Why Wives Shouldn’t be Passive

Traditional marriages often fall deep into traditional roles, but this doesn’t need to be the case. Let him hear from you.

Married women have just as much right to choice as single women do. Yes, we are committed to the union, however, that does not mean we now give up all semblance of happiness at the altar of marriage. Do you realize what this “giving up” does to your marriage? It fosters resentment. The resentment will come from you, and apathy is what you’ll receive from your husband.

Challenge him, challenge his thinking. Don’t behave as if the marriage is too fragile, that it’s going to fall apart at any minute if you stand up and say something “wrong”, or tell him that something is wrong. If you treat the marriage like it’s fragile, it will be.

What about him? What if his ego is fragile? Well, let’s hope he’s not completely egotistical, but if he is, it’s better to know it.

Give him a chance. Give him a chance to be the good guy; to know what you are really thinking and feeling. Some issues are too little to worry about, and others are not easily solved. But letting everything get swept under the rug in the name of “keeping the marriage together” is making for an incredibly unbalanced, unhealthy relationship. I don’t just mean equality for women as a principle, I mean for each of you to develop a general attitude and behavior of caring about what each other is experiencing. Not to prove you’re a good wife, but because you actually care about what each other is experiencing.

I’m not talking about asserting yourself in authority above another person. That’s just the same problem in reverse. I am saying to be assertive enough to let him know what you’re thinking and how you are feeling. If he is going to act against your better judgment, he should at least know what that judgment is. Then at least you can truly know whether or not he is deserving of the resentment you’ll inevitably feel toward if he steamrolls you.

Women have traditionally been taught to be passive. We’re taught to keep the peace. It’s even hard for me, when I find myself needing to say something that contradicts what my husband has just said. It’s hard because I feel like I’m rocking the boat. It feels as if having an opinion makes us automatically responsible for the other person’s reaction to our opinion, right? We are not responsible for their reaction, but we are responsible for our delivery.

But what if he never hears your opinion? Then how can he act on it? We are taught to never complain, but a suggestion is not a complaint. A New perspective should be welcome in a stable marriage relationship. You are doing both of you a disservice if you always keep quiet.

Something women do automatically is ask a lot of questions, and invite a lot of feedback. Men do not automatically do this. Therefore, women tend to automatically feel that someone has laid down the law and is very, very firm in their decision, when really it’s just a difference in communication style. If you feel timid in bringing up a point you fear he’s not ready to hear, consider asking a question.

“May I make a suggestion?”

If he says no, then that means he had to hear himself telling you that you are not allowed to make a suggestion. It helps him reveal his true character.

What is the consequence of him not knowing your true feelings on things? What if you go along very easily with everything, in an attempt to never contradict or complain. Then you rob him of two things. You rob him of the chance to get to know his real wife, and you rob him of the opportunity to spend time taking another person’s feelings into consideration.

It is best for both of you if you consider yourselves as a partnership.

What do people become if they only see success and never meet with any resistance? Spoiled. Entitled. They do not know what a good thing they have. So speak up. Disagree agreeably. Not with fear, but with courage. With the confidence of knowing this is a good man, and you are a good woman, and you are a partnership. Do not spoil him in that way. Help him rise to the occasion and become who he is destined to become.

It’s hard because before we were women, we were children. Many of us were parented traditionally, which means we were encouraged to keep our opinions to ourselves, because the grown-ups in traditional households don’t want to hear the opinions of children.

We have heard men in leadership positions speak kindly of their wives, saying their wife never once complained about all she had to go through. I would like to ask a clarifying question: does this mean she never had an opinion? Does this mean she always went along with whatever you said no matter what?

I am guessing they would tell you the answer is no. Their wife was accepting of the inevitable challenges of marriage, but that does not mean she was accepting of his total dominance of the relationship. They most likely could not have become general authorities if they never had to spend a moment thinking about the feelings of their wife.

It’s very possible that one of the qualities that helped keep them from having constant battles and struggles is that they had developed a habit of asking questions and inviting input. Then, who would have to complain? What is there to complain about? There is only the giving and taking of ideas, with an eventual conclusion being reached together.

Men who call women nags are the same men who are not interested in hearing from them in the first place. There is not necessarily anything wrong with that woman. However, she may be speaking in a way that is passive aggressive, because she was never invited to be assertive. If you’re waiting to be invited; don’t wait anymore. Men don’t invite each other to be assertive; they just are. If you are assertive, too, then a good man will respect you for it. It will STRENGTHEN the marriage, not weaken it. If the relationship is weakened when you are being strong, then what does that say about the relationship?

Don’t wait for him to ask what you think

Babies who are ignored tend to cry. Women who are ignored tend to complain. It is every bit as much his responsibility to take care of this marriage as it is yours. Elevate him to the status of one who is an equal partner with his wife.

Do not abdicate the responsibility of all decision-making to him. That’s cheap. That way you get the right to be unhappy about all of his decisions, since you took no part in them. You get to maintain a victimhood status. Taking an active role in the decisions means you don’t get to sit back and blame someone else for the decisions. But it does mean you are empowered far beyond what you would be if you only had the power to blame someone else.

Married men are much healthier than single men of the same age. We do a good job taking care of our men, by and large. But we do them a disservice if we do not help him to grow his character. If we are disgruntled pushovers, obligated to uphold his every word in every situation. Don’t treat him like he’s a monarchical dictator (you certainly don’t want him to become one).

I cannot overstate the importance of believing this is your right and your duty. Otherwise you will speak like a petulant child; a teen who is complaining that their parents never listen to them. This is not a good place for him to be acting well from. Give him the benefit of the doubt that he actually cares for you. Give him the chance to be a good man.

Too many people are living beneath their potential because of women who will not speak up in good faith. That means they only speak up out of exasperation, and how does that sound from the other end? It sounds like you’re complaining about your boss. It sounds like you’re making him out to be the bad guy. But you didn’t marry a bad guy, you married a good man.

With work you can see eye to eye

Believe he is that man. Have faith that he is a good man. Believe he can rise to the challenge of meeting the requests of his wife by confidently sharing those requests. Most men are pleased to bend over backwards to make their wives happy. Just be sure to say it as a request between equals.

Ever Feel Like a Hypocrite When You Only Post Your “Best”?

Imagine with me: An artist you know and admire has a big gallery showing. After a successful opening evening, she laments privately to you, “People see my art and they think I’m great, but in reality I make a LOT more half-hearted doodles than I make masterpieces. Some of them are so terrible I just throw them away! My studio is a mess, I constantly forget to clean my brushes or prep my canvas… Last week I was totally late on delivering an order; I’m just a terrible artist! I present only my best to everyone, and it looks as if I’m always nailing it -I might even make it look easy- but it’s not the truth. If people knew the real me, with all my do-overs and mistakes, they wouldn’t be impressed at all. I’m really just a fraud.”

Would you empathetically nod your head and agree? Would you feel disillusioned and think she’s a fake after hearing this? No way! Most likely you would be completely shocked and say, “WHAT!??”

The idea of having such a lowly view of ourselves and backward expectations like the example of this artist seems ridiculous, yet are you doing this to yourself?

Do you give yourself a Pinterest-perfect standard where you aren’t allowed to leave cups on the table and crumbs on the floor (or books layered with crayons and banana peels, depending on your stage of life)? Does your internal voice seem to be saying, “Better Homes and Gardens could pop over any moment for a photoshoot, and girl they are judging you!” I would love to encourage you to have a more authentic standard where you allow yourself to be imperfect, but if you’ve ever cleared off just one corner of the table to take a clean photo of the cute cupcake you made, at least don’t feel guilty about THAT! Go ahead and celebrate what you accomplished, because life is hard enough without stressing about the details you cropped out of the picture.

Was Thomas Edison defined by the fact that he had 999 failed inventions? No, he was praised for his persistence and admired for his success! Baseball players strike out more than they hit home runs. A radio announcer doesn’t always talk in his radio announcer voice (I would hope) in social situations; he needs to be able to relax his voice and and focus more on what he’s saying, not only how he’s saying it. A therapist can’t be expected to practice dedicated therapy with everyone she interacts with, every moment of every day, carefully balancing empathy with impartiality; that would be emotionally exhausting! Remember, Olympic runners still walk from one place to the other way more often than they run. You have to do that, too.

Good parents are still not perfect parents every minute of their lives. It would be fabulous if we could always be an amazing beacon of patience and wisdom and creative memory-making!! The reality is, sometimes you get distracted or irritated and wish you could be doing something else. Children often fall apart after coming home after a long day of barely holding it together, because they are with their family and they feel safe. Sometimes you need to check out and take a break, too, or you’ll burn out and lose your cool. Keep in mind, when you do lose your cool, it doesn’t undo ALL those other moments when you gave it your whole heart. Earlier I used the analogy of a runner; I believe a runner could permanently lose the use of his legs, but he’s still a world record-breaker and Olympic medalist for the rest of his life.

There is hope in being able to create strategies to get to a high performance level more often or more easily, but as humans, we can’t expect to perform all day all the time, then beat ourselves up over an occasional lapse in judgement or performance. Nobody can run at 100% capacity for 100% of the time.

Look at what you’ve created, you should be proud of it! Consider any mediocre efforts as “practice”. We all need practice. Maybe you make doodles and sketches a lot more often than you have masterpiece moments, but that doesn’t mean those moments don’t count.

From bright ideas to dark days, when you have lifted someone else’s burden, or you’ve needed someone else to lift yours, try to accept all those wonderful, complicated parts of yourself. Your impact, like ripples in the water, echoes on and on, first within your circle of influence, then your community, and continues on through time to people unknowable.

Sometimes you may feel like a fraud, the only one hiding your frail humanity, but you’re not alone. You think you’re struggling against the odds to do any good at all, but don’t define yourself by your doodles! Maybe it’s our nature to characterize ourselves by our most undesirable qualities, but if you could take a step back, I wish you could see; You are more than a work in progress, you’re already a masterpiece.