Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Study

So according to this article, in USA Today 45% of women "rule the roost". (I can't believe they call women chickens right there in the headline.) It further declares that their men content themselves with this dominance. My wife tells me I agree with this. I mean... *I* agree with this completely and fully while not under duress of ANY kind. (Did I say it right, honey?)

The article did bring up a few interesting comments, the most notable one (in my mind) being the statement someone made about their needing to be "only 1 decision maker". I will agree and disagree with him on this. As a generalization, I disagree. Across the board that is not true in all cases, and probably not even half. I think there is a direction provider, or one member in the partnership that offers a direction to go with discussion/decision made by all. Some may argue that the offerer is in essence the decision maker by providing the options, but the non-offerer can always reject and offer alternate plans.

As for the times when a decision maker is needed, may or may not be something important. For example where to go to dinner out. If both parties are not overly picky, the plethora of choices (depending on your location) can sometimes be a paralyzing roadblock to progress. In cases like that a decision maker can step forward and declare an option just to move along. (Though that declaration can, and sometimes is rejected.) On a hard choice, the "joint decision" may be made by both partners sharing thoughts/feelings on the topic, and one taking the info and forming a decision based on that data. Again, a mutual decision, but 1 party taking the lead on action. Quibbling with terms, but I think there is a good bit of refinement in the difference between a Neanderthal issuing orders, and a quick discussion with one person taking initiative.

A few people pointed out that many men at work are decision makers all day, and when they get home are all "decided out", and are content to be followers. Clearly these seem to be men that have never stayed home with kids, and dealt with the endless choices, direction, and structure required to have a good routine and happy kids. On this point one woman wrote that she'd rather have a partner than a third child, suggesting her partner possibly abdicated too much authority at home. In the rush to not have to make anymore decisions, he doesn't share his spouse's responsibilities, and creates imbalance. Just as a man that requests no input from anyone in the household, and simply gives orders as to how it will be creates imbalance.

In the end, there is a piece of decision making that can almost be seen as being vulnerable. The decision maker is putting their idea and indeed a part of them self out on the line for judgment, and in opening oneself to that kind of judgment there is a vulnerability to rejection/disappointment. Depending on the person, even a mild fear of being rejected for something as simple as an idea of where to go to dinner can be daunting enough to prevent even voicing an opinion about it, let alone being able to choose. They are plagued by doubts, "What if someone doesn't like what they serve?" "what if we get bad service?" "What if it's too expensive/cheap?" All of these what ifs can mire down even a normally clear thinking person's initiative and result in a "Whatever is fine." response, just so the responsibility for any one's disappointment is redirected.

If when the decision's worst result means that someone didn't enjoy dinner can be that stifling imagine how hard the decision becomes as the consequences increase in severity. Every day decision makers take on the responsibility of projects and assignments, money and investments, and in the strongest cases the very safety and lives of others. Accepting the responsibility for another person's life and safety is something that I hope no one ever takes lightly, whether it be willingly or unwillingly. And in many cases, those leaders that emerge are not leaders by choice, but by necessity.

I don't know how I got here from there, but it was fun for me. Oh and "Yes dear, the article is spot on!"


At 1:43 AM, Blogger JamesF said...

Deep Thoughts with KennyG.

Very well elucidated.

But you don't touch much on the possibility that abdicating decision responsibility could be done because you don't really care about the outcome. For things like home improvements I want to have some input, but on things like where to go for dinner I really don't care. If anything is acceptable you're less likely to get involved in the decision process because (and this may be a faulty assumption) if other people care more, then they should get more say in the decision.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger bahnsidthe said...

I just thought they were either pandering to women (which seemed to be indicated on the news by the presenter ragging on the weatherman and sports guy), or sensationalizing the typical gender war crabola for ratings, But then, I am ever more cynical of the media these days.

Nicely done and JamesF's comments are also pithy. You guys are a fun read.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger swtrble said...

God bless well-trained husbands.


Post a Comment

<< Home