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.
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?
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.
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.