The Man and the Wife. Who’s the boss?

November 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Deciding, who is the leader in a family is an issue, which bothers the minds of many married and unmarried couples. There are many couples, where one partner has a dominating character and the other one – a more passive character and naturally, the dominating partner becomes the leader. But what about couples, where both partners are equally active or equally passive – who will become the boss in such cases?


What does it take to become the leader? You need to have good organizational skills, decision making ability, a sense of responsibility, self-confidence, good negotiating skills, ability to save money and arrange money issues as well as fast reaction without hesitation in everyday situations. Basically these are the skills of a successful businessman as running a family household is equal to running a business. To realize the mentioned skills in practical life you have to be active even if you don’t want to.


Two leaders
If there are two active people in a couple, it can lead to competition and continuous quarrels. To reach an understanding, one side always has to comply, which takes a huge effort for a self-confident person, who is used to stand on his opinion. Sometimes both sides have to take one step towards the partner. Life for two active people can be exciting – a lot of activities every day, traveling, sports or other active occupations and rapid careers for both partners. But it may involve also a lot of broken dishes, loud words, anger and forgiveness. Who will have the last word in such couples? Often it is the partner with the higher income or bigger authority. It may become problematic, if agreement constantly can not be achieved and one side is pushed to comply more often. In such cases permanent repression can lead to rebellion and separation. On the other hand such couples often break up and come together again and the cycle starts anew.

Two passive partners
If both partners in a couple are passive, nobody wants to take the role of the leader, but unfortunately one of them has to perform the functions of the leader. Life in such couples can be chaotic – both partners unwillingly do some leader’s activities, many tasks are being postponed, which may lead to some unwanted consequences. Pressing yourself to do some unpleasant tasks can lead to frustration, but pressing the partner to do something may lead to permanent anger and resistance. The worst thing is, that, when a spouse feels under pressure, the negative emotions pile up and finally fall down on the closest person beside. In such a situation even small misfortunes can bring to irritation and anger, which will explode towards the partner repeatedly. The volume of explosions is directly dependent on the level of emotionality of the partner. When constantly feeling under pressure, the spouse will start to consider the beloved partner as an opponent subconsciously. No agreements can be made in such a situation – the suggestions of the other side will be automatically turned down. The only solution is to remove the pressure. The couple can decide, that one partner (probably the one, who is less emotional) has to take the leader’s duties and in such a way the other one will be removed from the pressure or another person could be designated to deal with some of the family’s organizational issues. Also a temporarily isolation from each other can let the pressure calm down, but it is necessary to find a long-term solution in this case. Another case is, if both partners are not highly emotional, then it is possible to divide the duties between each other and to decide, who is responsible for what. It shouldn’t be a problem, if both are logically thinking and enough calm to decide upon a compromise.

A natural leader and a passive partner
One active and one passive partner is a good combination – the active partner will gladly take the organizational duties in the family as well as take a responsibility and make decisions. The passive partner won’t suffer from the leadership pressure, but he or she will need some time alone to rest from the partner’s activity. Problems can start, if the active partner decides everything by himself and acts without taking into consideration the spouse’s opinion. In such a case the passive side can alienate from the partner and can get a false impression, that the partner doesn’t care for the spouse. It is important, that the passive side gets heard and respected. Important decisions have to be made together. The rest will be easily organized by the leader.


Not every spouse wants to be the main organizer in the family, but everyone wants to make decisions and have an influence. Everyone has to have the possibility to make decisions, because every marriage or partnership should be based on equality. But it is also important, in which field you are able to make good decisions? If your partner is strong in one area, where you are not, better leave the decisions about it to the spouse. Best of all it would be to determine areas of family life, where one partner is the main judge and other areas, where the other one can be the judge. Organizing and implementing the decisions in real life can be left to the active partner. But what happens, if one partner is deprived of the possibility to make decisions? In such a case he or she will feel underestimated and start to perform acts of rebellion – act against the partners will or do something unpleasant on purpose to annoy the spouse. If the active partner shows signs of aggression in this case, then the passive partner has a severe risk to become depressed or this situation can easily lead to separation.

You are welcome to share your experience here – who is the leader in your family? Which family model do you have? How do you make common decisions? Do you often have to comply? What is the best family model to your opinion?


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