Dec 132016 7 Responses

4 Dumb Things Husbands Should Never Say

Equality is at the heart of marriage. For true intimacy to be present, a husband and wife must have equal value and worth within the relationship. One of the characteristics which distinguish a marriage from all other relationships is that it is truly a partnership of equal power. One is not the boss while the other is an employee. One is not the parent with the other being a child. While they might play different roles, both individuals have equal input and influence. Both are equally responsible for what the marriage produces.

But equality doesn’t come natural for us. If we don’t have the upper-hand on someone, we assume that they will have the upper-hand on us. Afraid of what might happen if we aren’t in charge, we risk intimacy in order to have control. Many couples engage in an unending power struggle because they don’t know how to exist in a truly equal relationship. It’s a struggle which should be avoided. When we are trying to control our marriage (or spouse) we are failing to love properly. In marriage, we can either love or control, but we can’t do both.

In most situations, a couple is unaware of the power struggle taking place between them. A husband that acts like a child is seen as immature instead of being viewed as someone who has skillfully found a way to control his wife through child-like behavior. At the root of many behaviors within a marriage is a desire to gain control. (See: Avoiding Power Struggles in Marriage)

While a power struggle is often taking place behind the scenes, there are some ways we can see it at play. Here are four common statements which husbands make that reveal a power struggle.

4 Dumb Sayings that Reveal Inequality

1. Babysitting. It’s fine to use this term to describe what a person is doing when you hire them to watch children. This is never an appropriate term to describe what is happening when a parent is with his or her children. I hear it all the time, “I can’t go to the game, I’ve got to babysit my kids.” I always respond by saying, “You mean you have to be a father?” When a dad describes himself as babysitting, it’s evident he does not see parenting as an equal responsibility. He sees it as his wife’s job. Parenting is not the role of a wife; it is the role of a mom and a dad. You can’t babysit your own kids.

2. Honey-do list. The honey-do list is a holdover from 1950s thinking that women are in charge of the house and men are in charge of fixing things. The wife makes a list and the man gets it done. An aspect of this is okay, but if a couple isn’t careful it can connote the work a man does is for his wife while the work a woman does is for the home. Most of the time it’s not a honey-do list, it’s a man doing his part as a home owner. Part of having a home is upkeep. Whether you hire it out or do it yourself, it’s just part of your responsibility. I’ve never run into a wife doing the grocery shopping to have her say, “I’m just doing my honey-do list.” No, she is grocery shopping because that’s part of having a home. (See: This Is Who You Want to Marry)

3. My money. In some relationships both spouses receive a paycheck. In other relationships one works outside the home while the other works inside the home. No matter whose name is on the check, the money belongs to the couple. I can’t spend Jenny’s money; she can’t spend my money. All the money is our money. By calling it “my money” or “his/her money” we are losing sight that no matter whose name is on the check, we are both working together to earn the paycheck.

4. She won’t let me. Notice the avoidance of responsibility. It’s not that “I don’t want to,” but that “she won’ t let me.” That’s not something a man says. That’s something a child says. In most cases, it’s a passive aggressive way for a man to get out of something. He doesn’t want to do it, but he’s going to blame his wife. Even in cases where he wants to do it, but she doesn’t want him to, he is still making the choice. I might want to play golf on a certain day, but my wife would prefer that I not. If I don’t play, I’m choosing not to play because I would prefer for her to be happy than for me to play one round of golf. It’s still a choice I made.

In some cases, these four statements are benign. They are simple holdovers from another time. In other cases, they are telling clues to a relationship in the midst of a power struggle. Anytime you hear one of these phrases, pay attention. There might be more going on than you realize.

What would be a 5th statement which reveals inequality in a relationship?


7 Responses to 4 Dumb Things Husbands Should Never Say
  1. Kathryn Reply

    I don’t think my husband thinks this way–I’ve never heard these phrases from him, ever–but with the exception of the Honey Do list, I guilty of this. Oops.

  2. Lynnette Reply

    “Sorry for the mess, my wife isn’t a very good housekeeper.”

  3. Kara Reply

    Well written! You know what. I often say, “I’m being a babysitter” because I’m at home with them. I’d rather work. However, no matter what I’m doing, I realize happiness is not in my job (being a mom & wife), but that it’s me. It’s me feeling awlful and unfulfilled because I’ve failed in so many areas of my life which cause me to stumble into a downward spiral – poor time management, poor leadership, poor parenting, being irresponsible, not setting my life to be structured instead giving into the stresses of life and giving up. I know that in the past when I “keep up” with life more efficiently through structure, I feel successful, with purpose and less like a babysitter. There’s perks to being home, and working. And some do both. The issue is contentment and communication – not unmet expectations. The kids are hard, thank God for when they are of school age, and I can work hard and see it last an hour or two. 🙂 I can look and say I did good, I feel good, life is fulfilling.

  4. Kara Reply

    One other thing (yeah I know but it’s less winded I promise!) my pastor preached on the money thing and it was monumental in our relationship. “If you work and your wife stays home, she should get 1/2 of your paycheck.” This really helps with staying home. To truly see it as a partnership. In our society, a paycheck is not just a job, but a visual reward for our work.

  5. Locojo Reply

    I didn’t mean to…

  6. Terry Reply

    My husband &I have a ranch. He also works full time. He has two checking accounts. He has his name Only on both accounts. When we are paid for anything produced on the ranch he deposits the entire amount into his account. All of his off farm wages go into his other separate account. He reluctantly gives me money. He pays for me to have a credit card with a $2000 limit per month. I receive a social security check each month. Which I use to purchase my individual items. I usually also buy groceries and pay the cost of other necessary purchases for the home. I haven’t known how much money we have in savings for over 10 years. Even though in our 43 year marriage of worked as long as he has and been responsible for all of the household chores and children (when they were younger) I also kept books paid bills and was responsible for all the yard work outside. Where did I go wrong??

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Unless there is a compelling reason otherwise, I do not like this arrangement. Something needs to change.

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