My man leads. I respect him & submit to his leadership but there are instances where I cannot because he doesn’t have the necessary life experience. Prime example is parenting. He is not a father and did not grow up with any sisters (he has one younger brother). But at times he will tell me how to parent my teen girls. He typically advises things that I know are the utterly wrong thing. I have two teen girls, grew up the oldest of 4 sisters, and had my youngest sister live with me her junior year in high school years ago. So my man honestly doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. My girls are respectful and well adjusted but on occasion have angsty teen moments that require calibration & nuance. My guy is not the most socially calibrated person to begin with and does not understand “pick your battles” in parenting. That’s ok. I will listen to him & if he is just flat out wrong then I will say “well I appreciate your input. Let me consider what you suggest.” Now. I will then do what I believe to be the best approach, and if he asks later I explain WHY I chose to do as I did. He then will listen & consider what I have done and why.
I must bear always in mind that my man expects to lead (which I appreciate) but at the same time he is out of his knowledge base in a number of realms. Therefore I must be patient (because I respect him), listen earnestly to understand where he is on certain issues and then carefully navigate thorny issues to at once help him gain greater understanding and establish boundaries where his leadership is welcome/expected and where it is, to be blunt, inappropriate.
This is a very much more complex landscape than @catsmeow2
finds herself in. She is first marriage to a man she loves & respects and they will soon be parents together as a nuclear family. That is the ideal scenario. My life is more complicated. I already have children, an ex husband, and financial responsibilities and obligations and I am required to meet those obligations as I have always done for years before meeting my fiancé. So with me there is an existing framework or structure that must be ACCEPTED by any man I marry. Outside of that existing framework I defer to him and submit to him either outright or after contributing my 0.02 cents. Within the pre existing framework he must accept some things as they are.
Because he expects to be IN CHARGE there are at times conflicts between his expectations and reality. In those moments it is important for my to understand his perspective and exhibit patience and diplomacy, especially on things where I cannot breach prior agreements.
As our relationship has grown we are progressively getting better at communicating about and regarding these things. Part of the process for him, in my view is a maturation as he learns consideration for others outside himself. I have to allow him room to mature in this way as we navigate things, and the process creates deeper trust & bonding as we go. So our journey is a bit different.
One thing that happens with people who do not marry & do not have children is they are inherently self focused and self centered. As people who are never married/never parents arrive into middle age, they are quite set in their ways. Marriage is about consideration of something outside of self. Self must become secondary. Parents arrive at this through the natural process of caring for an utterly helpless young child (whose needs, for a time must come first)…marriage partners must make the adjustment from “I” thinking to “we” thinking. This adjustment is why the first year of marriage is often the hardest.
The older and more set in his or her ways someone is the tougher this adjustment becomes. A traditionalist mindset assists greatly in my view, i.e., the man leads & the woman accepts his leadership.
I am well aware that my fiancé is desirable and can find another woman. That is a known fact. He also knows I could find another desirable man. I am not going to cling to him. I love him; I respect him. I also understand if the framework he must accept to be with me is too much for him. I can let him go. The ironic thing is that the qualities he most values in me are the qualities born of sacrificing self for something greater than self. I didn’t develop those qualities overnight or by accident. They are the result of a strong father figure, a strong family of origin, my character and my life experience including my first marriage and child rearing while being the sole breadwinner.
He benefits from the sum of my life experience to date. And he knows finding a woman like me is unusual and to use his words “it took me 30 years to find a woman worth marrying….” and he recognizes now what he has (as a teen he had a beautiful girl who he loved & wanted to marry, but he bailed on her because she wanted to be his wife & have his kids…and later he realized he had a hot submissive woman in her…but he didn’t want children or an uneducated housewife to support)….it is impossible to say how that might have gone had he not left her.
So we are progressing just fine with him as my top priority as my man.