So you cant make a change like this to a marriage without thought to the foundation you want to build and how you’re going to build it. You’re unpicking years of set patterns of behaviours and responses, of excuses and settling.
Having broached the topic with my wife, I suggested to her that we set ourselves up for success by formalising the rules, define whats in, whats out and agree, unambiguously how it’s going to work. Uncertainty causes conflict. Remove it!
As I sheepishly opened my heart to my wife, I realised that a lot of the changes I wanted were an admission of my failures and how I thought I might go about doing better. I spent time considering what the impact of our life was on her and it turns out as we talked this through I was pretty close to the mark, bringing some tears on occasion.
She started off sitting down kinda wanting to get it over with and ended up appreciating what I was saying. I framed it up for both of us, and she opened up as we went and ended up significantly contributing to the outcome. (I actually expect her to significantly shape to the ground rules going forward as she gains control and realises this is her prerogative)
For me, I wanted to bring about meaningful change – leaving me to focus all my thoughts and energies on my beautiful wife and ensuring she has the time and space to flourish
- surrender control and authority to my wife
- work on my weak areas and behavioral shortcomings and having my wife genuinely hold me to account when I come up short
- create routine, formality and structure – making my role in the marriage simple and unambiguous
- work on our sense of togetherness by cutting out the things that distract me and add no value
- deliberately spend time together to do things that enrich us
- relinquish control over all financial matters including my own
For her, I had identified some things that made her unhappy and how they might be addressed by adopting an FLR.
- making her the core of family unit and sole decision maker.
- removing sources of conflict – make her the boss and clearly define our retrospective roles and what that means in practice
- cutting out behaviours in me that she finds undesirable and empowering her to know she has the right and authority call me on my BS.
- empowering her to take over the finances and give her control so she can make her own decisions as to what we spend money on and what we dont. (for me, this is a big one, as the sole earner, I’d had that control for way too long. Money is power and for this to work, she has to have sole access to that)
Establishing the underlying motivations, your shortcomings and their impacts on the relationship is a very powerful step. You both have to be completely honest as these rules form the bedrock of your new life together.