Several days after I met my husband David, when we were on our cruise in Alaska, I told him that I needed him to be the leader in our relationship.
“That is what I want, too,” he told me, and I was so happy to hear it.
It was the second to last day of our cruise, a Wednesday. It was late at night and we were sitting by the buffet. I started crying.
The day before, he had told me that he loved me and I told him I did, too.
That night, we had a romantic dinner like I told you before and all the waiters smiled at us knowingly and we ignored them even when they came to our table and we just stared and stared at each other and talked about our feelings.
Then, the next day, he didn’t tell me he loved me again, even after I did, and that scared me.
It scared me so much.
I thought that we had moved too fast. I thought that he was going to change his mind aout me, and that maybe I should’ve pretended not to care so much.
So, late that night, in the dining room, I told him this, and started crying. Then I said,
“David, I want to ask you something.” He said that I could.
I said, “I want to ask you if it’s okay that I don’t hide my feelings from you and play games like people do. Because I can’t do it. I can’t pretend you are just another person I’m dating, because that’s not the way I feel.
“But I won’t say that I love you again until you say it again. I don’t want to be the leader in our relationship. I want you to be the leader, always. I want you to decide on the timing of whatever happens between us. Is that okay?”
I said this between deep breaths, very slowly. It was something of a scene, I’m sure, but I didn’t really care.
It was the last thing I was worried about.
David felt badly that I was crying. He held me while I talked. Then he said, “You don’t have to play games. I didn’t tell you I loved you today because it is all just so fast for me and so unexpected. I need some time alone to think about everything. But I don’t want you to play games with me. And I want to be the leader in our relationship, too, and I will be.
I was glad to hear him say this, but I wasn’t entirely convinced.
The next morning, I went to the library and did a crossword puzzle by myself while he was at the pool. The rest of the day, things were a little strained between us.
Then, before we left the ship, we had one more serious conversation. I said, “Are you feeling afraid of this relationship because it happened so fast or because you’re not sure you know me well enough yet?” I already knew what the right answer was.
He said, “It’s just so fast. I just need to take a few days to think about things.”
That was the right answer.
I knew right after he said that that everything would be okay.
And it was. And it was better than that because David actually did what he promised and he has been the leader in our relationship ever since.
It works for us.
After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They even fought about the lawn mower. And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could've happened. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story on Amazon now.