The TL;DR background is that during his low testosterone years, my husband had become disconnected from what was going on in our family and had stopped being the leader in our marriage. He had long since fixed the low T, but our dynamics were still skewed toward me making the bulk of the decisions. We both wanted that to change, but needed tools to help us.
Part 1: Mr. Disappearing Man – What to Do When Your Husband Struggles to Lead.
“Wow, that’s great, Will!” I said excitedly. “I can’t believe they bumped up your scholarship from 90% to 100%. You’ve done so well in your classes. Congratulations!”
“Yeah, and they actually changed it from a scholarship to a grant!” Will replied.
“Wait, I don’t get it. What’s the difference?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Okay, sounds like we’ll need to do some research and figure out what all it covers, and how it ….”
I trailed off as my 15 year old walked in the room.
“Mom, can I go to the Homecoming Dance?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“Excellent! Jessica’s going to be there,” he replied.
“Oh, did you ask her if she would go out with you?”
“Yeah, I did last night at the Homecoming Game,” he replied. “She said ‘yes’!”
“That’s great, honey. She seems like a really nice girl.”
“MOM!” Our 12 year old burst through the front door. “I was drafted on the neighborhood football team and Ben said I have a lot of talent! He played me for all four quarters.! I really really want to try out for the school football team next year. You told me you would think about it. I’m old enough now.”
My heart sank. I had hoped that he would forget about wanting to try out for football. I hated the thought of him getting hurt.
“Wellllll,” I began. “Let me think about it and …”
I paused as a sudden realization struck me. My husband was in the garage working and wasn’t hearing any of these conversations. I thought about the myriad of conversations that took place with the kids that he never heard. No wonder he never knew what was going on.
And then I started thinking back to the low T testosterone years and all the things I had tried to spare him. Broken windows, and squeaky appliances.
Kids’ misbehavior and financial woes. School open houses and extra-curriculars. I tried to handle all of those things because he was so overwhelmed and exhausted all the time.
Those were dark years for him and he had struggled simply to keep things on track at work. In an effort to support him, I had taken on more and more on the domestic front. I simply made decisions and moved on. By the time we saw each other in the evenings, we were both out of energy, and communication was minimal. Plus, there was so much anger and resentment between us over our sexual dysfunction that there were many nights we didn’t talk at all; we just retreated to our separate corners.
Wow! The realization hit me forcefully. Our dynamics were really dysfunctional! The way we had done things during the low T years had been necessary to a certain extent, but our situation was completely different, now. My husband was full of energy and completely capable of taking charge and making decisions. If I wanted him take a leadership role in our family, I had to do my part and provide him with the tools to do so. In this case, one tool was information. I needed to make sure that he had access to the same information about the kids that I did.
But how to do that? He still worked long hours and on the nights he worked out, he came home completely wiped. Plus, so much of the important stuff happened in little snippets here and there and by the time evening rolled around and we saw each other again, I had no recollection of what had gone on during the day. What was the best way to keep him in the loop?
Part 3: Pulling Him In – How to Give Your Husband the Tools He Needs to Lead Your Family