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[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Chapter Summary”]Our culture often tells us that only alpha males can be leaders. The truth is, you don’t have to be an athlete, a successful businessman or a lumberjack to be a good husbandly leader. This chapter is all about what separates husbandly leadership from other types of leadership, and why all men have equal potential to lead their marriage.[/thrive_text_block]
“But Jacob, some men just aren’t meant to be leaders…”
This is one of the most common objections I hear when I tell people that husbandly leadership is a requirement for a happy marriage.
Maybe this same objection is running through your head right now. Do you feel like you’re not cut out for leadership? Let’s get this out of the way up front:
It doesn’t matter what type of man you see when you look in the mirror. You do NOT have to be an extroverted, charismatic alpha-type to be the husband of her dreams.
In this chapter we’ll learn what separates a good husband in marriage from a good leader in the corporate world, and why even the strongest, most dominant women still want a leader for a husband.
The Difference Between a Corporate Executive, an Alpha Male & a Husbandly Leader
Not all men are made to be CEOs. Not all men are made to be the head of their own law firm, or the manager of a business. Heck, some of the men reading this are stay-at-home dads!
This isn’t just because these men don’t have the skills to fill these roles, it’s because they don’t have the personality traits required for corporate leadership. Myself included… I’d make a terrible CEO.
And yet, these same men who aren’t cut out for corporate leadership – and yes I’m talking about guys like you and me – must come home and lead their marriage and family, no matter what they do during the day.
So, this can only mean one thing: There has to be a difference between corporate leadership and husbandly leadership. Let’s take a look…
[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Traits of a Corporate Leader:”]
What does it take to succeed in the corporate world? What traits do you need to lead people in the workplace? These are common traits of a corporate leader:
Results-Oriented – Your job is to make sure the people below you meet the overarching goals of the business. You need to see the core objectives of the business and convert those into specific tasks for your team to carry out.
Ruthless – Since results are your top priority, if someone below you isn’t performing up to standard, it’s your job to remove them and find a suitable replacement.
Self-Centered – Climbing the corporate ladder requires self-centered ambition. You have to be your top priority, followed by the needs of the company, followed by the needs of your employees.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this; I’m not condemning it. But there’s also no denying it… When it’s down to you or that other guy for the big promotion, you’ll be rooting for yourself 10 times out of 10.
Highly Skilled – No explanation needed here… Whatever it is you do, you’re really good at it. That’s how you got to the top.
Deadline Driven – Again, self-explanatory. Every project has a deadline, and it falls on you if your team fails to meet it.
Precise – You can’t afford to make mistakes; you’ve got too much responsibility for that. A corporate leader’s mistakes do a lot more damage than a mid- to low-level employee’s mistakes. Because of that, corporate leaders learn to be precise.
Confident – You must stand behind your decisions and take responsibility for their results, both good and bad.
This list isn’t meant to be offensive to corporate leaders. I don’t have any ethical objection to the structure and priorities of the corporate world. This list is simply meant to showcase the traits required of a high-level corporate executive or manager versus those of a husbandly leader.
But, before we talk about traits of a husbandly leader, let’s talk about that loaded term we’ve all heard so many times – the mythical “alpha male”.
What is an “Alpha Male”?
There are a bunch of different definitions for the term “Alpha Male” out there. So, before we compare an alpha male to a husbandly leader, we need to know exactly what we’re talking about.
Wrong Definition: The Modern White Knight
Some websites (like this one, this one, this one and this one) liken the Alpha Male to the medieval white knight…
They paint a picture of an alpha male as a man who’s chivalrous, passionate and unshakably confident all at the same time. But, he’s also never controlling, arrogant or negative. He takes challenges head-on and doesn’t flinch in the face of failure. But, let’s be real – this alpha male NEVER really fails.
This definition is wrong.
This new-fangled definition of an alpha male is generic feel-good nonsense that doesn’t have any anthropological weight. That’s not to say these aren’t good principles to strive for, but nobody is going to be all of those things, so it’s hard to apply this type of advice in real-life.
The truth is that the modern “alpha male” trend is just a new type of self-improvement initiative targeted at young men who simultaneously want to get laid while feeling superior to other men. This definition is NOT the type of alpha male I’m talking about.
Right Definition: The Dominant Male
In anthropology, the alpha male is the most dominant male in a pack or tribe. It may be because he’s the strongest, the biggest or the meanest, but whatever the reason, he’s on top. Because of that, he gets his choice of mates, food and land.
In modern society, true alpha males are usually charismatic, outgoing and controlling. They tend to be physically fit and successful, but not always. They make confident, natural leaders, and they’re usually the ones who rise to the top in both business and social circles… But not by being all-around ‘good guys’ without any flaws.
[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Traits of an Alpha Male:”]
Now that we’ve seen traits of a corporate leader, let’s look at these traits of an alpha male and compare him to our ideal husbandly leader:
Performance-Oriented – Much like the corporate leader, the stereotypical alpha male is driven by performance and results. But, while the corporate leader measures performance based on revenue and profits, the standard alpha male measures performance based on his social status or the number of women he’s slept with.
Ruled By Sex – If you’re interested in becoming an alpha male, what are you really interested in? Having more sex. Hey, I can’t blame you, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have more sex with your wife, but a marriage is more than that. In fact, this high priority on sex can make monogamy very challenging for alpha males.
Pass or Fail – By definition, an alpha male either is or is not; there’s no room in between. He’s either on top (pass) or he’s anywhere else that’s not on top (fail). This puts a ton of pressure on the alpha male because he fears what will happen if/when he fails.
Isolated – It sounds a little counter-intuitive, but true alpha males live an isolated lifestyle. In their friendships, they have to be the best. In their career, they have to be the best. In their relationships, they have to be the best.
Are you starting to see a pattern?
True alpha males actually have a really hard time relating to other people. And for anyone who thinks alpha males relate well to other alpha men, just tell me the last time you saw a group of dogs with TWO dominant males. There can only be one.
Proud – Pride is a tricky thing because it comes in many forms…
When an alpha male is on top, his pride looks like arrogance. His pride says, “Look at me, I deserve to be on top because I’m the best.”
When an alpha male is on bottom, his pride looks like self-pity. His pride says, “Look at me, I deserve to be on top… Since I’m not, that can only mean that the world is against me.”
In both cases, the proud man is blind to his faults and won’t take responsibility for his failures.
Just look at each of these traits… Do they look like the traits you’d want in a husband? Does this man really have any natural advantage when it comes to being a good husband?
No. Not at all.
And here’s where we get to the crux of the issue, and why husbandly leadership applies to more than just alpha males:
Alpha Males FAIL to Lead Their Marriage Just As Often as “Beta” Males
Alpha males can still be good husbandly leaders, sure, but leadership inside a marriage requires a completely different set of traits than those possessed by both the corporate leader and the alpha male.
In fact, I’d wager that if you’re an alpha male, you will have a harder time adjusting to the structure of a healthy marriage than non-alphas. Typically, the alpha males I get emails from have waited wayyyy too long to ask for help. As a result, they must overcome much bigger challenges in their marriage.
That being said, if you’re an alpha male, don’t be discouraged. You CAN fulfil your role as a husbandly leader and get your wife back. The whole point of this chapter is that ANYBODY can do this; all it takes is awareness, dedication and time.
[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Traits of a Good Husbandly Leader:”]
Now that we’ve seen the common traits of a corporate leader and an alpha male, let’s remind ourselves what a good husbandly leader looks like. This is sort of an extension of what we talked about in Chapter 1:
Actively Seeks Happiness – Above all, a husbandly leader wants the best life for his wife and family. He wants them to be happy and content, and everything he does is working towards that one goal.
Selfless – The way you measure success as a husbandly leader is by the contentment of your wife and family. That means you can’t afford to focus on yourself. Your priorities are your wife first, your kids second and yourself third.
Servant-Leadership – The role of the husband is one of few leadership roles where being a good leader also means being a good servant. A husbandly leader’s chief job is to listen, fill needs, nurture growth and provide love.
Patient & Forgiving – The good husband is a bottomless fountain of mercy, patience and forgiveness. His wife and family NEVER doubt that he truly loves them unconditionally. This patience is his source of strength, and it comes from recognizing his own flaws and being able to empathize with the struggles of others.
Now that we know what makes a good husbandly leader, we’re going to finish up the chapter by answering the most common objections to husbandly leadership I’ve heard over the years.
Introverted Men Who Hate Conflict Can’t Be Good Husbandly Leaders
Some people say that introverted men and guys who avoid conflict shouldn’t be expected to lead their marriage.
Want to hear a secret?
I hate conflict. I avoid it at all costs.
Speaking my mind when I have something negative or uncomfortable to say is a HUGE struggle.
When my wife and I get into one of those arguments that can’t be resolved unless I speak my mind, I literally have to ask her to give me a minute… I have to mentally psyche myself up to get the guts to say what I’m really thinking. I have to tell her, “Give me a minute, I need to think about what I want to say.”
And you know what?
She does give me a minute, and I do say what I’m really thinking. My introverted personality, my natural aversion to conflict, my people-pleasing nature… None of that matters because in the end I do what must be done because I know I need to. I say what needs to be said, even though it doesn’t come naturally to me. And my wife respects me for it.
I want you to skim through that list of husbandly leader traits up there one more time…
Now, tell me, do you think that you have to be an extrovert to do any of those things?
Looking at those traits, do you think it’s IMPOSSIBLE for an introvert to lead his marriage?
Of course not. If you’re an introverted guy, you can and should still be the leader in your marriage.
And guess what?
Just like the alpha male, there’ll be some parts of husbandly leadership that you’ll struggle with. Nobody’s perfect, especially when most of us guys don’t even know what “perfect” means in a marriage. But even though it’s a struggle, you’ll find a way to make it work. After all, that’s what you’re here for! That’s why this course exists.
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert; alpha type or beta type; natural leader or natural follower… We ALL have to learn to do the stuff we’re bad at – the stuff we don’t like doing – in our marriage.
You Can’t Lead Your Wife if You’re a Stay-at-Home Dad
Being a stay-at-home dad is a challenge; no doubt about that. For some men, it’s so challenging that they feel hamstrung, like they can’t live up to their potential as a husband and leader.
My dad was a stay-at-home dad, so I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is to find fulfillment and feel like a leader when you’re the one in charge of running the house.
… But, in the end, it doesn’t matter how hard it is. You must find a way to lead your marriage. Or else you won’t have a marriage to lead.
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but these are all real-life objections that I’ve heard about husbandly leadership. I want to get them allllll out of the way.
Keep in mind that as a stay-at-home dad, the specific tasks you’ll have to do to fulfill your role as the leader will be different from the guy who works outside the house all day to bring home the bacon. But, the core mindset and principles are exactly the same.
Strong Women Don’t Want a Leader at Home
When someone says that “some men just aren’t meant to lead,” there’s another hidden objection behind that statement. It’s that “some women just aren’t meant to follow”.
When most people say that there are exceptions to husbandly leadership, they usually envision a wimpy guy married to a strong-willed, confident businesswoman.
She’s the boss at work. She’s highly organized. She’s self-sufficient and independent. She doesn’t need a husbandly leader at home because she IS the leader in anything and everything she does.
That assumption couldn’t be further from the truth…
Despite what most people assume, this strong woman wants a strong man at home even more than most!
In fact, that strong woman you pictured is more likely to ask for a divorce BECAUSE she has such high expectations for her husband. Strong women have a much lower tolerance for flaky, inconsistent and inconsiderate men.
For example, take this quote from an article by Elizabeth Stone on YourTango.com:
[pullquote align=”normal”]“I started noticing how common it is for motivated, career-oriented women to have problems gaining and maintaining romantic relationships with strong, worthy, men. They seem to have everything going for them in the workplace but when they go home, something is missing.” [/pullquote]
More than anyone else, strong women want a strong man at home. Even though they’d never say it, these women actually look down on weak, dependent men. A strong woman will be totally unhappy if she has to be the leader at work AND at home.
Husbandly Leadership is for EVERYONE!
Hopefully now you can see that husbandly leadership really and truly applies to everyone. All women want a leader at home, and all men have the potential to lead their marriage.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, an A-type or a B-type, a CEO or a stay-at-home dad… Every husband is expected to lead his marriage with love and confidence.
[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”Key Takeaways from Chapter 5:”]
- There is a huge difference between the traits required to be a corporate leader, an alpha male and a husbandly leader. They are not the same.
- The stereotypical alpha male does NOT have a natural advantage when it comes to husbandly leadership. If anything, he has a harder time with it than most men because of his need to be on top.
- Every husband must live up to the leadership role inside marriage, or else the marriage will decay. No exceptions.
- You can be introverted, bad at confrontation or a stay-at-home dad and STILL be a great husbandly leader that your wife adores and respects.
- Contrary to popular belief, strong women want a confident husbandly leader even more than the typical housewife.
[thrive_link color=’blue’ link=’https://inside.husbandhelphaven.com/chapter-6-the-seven-areas-of-husbandly-leadership/’ target=’_self’ size=’big’ align=’aligncenter’]Go to Chapter 6. The Seven Areas of Husbandly Leadership[/thrive_link]