6 ways to stop unknowingly undermining your husband (and how to encourage him to show more leadership)
Posted April 24
When you ask your husband his opinion, how many times does he just let you decide? Why doesn't he just step up to the plate and show some leadership? A lot of men say they've tried, but felt criticized and undermined. They gave in but got shot down, and eventually gave up and left all leadership roles to their wives.
Many men grow up thinking that saying “you decide” shows they’re not controlling, which makes for a happy wife, right? Not so much. Now they can’t understand why women are frustrated with them.
Here are six things a woman can do to reduce this frustration and encourage her husband to show more leadership:
1. Don’t make decisions for him. Let him decide
You’re going out for dinner and he asks you to choose a restaurant. Say "you decide," and then don't say anything else. When he makes a decision, support it. Trust that he is able to make a good decision even though it may be different than what you would have decided.
2. Avoid criticizing him, even jokingly
A lot of men believe having their wives make decisions is playing it safe — they think they won’t be criticized if they make a mistake or if their wives don’t like their decision. To encourage your husband to take the lead more, avoid contradicting him unless what he wants to do is dangerous. If you must suggest something significantly different, do it in private — not in front of the children or anyone else. Using the sandwich technique is also helpful: first tell him something positive, then your kind suggestions for change and end with more positive comments.
3. Give him opportunities to show leadership
Keep him informed of situations where his leadership would help. Invite him to help out and take charge. Don’t tell him what to do. If he asks, tell him to decide and do research. Keep suggesting opportunities for him to show leadership. It may take a few tries until he realizes he needs to keep looking for situations that need his leadership and start dealing with them.
4. Don’t let him put you in control
If he always asks for your permission to do something, tell him to stop asking. Inform him that he doesn’t need your permission for every little thing.
5. Encourage him to have male friends who are leaders
Think of men who would be good role models for your husband. Encourage your man to be friends with leaders. Make friends with other couples where the man shows leadership. Don’t compare the other man to your husband, just let your husband be inspired by watching how other men lead.
6. Tell him you appreciate him
When he steps forward to show leadership, tell him how much you appreciate him for dealing with the situation.
It can be frustrating if you are the only one in this marriage who shows leadership. Instead of dwelling on your frustration, encourage your husband to help make decisions and support his choices when he does step up to the plate.
Elliott Katz is a speaker and author of "Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants: Timeless wisdom on being a man" which has been translated into 24 languages around the world. You can find out more about his work and contact him at: www.elliottkatz.com