Thursday, July 19, 2012
New Guest Columnists: Nancy and Dennis – Evangelists for Female-Led Relationships
(Note from Mark Remond: While I continue on “indefinite hiatus” to pursue other writing projects, I am delighted to be able to turn this space over to two highly qualified and experienced advocates of female led relationships—“Nancy and Dennis,”a female-led couple for more than 25 years. In fact, as I noted in an earlier post (August 13, 2008), “Where Have You Gone, Nancy and Dennis?”), they have taken it farther, “not only advocating but evangelizing for female-led relationships.” For many years now, with Nancy naturally taking the lead, they have been conducting workshops at women’s centers where they “advise women to take control of their relationships and do so by becoming more demanding of their men.” To my great good fortune, Nancy and Dennis have agreed to do a series of guests posts for readers of Worshipping Your Wife. They will be exploring the same topics they cover in their FLR workshops; and, of course, will respond to any comments or questions that interest them.
I met my wife, Nancy, in college at a NOW meeting. We were – and are – both Feminists dedicated to the Woman's movement. We were both active in sit-ins, marches, and grass roots organizing. We're still active Feminists and these activities are very important to us and to the ultimate success of the Woman's Movement. The female-led relationship we have is rooted in our Feminism.
We came to put our Feminist beliefs into practice in our own lives in the form of a very workable Female-led marriage. Our experiences growing up predisposed us to just such an arrangement. Nancy grew up in a family with a tradition of female-led households. There was a hierarchy in place as well a variety of rules that ensured men knew what was expected of them. Having grown up in an all-female household I wanted to find a strong woman to guide me. I wasn't an hour into my first visit home with Nancy that I realized that in Her I found the woman I was seeking.
Our marriage has blossomed with each of us fulfilling our respective dominant and submissive dispositions. Nancy and her mother are in charge of our household. Nancy is focused on her career but also manages our finances, plans a social agenda, and makes the majority of decisions. I have put my career on the back burner in deference to Nancy and focus on domestic concerns. I am responsible for housework and have a routine of cleaning, washing, ironing, and looking after the women and their guests. Nancy's mother resides with us and manages my day-to-day activities. I defer to her as I would to Nancy. Between Nancy and her mother rules and standards are well documented. Knowing what to do and how frees me from any need to make decisions, a wonderful feeling. Besides, I get enough decision-making in work and am happy to defer to the women at home. There is immense satisfaction from looking after the needs of one's wife, pampering her, and relieving her of the drudgery of routine tasks and household chores.
Nancy and I are active in promoting female-led relationships, which we term “progressive” relationships since terms such as “female-led” sometimes bring the wrong ideas to women. Many women look at “female-led” as being the thing of male fantasy but accept “progressive” as something that is desirable to them. Through local churches and feminist groups we conduct workshops to help women explore, adopt, and grow in progressive relationships. We’ve had women from across the socioeconomic spectrum, but the majority of woman are professionals who want something different from a typical patriarchal marriage. They want to explore the possibilities and are always surprised to learn what can be done.
Our efforts have two main thrusts. The first is directed at women. We encourage women to be assertive and take control of their relationships. We advise women on practical steps to establish and enforce their authority—the most important of which is having financial control, but also things such as having written rules, roles, and standards and keeping hubby productively occupied. There are many other things, too, things like a written agreement that specifies her expectations and his obligations after marriage. Women can proceed at their own pace but their end goal should be control of the relationship; if her man is enlightened enough to see the advantage of such an arrangement, then she should accelerate the pace.
The second thrust concerns men and how a man deferring to a woman surrendering isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, men are very happy in a relationship when things are spelled out for them. Men don't know what women want, so women have to tell them. When they realize what their wife wants, men will act appropriately and, in fact, continually do more for her. I often accompany Nancy to workshops and attest to my happiness in a female-led relationship.
We’d like to build on this and discus issues of interest. We are most interested in sharing our ideas and hearing about what others are doing, what works for them. We welcome any questions and will answer them as time permits. In future posts, Nancy and I can discuss our roles in more detail as well as broader issues such as men taking a woman's name in marriage, which is always a topic of discussion with women who are exploring progressive relationships.