My own experience is typical. Before I transformed our marriage I was a competent practitioner in my field. My colleagues valued my contributions but I was never called on to lead projects. That changed almost overnight.
We were meeting to discuss a project that had fallen so far behind schedule that the client was threatening to cancel it. Everyone was engaged in the political game of CYA. It wasn't their fault, they insisted, they were unable to deliver because they didn't get what they were expecting from others on the team. And so the finger pointing proceeded in ever more heated rounds. Even the so-called team leader was playing along, no doubt because the senior partner responsible for the client was in attendance.
It had been less than a year since I had taken over as Queen of our household and only a few months since my husband had given up his career to become a full-time homemaker. We were still exploring options, experimenting with styles, and working out various practical issues. But already I was feeling a sense of authority in the home and learning to express it freely and openly. Often I was amazed at what I heard from my own lips:
Before: "Can you please go to the DMV to take care of this?"
After: "Tomorrow you are going to the DMV to take care of this."
Before: "Would you please change the sheets today?"
After: "I expect to see clean sheets tonight."
Before: "I think your blue shirt goes well with the black slacks."
After: "I've set out the blue shirt with the black slacks for you to wear."
Before: "It seems like it's been a while since you've been to the gym."
After: "Go to the gym this morning, your workout card is on the table".
I remember feeling increasingly frustrated by what I was hearing at that meeting. I would never put up with that from my husband, why was the senior partner accepting it from the team? So when I got the chance I called them all out on their excuses, particularly the team leader, and proceeded to put the project back on track and save the account.
Not only did I earn the attention and respect of the senior partner, from then on I was regarded by my peers as one of the strongest leaders in the firm. As my responsibilities grew so did my confidence and authority. Everyone, even those who knew me before that meeting, just assumed that I was a born leader. Often women would approach me asking how they too could advance in their careers up the corporate ladder. I helped them as best I could without revealing the source of my strength.
The truth is that I was not a born leader. I might well have gone through life as a mere practitioner, content to take orders from others. But once I got a taste of it at home I could not be held back at the firm.
And, of course, my confidence flowed the opposite way as well. The more successful I was at the firm the more confident I was at home with my family. Although my husband had long since given up on his own career, it is fair to say that he grew increasingly reverential toward me as the breadwinner of the family. His gushing admiration was, at times, embarrassing. He truly draws his own identity and dignity from his support for my success in my career. He keeps the home so that I am free to be successful at the firm and thereby to provide for the family.
I remember being surprised by this turn of events but, upon reflection, I should not have been. How could any woman, ruling as Queen of her household, with a husband virtually under her thumb night and day, seeking her permission on his every decision, and reporting to her on his every move, not be transformed by it?
My only regret is that I could not be more open with other women about all this. Often I heard other women tell me how much they admired my leadership skills; they wanted to know how they could achieve the same thing in their own careers without ever imagining how it could begin at home. I often wished I could just hand them a copy of my book. But because I had made a conscious decision not to mix my professional career and my secret life as Queen of the household, I never did.
Even those who knew about my domestic situation, that my husband stayed home to keep the house, just assumed that it had always been that way. They could not fathom how much my life had changed.
But I can tell you: Wife led marriage will transform you in ways you cannot even imagine. The longer you practice it, the greater your leadership at home, work, and in your community.