Are You a Controlling Wife?
If you’ve ever wondered, here is your chance to find out.
Being a controlling wife seems to be the norm in our society, partly because of TV sitcoms and partly because we tend to repeat the destructive behavior patterns of our parents.
Does your mom boss your dad around? Is your mother-in-law a control freak? It may be easy to recognize flaws in our parents and in-laws, but difficult to admit that our own behavior could use some improvement.
If your mother-in-law manipulates your husband with guilt, then he was probably raised to believe that her behavior is acceptable when it is not. If he allows himself to be dominated by her, then it's not a stretch to conclude that he probably allows you to bully him too. Subconsciously, you may be controlling your husband because you know he won't stand up to you any more than he'll stand up to his mother.
So, are you a controlling wife? Has your behavior turned your husband into a little boy who seeks your approval for everything he does? If so, then your relationship may be built on manipulation, guilt and obligation. A healthy marriage is based on love, freedom and respect.
Here are some questions to help you determine where your behavior may need some improvement:
1. What are some things that your mother or mother-in-law does to control family members? Do you do any similar things to dominate your husband?
2. When he has needs that conflict with yours (e.g., how to spend the weekend), do you put him on a guilt trip because his needs conflict with yours?
3. When his opinions differ from yours (e.g., how to raise the kids or decorate the living room), do you roll your eyes at him or insist on getting your way?
4. When he says or does something that upsets you, do you give him the silent treatment or criticize him in front of friends, parents, and kids?
5. When your husband wants to spend money on something you don't approve of, do you imply that he's selfish or tell him that what he wants to buy is a waste of money?
6. Do you often move your husband's belongings to different places in the house because you think you're entitled to decide where everything should and shouldn't go?
7. Do you undermine his authority with the kids (e.g., you adopt a cat because the kids really want one even though he already said no)?
8. Do you make judgmental comments about what your husband wears, eats and drinks?
9. Do you try to control when and how he does chores?
It's important to treat our husbands the way we want them to treat us. I wouldn't like it if my husband tried to make me feel guilty whenever my needs or opinions conflicted with his. I wouldn't want him to move my stuff to a different part of the house where I couldn't find it. I'd feel awful if he belittled me in front of our friends and families. I'd hate it if he dictated when and how I should do chores around the house.
By taking an honest look at our behavior, we can stop destructive family patterns, make our marriages stronger, and show our daughters how to be great wives.
Jenna D. Barry is the author of "A Wife’s Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband’s Loyalty Without Killing His Parents." For more information, please visit her website at www.WifeGuide.org.