fixed.  Mamma doll is pretty self sufficient and independent these days unless the dollhouse toilet is clogged or the garbage disposal is stopped up.


We had recently visited two different places on two separate trips.  Our first trip.  Our second trip. 

“Well, Dan?  What do you think we should do?” I asked my husband.

He hesitated.

“Janna,” he began in a serious tone, “I’m afraid to say,” his eyes focused straight forward.

“What are you talking about?  Why would you be afraid?” I asked, confused.  I took my hand and gently turned his face toward me so I could look into his eyes.

“Because I don’t know if you will follow,” he answered.

I hesitated before responding. 

Wow.  He fears leading me.

And deep down I knew why. 

Sure at first I wanted to argue, “What are you talking about?”  “How could you say I wouldn’t follow?”

But as history commonly repeats itself, both of us knew I wouldn’t be voted “the most likely to follow her husband”.  Oh, sure, I can follow.  I am actually pretty good at it.  I can follow my dad, I can follow my friends, I can follow Oprah, but as for my husband, now that was a different story. 

You see, when it came to my husband and decision making, well, I could sense an uncertainty in him.  And I could feel it as strong as an Indian tribal man can sense the presence of an upcoming rain. 

And it made me feel very insecure, lacking trust in his role as leader of our family.  So.... long story short, I took over.

Now whether or not my husband's lack of confidence had to do with me, how he was raised, or the temperament he was born with; it didn’t matter.  There were definite things I was doing that hindered his leadership of our family.  And there were things that I could do as a wife to encourage his leadership over our family.  I just had no idea what those things were.

“Maybe we should sell the house during such a high market,” my husband mentioned to me a long time ago at the peak of home sales.

“Ask my dad.  He will know,” I answered.  “We can’t make that decision without talking to him,” I added.

To leave and to cleave.

Oh I leaved.

And yes, I cleaved. 

I got married and leaved my parents’ house.

And yes indeed, I cleaved.  I cleaved to everyone but my husband.

So I sat here before my husband who was afraid to tell me his desires.  My brain started reeling, searching for words of  comfort to him.

“Dan, I want you to make this decision of where we move to,” I said to him while biting my lip at the end of my sentence.  I was surprised at what I heard coming out of my mouth, and before I could take it back he said,

“No you don’t, Janna.  You don’t want me to decide.  I know you too well.”

And he did. 

I knew he was right.

Gulp.  I think we have a problem.
I am the mamma doll.

 See.  Here I am overpowering my husband.


  1. This is insightful and thought-provoking. Thank you!

  2. Hi Janna, I've just mentioned you on my blog as one of my favourite discovered blogs. Please pass on the Versatile Blogger award. God bless you, Cate

  3. Oh Janna, I think I am in your predicament. When you figure out how to give the impression that you will follow, please do pass on the info! AbbyA

  4. It's not our fault as women to always want to do things our way...if they did it 'properly' (as in our way) then it would be a different story. :)

  5. The leader of my home is my husband. But he's been pointing out lately, that when his decisions are leaning in a different direction than mine, I tend to push and prod and push and push and push until I get my way. Submission is hard to embrace, but rewarding in the end.

    Thanks for sharing this!