For men who love leading Ladies
By Laju Iren
I think that the man Lappidoth is one of the most unsung heroes in the bible. In a time when most women were identified by their husbands, and men were identified by their prowess, he was known by many simply as ‘Deborah’s husband.’ It kind of reminds me of my secondary school days. I know…here I go again with my reminiscing. But I promise, they are both related this time.
My elder sister, Toju is one of the dearest people to me. When I resumed school at Federal Government College Benin, she was already in her fourth year as a student there. She came first in her class from SS1 to SS3, was Chapel Prefect, a House Prefect, Scripture Union President, and Drama Group President. And so from my JS 1, I became known simply as ‘Toju’s sister.’ When I entered the University, my sister had just scored 5.0s (All As across all subjects), in her last two semesters. So once again, I resumed as Toju’s sister. Not a very easy record to compete with; but I realised very quickly that I wasn’t competing with anything. My sister and I were both gifted in different ways. She shone in her own way and I shone in mine. Sometimes we shone the same way; three years after she graduated, I also became Chapel Prefect, SU President and Drama Group President.
Sometimes, we bring in competition when we should be celebrating the other person-men and women are guilty of this. This article was written specifically for men who are dating or married to women who are leaders or who have strong personalities. I think it takes a special kind of man to love such a special kind of woman. And I’m hoping this article helps you have a fruitful relationship.
She’s driven. She’s motivated. She’s a leader. She’s supergirl! That’s probably what attracted you to her, the way she gets so much done in so little time. The way she speaks up for herself, can hold her own in any leadership position and isn’t so needy she depends on you to complete her. She makes her own money, and has her own reputation. But little by little, the challenges begin to arise. I get this from couples I counsel all the time; She won’t submit. She doesn’t respect me. She doesn’t have time. She’s defensive. Sometimes it’s less serious: She won’t let me take care of her. She won’t accept my money.
Not all Supergirls are the same
Even though Supergirls may have a lot in common, we aren’t all the same. Yep, I said ‘we.’ So don’t be quick to assume someone will not make a good spouse simply because she has a Type A personality. Get to know her before jumping into conclusions. There may be some variations, but I’ve decided to divide Supergirl in a few categories to help you understand better:
Congratulations! You’ve got yourself a hardworking woman! It’s just that she never has enough time to spend with you. However, what is more important is why she’s working so hard. If she thinks that the amount of money she has is what defines her as a person, then that’s a red flag. If however, she needs to work hard to support her family, then that’s a different matter altogether. If there are people dependent on your girl at her place of work, that’s also something to consider. If you marry a doctor, for example you can’t expect her hours to be the same as a teacher. This doesn’t mean that some careers are better than some. It just means that careers are different, and you must be sincere with yourself as to whether or not you can handle her hours if they do not change. That’s one piece of advice to you as a single guy. Can you handle it? Now that you are single is the best time to answer that question. When you are married, you don’t have a choice, your question then would be: “How can we handle it?”
There are many men who are married to workaholics and they both find a way to make it work. But something has got to give; you can’t both work 24/7 and build a family. Concessions need to be made. Talk it over with your beloved can she cut down on her hours a little? Can you cut down on yours? You can also both do work-related things together. For example, she runs a charity, volunteer with her.
What I really want to point out here is the issue of priorities. Someone once said that no matter how busy you are, you always have time for what’s important to you. I kind of agree with that. So the real issue is one of priorities. First of all, there should be a Christ-centred purpose about her life and this must show in her the way she spends her time. The same goes for you.
Secondly, for someone who wants to be a wife, I strongly believe that fundamentally family must come before work. Notice that I use the word ‘fundamentally’ here. There are times when you may need to prioritize one thing above another for a season. I know cases where the man didn’t have a job and the woman was the breadwinner of the family. She would work late hours because they couldn’t afford to lose their only means of livelihood and the man would just be so bitter about it.
I must point out that even now as a wife and mother, I give attention to things many times based on the urgency. Sometimes I’d be at the office when my husband goes to get my baby from Day Care and won’t be back until a few hours after (And I’m not the breadwinner, lol). It doesn’t mean that work is more important to me. Sometimes, I get some rest in the mornings while my husband watches Edima; it also doesn’t mean that I prefer sleep over them. I think understanding on both sides is very paramount.
The Protective Shell
The other type of Supergirl I want to talk about is the one who puts on a protective shell because of her past relationships or her family experiences. Take for example, a lady who grew up in a home where her father was unfaithful to her mother; it’s very likely that she’d find it difficult to trust men. Even though she knows in her head that you’re different, it might take a while for it to settle in her heart. This lack of trust could manifest itself in her being bossy, disrespectful or refusing to open up.
On one hand, I’d tell you to understand. On the other hand, it is something you both most talk about and iron out to a large extent before marriage. It is love when you make excuses for someone, but relationships don’t work on excuses. I don’t think any man can be happy with a woman who doesn’t respect him, no matter what her reasons might be.
My take? Show her lovingly that you are a good man. Patiently wear off her protective shell. But you also have to be firm at the same. I don’t mean that you should discipline her or any weird stuff like that. What I mean is that you should let her know when she does something she shouldn’t have done.
This requires wisdom, patience and a great deal of leadership. I grew up in a very loving home. My parents are one of the best couples you’d find anywhere. But before I agreed to date my husband, there was a level of naivety on my part. I hadn’t been in any serious relationships and I was afraid that he might change. I shared my heart with him, and I remember him telling me, sternly but lovingly: “When you love someone, you don’t watch to see whether or not they’ll fail. There is a level of trust needed in love.” I’m glad he told me that. If he simply treated me with kid-gloves, and said stuff that fed my fear, maybe I’d never have said yes to him.
Dear man-in-love with the Protective-Shelled-Supergirl, love her, show her that you are different, but must importantly, get to the point where she can let you lead before going into marriage. I’m always up for girl-power, but I’d never advise any one I love to marry a woman who won’t let you lead.
A feminist is one who champions the cause of women. That’s a noble cause; one I am extremely passionate about. However, when feminism tries to define itself by undermining men or a husband’s leadership role in a marriage, that’s when I get worried. I’ve said this time and time again; I’m all for women empowerment, but the husband is the head in a marriage. That’s how God ordained it. It doesn’t make the woman less of a human being the same way not being President of Nigeria makes me any less a Nigerian. Before you say I do, I think your girl must agree with that in principle and must make efforts to show it in action.Any man who will love a feminist (or any woman for that matter), has to let go of that opinion that women don’t have any use outside of the bedroom and the kitchen. You’ve also got to be passionate about women’s rights as well. If you’re trying to impress a feminist, chauvinistic comments would set you back a whole lot. You’ve got to see women as precious, intelligent equal beings. Because we are. But like I said earlier, your super girl must be willing to submit to you as the head of the relationship without behaving like she’s doing womanhood a disservice.
The choleric is the Type A, leadership type. She can be bossy but will also support you when it comes to getting things done. I’m not a know-it-all on the subject, but I think men with calmer temperaments should go for this kind of supergirl. But you still have to be the kind of man who is secure in himself and can make decisions on his own.
The girl with dreams
One thing every man wishes for his daughter is that she marries someone who supports her dreams. She dreams of becoming President of Nigeria. While one man may wonder how she can do that and still get home by 5 pm every day to make dinner from scratch, another man is thinking of what he can do to make her dreams come true. That’s why I believe that marrying supergirl is a choice, one that takes a different kind of man.
A different kind of man
Dear young man, it comes down to your choice. If you want a woman who makes every meal and is home before six, no one would judge you for that. I’ve met people-really amazing guys I might add- who want to marry women who won’t work and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve met women who are fulfilled being full time mothers, raising children who will live to the glory of God and I don’t look down on them. In fact, these women are Superwomen in their own rights. But my point here is that people are different. The most important thing is to live for Christ whether we are single, married, stay at home moms or self-acclaimed Supergirls.
That’s the case with the man fit for Supergirl. He’s got to be different. He is secure in being the man Christ died for and wouldn’t mind not being in the spotlight while his wife shines. He doesn’t feel like less of a man if she earns more, or if he has to watch the baby for a while if she’s running late from work. He can let her be President while he’s simply the President’s husband.
That’s the kind of man I’d like to call Superman. While everyone claims that behind every successful man is a supportive woman, he wants to be the supportive man behind the successful woman. He understands more than anyone else that her success is his success.
When you come into his terrain, he knows his stuff, but he doesn’t have to blow his trumpet to outshine that of his woman. He works hard, does his own thing, but still supports her and doesn’t threaten to withdraw his support at the drop of a hat. Let me just say that not all ‘Supermen’ are domestic in nature. Some can cook for Africa, some can barely boil water. When it all comes down to it, it’s a mindset thing. It is the willingness to be able to go out of your comfort zone; to try out stuff that may not be consistent with your ego, just so that your God-given treasure can bloom and live up to her true potential.
Dear brother, you must marry a woman that respects you. That’s non-negotiable. But your security cannot come from the submission your wife gives you have to be secure in your own right, your ego must not be easily threatened by the success of your wife. When you rest securely in who you are in Christ, then you’re more likely to attract a Supergirl with a heart for Christ and to build a successful relationship with her.
If your supergirl is the right kind, you don’t need to have a lot of money to earn her respect. But you have to be rich in mind and in spirit. You’ve got to have the wisdom, capacity and maturity to lead her.
Thanks for reading! This is such a sensitive topic, that I’ve had to divide it into two parts. In part two, I talk about choosing the right supergirl. It also contains a note to Supergirls that I’m sure would be eye opening for supergirls and the men who love them. Part two will be up from 3 pm on Monday. Please drop a message in the comments section and you’ll be the first to know when it’s out.
Please don’t leave without telling me what you think about the article and sharing it with your friends!