Who Wears The Trousers?

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 "When you tug at a single thing in the world, you find that it's attached to everything else." John Muir 

I think this quote best sums up where we are currently with the roles we play in our relationships and marriages. I was having a conversation with an old colleague when she proudly boasted that she takes the lead and wears the trousers in her marriage because her husband is "rubbish at that kind of stuff". This got me thinking about what it means to "wear the trousers" in a relationship. The "trouser" is a symbol that represents a man who is decisive, leads, provides and knows how to introduce new things to a relationship but the truth is that in the society we currently live in, this has become optional for a man to choose whether or not he wears the "trousers" in a relationship. In essence, when a man opts out of wearing the trousers, he pulls away from fulfilling his roles within a relationship and creates a vacancy of which his partner will ultimately lean into in order to keep things ticking over. I'm going to call this process "The Tug".

Have you ever heard a woman confess to planning all of her date nights? Maybe you've heard a married woman openly share that she is the one who makes all the decisions and guides the direction of her marriage? These statements seem quite acceptable on the surface however, these are both statement that simply highlight areas in a relationship where a void has been created by a man who hasn't fully stepped UP and stepped IN to HIS trousers. We've all been there at some point but the question is this - how do we get back in our grease-stained, old spice smelling trousers again? How can we be intentional about getting back in the driver’s seat and become that symbol of a man who's decisive, leads, provides and knows how to be intentional about bringing new experiences to the relationship again?  

I thought I'd share 9 things us men could all be doing today in order to make sure we are wearing our own trousers again and fulfilling our natural role within the relationship:



1. Up Your Game.  

Don't reduce her to have to come down to the level that you are currently underperforming at. DO MORE! Be better, be encouraged and feel challenged to push yourself to grow beyond capacity. Be committed to again becoming a man who was IS dedicated to stretch and work on self-development. When you grow, she grows; and when she grows, so does the rest of the family. It's a no brainer! If you want to get back in the driver’s seat, you have to increase your level of drive, passion, and competence. Most men can quite easily be content with repeating the same routine year in year out but, it turns out, most women like variety, change, and progression. So up your game and work on providing an environment that allows others to feel inspired to grow also. 



2. Initiate date night.  

Dates can be fun but if single people are the only ones who get to go on them, then... well, you're better off not getting married. Ask her out on a date! Just because you've got the girl it doesn't mean that the fun stops. The fun has just begun! Don't just go on dates with your wife - make sure that you are the one who initiates it. Set the date and be intentional about creating new experiences. There is nothing worse than taking her to the same place over and over and over again because she told you ONCE that she really liked the food there.  If you’re stuck for ideas, check out the abc's of dating ideas. 



3. Bring Out The Best In Her.  

Find out what she is passionate about, what takes her to that ‘happy place’ and lead her there. When you take the time to just reconnect with each other and tap back into those characteristics which attracted you to each other in the first place you can begin to rediscover what she is passionate about and what makes her happy. It’s good to take a side step out of your current situation and remind yourself of why you promised to commit to this woman. Look for the best in her - even when she is mad at you - because if you focus on what you love about her and work on bringing that out of her more, you can’t help but be driven by that love to forgive the things you don’t.  



4. Don't Try To Change Her.  

Trust me when I say you probably have plenty of work to do on yourself and that is all you should be worrying about. Men often moan and criticise their wives but I think if you were to swap the word ‘brother’ for ‘wife’, this quote from the bible sums it up perfectly: “why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”  Your job is to love her as she is. Nothing more, nothing less.    



5. A Happy Wife Makes a Happy Life. 

You are the engine that powers that happy train! Grasping the concept that your wife’s sole purpose in life is NOT simply to make you happy is key. Be accountable for creating your own happiness. My father has always said, “a happy wife is a happy life.” And I have to admit... he was right. I recently surprised my wife with a trip to Rome for her birthday and found that it's in the little moments like that where my joy has come from simply seeing her be happy. The environment we live in may not always be conducive to building a happy life, however, as men it’s our job to do our very best to work on cultivating and changing the environment around us! Read this article for more on how to make a happy wife. 



6. Have Fun!  

Laughter! Remember that? I know that life can sometimes knock the fun out of us but try not to take life so seriously. Have fun; jump on her (not too hard!) and be playful (wink wink). Make her laugh. Take a risk and make a fool out of yourself... for her. Take an unplanned road trip or whatever else you need to do to kick-start the fun. It's been said that the best curve on a woman’s body is her smile. So put yourself in positions where you are forced to chase after new adventurous experiences and put a smile on her face.  



7. Unplug!  

With all of the distractions around us, we can often mistake being ‘there’ for being ‘present’. Don’t focus on simply being in her presence, focus on engaging with her mentally.  I once heard the mind of a man likened to a house, in which a woman is waiting to be invited into every room.  So invite her into your world. Create an unplugged moment! Switch off the TV, go for a walk, talk, share your visions and goals for your family and listen to her views and feedback.  Regularly set aside time to give her all your time, your focus and all of your attention. All of it - 100%.  



8. Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder.  

Time together is great when it happens, however, I have found that having that time apart can actually help create a space that allows us enjoy our own time as individuals and have more to talk about when we reconnect. If you have children, or even if you don’t, allow her to take time for herself. We all need that space every now and then to have a moment where we can just indulge in something tailored for us. The bonus is that if you don’t have children, then whilst she is having her time off you can also have yours! Chicken Dinner... Everyone's a winner! 



9. Learn To Lead.  

Some men are just born leaders. They know exactly what to do, how to empower and have an innate knack for leading others. You also have those who don't fit in that category and the position of leadership has been a learned character trait, however, whether you're born with these abilities or you've learned them along the way, every man CAN and SHOULD lead in his relationship. Let's take the Tango, for example. There are 2 roles needed to execute this dance properly; a male part and a female part. The key to making this dance work and function as it was designed is to have a strong and confident male that... LEADS. Once the male is able to lead in this dance it makes it very easy for the female to then follow in any direction that he leads. Marriage is no different. Leading is a man’s innate function however HOW we choose to lead must first be learned. So get learning! You can learn by changing your circle of friends and start hanging out with other guys whose wives can vouch for them as men and as husbands. Take tips, lead and introduce her to new unexplored paths within your relationship. A man who can Tango well will have a woman who is confident in his ability to lead and will follow him to the end of the Earth. Learn to lead the Tango of life!  



At some point, we mistook the meaning of the word "equality" for the word "same". My wife and I are equal, however, we are not the same, and so our roles are both equally important though they function in very different ways. If we forget our roles as men and allow our women to step in, then we will ultimately end up depriving our women, and those around us, of a much-needed resource that is very much needed in this day and age. Let's start wearing the trousers again so she doesn't have to!w and lets talk!


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