We are a mix of #3 and #4. My husband has always joked that he "got married so he wouldn't have to make" certain decisions. Several years later my career blossomed, we moved out of state for my job, and I now make 50% more than he does. I believe that may be the root of his non-committal behavior. Early in our relationship he was very much “in charge” and VD’s post made me realize how much I miss that.The unfortunate reality is that despite decades of equalitarian propaganda, men still tend to find it infantilizing to be supported by a woman. When this state is coupled with being trapped in a marital position of sexual submission, it virtually guarantees a complete abdication of male leadership. How can a man possibly lead when his wife not only wears the metaphorical pants, but he is wearing a metaphorical diaper as well?
Last year we lost our first child - she was stillborn. Since then he just does whatever I want or ask. I don't take advantage (seriously), but his lack of leadership is astounding. I can usually get him to make decisions on big ticket purchases, but not much else.
I fully admit that I am a control freak at times – feel I must care for the house, the husband, the pets, and my career. With our recent tragedy I truly want to simplify my life and allow him to take a much larger role in the running of our lives. How??
In a relationship that has reached this level of structural imbalance, there isn't much room for subtlety. Since there isn't much Anon can do about the job situation except to avoid rubbing it in his face, the best place to start is probably the central core of the marriage. Consider that there is a word for men who are financially supported by their women but are the indisputable leaders in the relationship; it is not a coincidence that pimps who are financially supported by their hos tend to exhibit much stronger psycho-sexual leadership than do husbands who financially support their wives.
So, I would recommend for Anon to first try to purposefully set aside her control freakdom. Her husband is already in a state of mind to receive and follow orders rather than to give them, so any additional directives given to him will tend to reinforce that undesirable mental state. It will be hard, but Anon should attempt to limit herself to making only genuinely necessary requests and to be careful that they are always framed in a way that could be rejected. "Would you mind doing X?" or "Do you have the time to do X?" rather than "You need to do X!" or even "X needs to be done", that sort of thing. (Based on what she says, he's probably going to do whatever she wants no matter how she phrases it, but the point is for her to begin helping her too-obedient husband adjust out of his reflexive, see-what-a-good-boy-I-am-Mommy instincts.)
The second recommendation is for her to resign her sexual captaincy, if I am correct in concluding that her frustration with "his lack of leadership" means that she decides when and how they are having sex. It is unfortunate, but the common female idea that "no one decides, it just happens" actually means that "she decides or it doesn't happen." Many, if not most, men quite reasonably give up initiating after being shot down too many times. Think about it. Prior to marriage, a man who does not give up on sexual or even romantic pursuit after being shot down is labeled a creep, a sexual harasser, and a criminal. Given this, it is ludicrous to expect men to do a complete 180 after getting married and keep pursuing their wives actively when their wives are shooting them down on a regular basis. The normal and entirely rational male response tends to be something on the order of this: "She has rejected sex often enough for her to know that I'm interested, so rather than continuing to put myself in a position to be shot down, I'll just wait for her to let me know whenever she happens to be in the mood." And since female sexuality is predominantly responsive in nature, thus begins the downward spiral into Married Degenerative Bed Disorder, the less fatal, but still potentially crippling heterosexual form of Lesbian Bed Death.
Now, not knowing Anon's husband, I don't know if he will respond well to her telling him that she trusts him, she wants him to take responsibility for their marital relations, and she intends to do as he instructs her to do in the future. He may be so far gone into submission that he simply won't believe her. And if she makes the mistake of attempting to dispute or reject his initially timid direction, he will surely give it up and return to his submissive, reactive posture. But the unfortunate fact is that there is no way for a woman to encourage her husband to embrace his leadership in any marital area, let alone the core one, without first consciously resigning her own.
In these days of easy, no-fault divorce, a feminist family court system, and a steady stream of wives blithely abandoning their marriages in pursuit of self-fulfilmment, self-discovery, and personal happiness, (translation: "sex with older alphas or younger deltas"), virtually no man is going to fight his wife for the sexual captaincy. The prospective reward is high, but the risks are too great. This means that in most cases, a woman is going to have to either actively disdain her leadership or accept the responsibility that comes with it.
If Anon is successful in these two measures, I suspect that once she manages to make her husband realize that he cannot rely on her control freakiness or her sexual captaincy to make what should be his decisions for him any longer, he will gradually become accustomed to the role and eventually begin to assert leadership in other areas of the relationship as well. There are no guarantees that the recommended approach will work, obviously, and the husband's apparent comfort with his BETAtude certainly poses an additional challenge to the process, but the central principle to keep in mind is that if a relationship is not working as it is presently structured, then structural change is needed.