Dragon at work, doormat at home

Dragon at work, doormat at home

Let Hubby rule the roost? Experts say why it's more than okay to take a back seat at home - and it can even make your marriage stronger. 

Our Experts:
Kloudiia Tay, relationship coach and certified matchmaker
Fu Shihua, life coach from Executive Coach International

*Names have been changed.


Assistant director, Ashley*, 38, prides herself on being a successful, independent career woman. But she has no qualms about admitting she's "submissive" at home.

"I work long hours and manage a big team at work. So I appreciate having someone else take charge at home - it allows me to shut off entirely when I get back. My husband calls the shots on everything, from choosing a tuition centre for our 10-year-old son to doing the grocery shopping."

Kloudiia Tay, a relationship coach and certified matchmaker, says it can be extremely stressful and tiring to be in charge all the time.

"When you're already fighting battles at work, it's perfectly all right - and healthy for your marriage - to let your husband help out with decision-making at home. Taking a back seat doesn't mean that you won't be able to make decisions at all," she adds.

"For example, if your husband picks a place for a holiday, you can offer to come up with some plans and discuss them together. There's always opportunity for communication - even if you eventually go along with your hubby's decisions."

Handing over the reins at home to Hubby not only takes some weight off your shoulders, it also improves your marital communication skills, says Fu Shihua, life coach from Executive Coach International.

"It's important to show him that you value and trust his opinions - even if you have something else in mind."

Learning to Let Go

Not everyone may be comfortable relinquishing control at home. For marketing manager, Jeanette*, 41, it's a bit of a catch-22.

"I'm so used to taking charge at work that it's difficult to break the habit when I get home. I do wish that my husband would help out more at home, but I probably wouldn't feel good about letting him make all the decisions either."

This inner conflict is a familiar one for a lot of women, says Shihua.

"Women now have the ability to earn an income and climb the corporate ladder. So it's no surprise if they feel indignant or uncomfortable about being called 'submissive', thinking that it means being a doormat."

She suggests thinking of it as a neutral behaviour - it just means taking a back seat and letting someone else take the lead for a change.

If you find this challenging, remind yourself why you're doing it, advises Shihua.

"Understand that you're choosing to adopt this role because you value your husband's input. Every time there's a decision to be made, you want him to feel appreciated and respected - if you keep taking the lead, where would he be in the equation?"

She cites a personal example: "When we were buying our house, I let my husband pick the colour to paint our front door - even though he's colour blind. It was my way of showing him that he's my equal partner. And just because he's colour blind doesn't mean he can't have a choice. In the end, he picked baby pink - which he sees as a bluish shade."

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