take initiative

5 Common Areas Where Women Want Men to Take Initiative

My wife loves being out in the wilderness. Before we were married, we took a group of teenagers on a week-long backpacking, hiking, and camping trip. As a former trail guide in Colorado, she initiated doing the trip and recruited one of her guide friends to help lead it with her. I have never been much of an outdoorsman. The farthest out into the wilderness I normally go is the 15th hole on a golf course. I assumed they had everything covered so I passively followed. Not once did I offer help, and I’ll admit that there were times when I had a less than positive attitude.

When we came off of the trail, I could see she was a little upset. My occasional bad attitude was reason enough, but the thing that really got to her was that I took no initiative to help lead. It was all on her, and that made her feel alone. Meanwhile, at the time, I thought everything was fine. This was partly a communication problem, but I have noticed that our relationship experiences difficulty when I lack initiative. When I sit passively rather than taking the lead or coming alongside my wife, both of us end up frustrated. Here are 5 common areas where women are looking for men to take initiative.

1. Leadership

Women want men to set a standard and direction for the family. They desire us to point our families to a higher moral character. This is not to say they want everything dictated to them. They are as much a part of determining the values of the family as us. However, they want us to carry the weight by living it out consistently, communicating it effectively, and reinforcing it.

Women want men to set a standard and direction for the family. Click To Tweet

2. Attention

Women want men that have eyes and ears for their family. They want full engagement and focus in conversation with both them and the kids. If you are like me, it’s easy after a long day to want to checkout. I have to remind myself, sometimes daily, that my family deserves, at least, as much attentive interest as work. When we enter the front door, they want us to zero in and pursue.

3. Planning

 If there was ever a place where my wife and I were opposites, it’s this one. It’s tough enough for me to figure out what to do today, let alone think ahead. My wife, meanwhile, already has our daughter’s birthday planned . . . in 2019 (Not really, but kind of). Whether you are a planner or not, they want our engagement here: vacations, date nights, family outings, meal plans, etc. It makes them feel cared for when we think things through with them and help them plan. They feel even more cared for when we bring it up before they do. When we leave them alone to plan, they feel alone. That’s the last thing they want.

4. Home Improvement

I haven’t met a woman yet that doesn’t want a beautiful home. Right or wrong, in some ways, it is a representation of them. They want us to notice the small details they add to make the home look better and appreciate it. Carrying our share of responsibility for household cleaning is a way to take weight off their shoulders. However, probably the thing they want most is to dream with them about the ideal home. It’s not really about size and wealth as much as it is creating a life together.

5. Finances

Women want a sense of security. It’s not about having a large salary, but an understanding and clear picture of the financial details. Security comes by our driving the financial conversation, setting goals, and accountability. This doesn’t mean dictating to them like a subordinate, but initiating the discussion of fiscal health and vision. Then it involves strategizing with them on how to reach those goals.

Sound Off

How does showing initiative help our relationships?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • Paul_Sp

    Great read, and I’m not even married….thanks!

    • BJ_Foster

      Thanks Paul!

  • Pat

    Holy Cow, have you been talking with my wife! We celebrated 26 yrs this year and all of these have been and continue to be areas where we have had challenging (to put it politely) conversations that I continually need to be paying attention. Like you said, it’s easy to come home and become complacent. Thank you for sharing. Pat

    • BJ_Foster

      Congratulations on 26 years Pat! You’re definitely must be meeting those challenges!

  • Cassie Noel Pringle

    I feel like this section just reiterated EVERYTHING I have told my husband I feel is going wrong in our marriage….He’s gonna think I read this before talking to him. ALL of this is true! to a T

  • MrMarine

    I have a ton of dysfunction in my past and I never saw my dad step up and lead – so for me, it’s been a challenging 4 years with my wife to take up these principles. Only now am I starting to realize their importance – in particular, leadership.

    • Rob Watwood

      Breaking a cycle is difficult. I applaud you for taking the step to deal with how your father “wounded” you. I think all men have to do this to some degree even with the best fathers. some resources that you may find helpful are Tender Warrior by Stu Weber, and Wild at Heart or Fathered by God by John Eldredge. these were all helpful to me to be the point man for my family. Praying for you.

      • MrMarine

        I love Wild At Heart! I will definitely check out Tender Warrior. Thanks Rob!

    • Ryan

      MrMarine, I have had the same difficulties plague me in my life and I have paid the price of that. I hear ya and I am trying to lead my family well with a strong, dominant woman who has always called the shots.

  • netreality

    Sorry, I just came across your website and have to wonder how many diverse women you spoke with to put this together? Women don’t want leadership, they want a partner. A partner in having fun, doing chores, raising children, saving and spending, leading activities, etc. According to the statistics, men are willing to be partners when in the pursuit stage of the relationship, but they slack off significantly after having children, and the wives get frustrated and resentful. 70% of women work full-time, even after having children, and unless their partner gives 100% to his family, the wife will most definitely be overwhelmed and pissed off. This I have heard from 100’s of women, and read in tons of articles. Always be kind, and always give more than you get, and you will have a happy wife and marriage.

    • BJ_Foster

      Thank you for your question and comment. I think we are actually closer to agreement than you might think. It depends on how you are looking at and defining leadership. I see it in a lot of things you mentioned: pursuit, engagement, serving, upholding agreed upon standards and direction, providing (more than monetarily) and protecting (more than physical). I have seen a diverse group of women wanting exactly that. I wasn’t suggesting a Lord it over them form of leadership or a man having more power.

    • Paul_Sp

      I think women want both a partner, but very much admire leadership in men/husbands too, and welcome it, so long as he doesn’t abuse her or make her feel second rate in status.

  • Kushington Budz III

    Great advice…

  • Gregory Johnson

    This is a touchy dialogue. It is a part of relationships that is oxymoronic to me.
    I say this because years ago, when I was lecturing on Fatherhood, one of my laments was the subconscious disconnect at the moment a child is born. The essence of the message was the thoughts at the moment of child birth that are clearly thought but seldom, if ever, shared. Briefly, most Fathers have a cascade of thoughts based on excitement and genuine Love for the child and the mother. at the same time the Mother is experiencing a tsunami of thoughts regarding the health and well being of the child in the immediate and well into the future. Similar thoughts that are seldom shared. In the Parenting world, Dad’s all too often subordinate themselves to the thoughts, wishes and dreams of the Mother. The Mother feels it is her responsibility for many things related to the child and would be imposing on the Dad to ask for assistance that are maternal versus paternal. Unfortunately, our society is structured in this manner and it works against everyone. Communicating and sharing are vital assets to being human. finding ways to exercise these assets in a positive manner should be everyone’s ambition versus being critical of most things.
    I’m lecturing and must stop. But, this is a very important topic to embrace in a POSITIVE manner only. The negative and critical thoughts, comments and behavior need NOT attend.

  • DodgeLogical

    Not sure I agree. I think this is what YOU want women to want. You’re one very short step from coming across as sexist. Think about it if the article was written this way –

    Five Areas Where Men Want Women not to Show Iniative

    1) Leadership
    2) Attention
    3) Planning
    4) Home Improvement
    5) Finances

    Doesn’t sound so good now.

    • Paul_Sp

      But your example is NOT what this article postulates. You’re twisting things, likely to fit your sensibility of what is “correct” to think or say.
      Following YOUR logic, one could conclude if women/wives want their men to be tidy and do laundry, men do not want women to be tidy and do the laundry.
      Any time someone states something to or regarding one gender only, regardless of how accurate or beneficial it is, some will take issue just because gender was isolated.
      Hopefully a majority won’t get stuck on that.

      • DodgeLogical

        Well stated. Point taken.

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