I know that my role as a wife and helpmate is to respectfully present my views to my husband and then follow his lead and support his decisions.
But the Lord continues to fine-tune my understanding of how subtly and unintentionally I can undermine Tom’s leadership. I have learned that there are times when it is or isn’t appropriate to be the initiator.
If Tom has asked me to initiate, and if I’m agreeable to taking that responsibility, then it is appropriate. But if I become the initiator because my husband isn’t doing what I feel needs to be done, then I’m over-stepping my bounds. In such a case, he will most likely feel disrespected and I will feel frustrated because my expectations aren’t being met. It would be far more productive to have a respectfully honest discussion of our expectations and look for solutions.
When Tom prefers that I initiate, he responds well and its mutually edifying. But if there’s a task that I feel needs to be accomplished, and I initiate before he’s in agreement, there’s the risk that I can come across as controlling (undermining his leadership). Tom may not even be able to pinpoint or verbalize how he’s feeling, but it won’t feel good and he may subconsciously (or consciously) resist my efforts.
Frustration is the result of unmet expectations. So, as individuals, and as a couple, we need to evaluate our expectations of ourselves, and of each other. Are they realistic? Do our expectations match? Can we define them?
Our aim is to work together as a team. This doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll do everything together, but it does mean we’ll have the same goals and game plan.
So, when is it ok for me to initiate? When it’s mutually edifying!