Happy wife, happy life syndrome


#1

This is awhile back, so I’m going to paraphrase because I don’t remember everyone’s exact words.

A few months after we married, we were sitting around a dinner table with the Priest who presided at our wedding, a couple other family members and one of the Pre Cana couples that instructed us.

So the Priest starts joking with me about how, “You’re going to learn that it’s easier to just go along with whatever your wife says.”

He continues, “See, there’s an easy way and a hard way, [my name here], the hard way is to try and fight it for hours and lose anyway, the easy way is just to do as she says.”

The wife in the Pre Cana couple says, "[Her husband’s name] has learned the value of the phrase, ‘yes, dear.’

My wife turns to me and says in a joking tone, “That’s right and you better get used to it!”

-end of story for the most part.

I hadn’t thought about it too much at the time, but there were a number of such conversations (with all sorts of people) leading up to the wedding and even afterwards that followed a similar model - some worse than others.

I think this stuff is supposed to be a joke, but frankly, I do not find it at all funny. I find it demeaning and wrong. And yet I have to sit there and pretend like it’s funny or risk offending people. If I speak up and say “Excuse me, that’s inappropriate,” then I’m treated like a guy who can’t take a joke. Excuse me… just because I do not like inappropriate jokes doesn’t mean I have a bad sense of humor.

I would not sit there and listen to misogynistic or racist jokes either… but for these ones it has been very difficult to deal with. Like when the former Maid of Honor tried to tell me that my wedding was “all about the bride” and it was “her day,” and I tried to explain that it is God’s day to sanction our love for each other.

I know others will accuse me of being oversensitive, but I think that’s a cop-out. Anyway… your thoughts?


#2

We've kind of made men out to be buffoons who need their women to tell them exactly how to do every little thing or they just won't make it through the day. That is an unfair stereotype for both genders and I hate it. (Men shouldn't be made out to be idiots, women shouldn't be made out to be controlling nags.)

As for what to do about it, you're right, you don't want to look like the guy who can't laugh at a joke. Why not talk to your new wife about it privately. Tell her that jokes like that are embarrassing and hurtful to you. Perhaps she would be willing to gently stand up for you when that happens. That way you aren't a buzzkill and she looks like a woman who just loves her husband too much to go along with the joke. Just something simple like "Oh I don't think so, he may be stubborn at times but he did get us a great deal on this house/plan a perfect trip/roast this amazing chicken/whatever".


#3

[quote="BlueEyedLady, post:2, topic:274761"]
We've kind of made men out to be buffoons who need their women to tell them exactly how to do every little thing or they just won't make it through the day. That is an unfair stereotype for both genders and I hate it. (Men shouldn't be made out to be idiots, women shouldn't be made out to be controlling nags.)

As for what to do about it, you're right, you don't want to look like the guy who can't laugh at a joke. Why not talk to your new wife about it privately. Tell her that jokes like that are embarrassing and hurtful to you. Perhaps she would be willing to gently stand up for you when that happens. That way you aren't a buzzkill and she looks like a woman who just loves her husband too much to go along with the joke. Just something simple like "Oh I don't think so, he may be stubborn at times but he did get us a great deal on this house/plan a perfect trip/roast this amazing chicken/whatever".

[/quote]

Thanks for the advice. I don't think she understands that it bothers me... maybe I didn't understand that it did until recently. :)


#4

It’s always bothered me too, and I’m a woman. I do have a strong personality, but I don’t bulldoze (and I intentionally chose a man that I could not bulldoze, he’s strong-willed too and I love it). Jokes like that feel like an underhanded way to tell me that I’m a bi…you know.


#5

That’s an interesting aspect. I hadn’t considered whether my wife feels offended for the opposite reasons that I do. It’s possible. Will have to discuss. Thanks.


#6

Marriage isn't about ordering people around, it's a commitment with each other in the eyes of God. You're a team, not two individual units fighting for dominance. Compromise, love, communication - these don't happen when one spouse nags and the other "falls" in line. I too don't like these jokes and think they are a product of what's on TV. Just watch an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond or that one sitcom with the Mall Cop and his skinny wife. All they do is another play on the joke your Priest told, over and over again.


#7

Is it demeaning? Yeah, kind of. I don't like these jokes either- especially since they imply that I am selfish and thoughtless when it comes to what my husband wants.

However...there is a bit of truth to it. Okay, maybe a little more than a bit. My husband does often give in to avoid an argument, simply because he doesn't care as much as I do about a lot of things- at least, that's how he explains it to me. If he has a strong opinion about something, he will tell me. It doesn't mean he's a mindless puppet or that I don't care what he thinks. It truly does make him happy when I am happy, so although I'm not one to make those comments, it actually is kind of true for us.


#8

[quote="yogicat, post:6, topic:274761"]
Marriage isn't about ordering people around, it's a commitment with each other in the eyes of God. You're a team, not two individual units fighting for dominance. Compromise, love, communication - these don't happen when one spouse nags and the other "falls" in line. I too don't like these jokes and think they are a product of what's on TV. Just watch an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond or that one sitcom with the Mall Cop and his skinny wife. All they do is another play on the joke your Priest told, over and over again.

[/quote]

I think that's the thing that disheartens me most. He is a good Priest. The Pre Cana couple are also good people. So why do they not see what they are doing?

To me, it is an insult to the sacrament of marriage itself. That is a very serious matter, especially for people so involved in the sacrament.

In my opinion there is a difference between an occasional "joke" that pokes fun at someone and one that does so at an entire group of people because of their race, gender, nationality,etc.

Yeah it's more the stereotyping of an entire gender, like if someone were to make jokes about how women shouldn't be in the workforce or nonsense like that then everyone would call that person on it. But for some reason this is acceptable?


#9

Back in the day, it was much easier to laugh off those jokes because there were two distinct spheres. Men dominated the public sphere while women dominated the private sphere. That is to say, men were “in charge” of the economic, political and military worlds while women were “in charge” of the home.

Today the lines are blurred, flipped, whatever. And that’s not necessarily bad, it’s just different. And while I totally agree with BlueEyedLady that the public portrayal of stereotypes is bad, I’d go a step farther and say the portrayal of husbands and fathers as immature, clownish or scared little boys is downright harmful and particularly harmful to women.

I see so many women in the public sphere ask “where are all the good men?” or “why can’t I just find a good guy?” and of course the answer is because the world is telling men to either be caddish or allow themselves to be steamrolled by bossy women. Neither scenario will result in ultimate happiness for either party as it is natural for men to take a leading role and women to take the advisory role. One is not superior to the other in my opinion; women are most comfortable when they have a strong man to lean on for strength and men are most comfortable when they have a woman who will provide love and good counsel.

So long story short, I’d probably just roll with the punches here and suck it up as far as your feelings behind hurt and just focus on being the man that your wife needs you to be. Complaining about it makes you seem petulant and talking to your wife about how it hurts you makes you seem like you can’t deal with dumb jokes. However, if it really gets overbearing or repetitive, then yeah it’s time for a chat.


#10

[quote="The_Bucket, post:9, topic:274761"]
So long story short, I'd probably just roll with the punches here and suck it up as far as your feelings behind hurt and just focus on being the man that your wife needs you to be. Complaining about it makes you seem petulant and talking to your wife about how it hurts you makes you seem like you can't deal with dumb jokes. However, if it really gets overbearing or repetitive, then yeah it's time for a chat.

[/quote]

Excellent advice.


#11

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:1, topic:274761"]
This is awhile back, so I'm going to paraphrase because I don't remember everyone's exact words.

A few months after we married, we were sitting around a dinner table with the Priest who presided at our wedding, a couple other family members and one of the Pre Cana couples that instructed us.

So the Priest starts joking with me about how, "You're going to learn that it's easier to just go along with whatever your wife says."

He continues, "See, there's an easy way and a hard way, [my name here], the hard way is to try and fight it for hours and lose anyway, the easy way is just to do as she says."

The wife in the Pre Cana couple says, "[Her husband's name] has learned the value of the phrase, 'yes, dear.'

My wife turns to me and says in a joking tone, "That's right and you better get used to it!"

-end of story for the most part.

I hadn't thought about it too much at the time, but there were a number of such conversations (with all sorts of people) leading up to the wedding and even afterwards that followed a similar model - some worse than others.

I think this stuff is supposed to be a joke, but frankly, I do not find it at all funny. I find it demeaning and wrong. And yet I have to sit there and pretend like it's funny or risk offending people. If I speak up and say "Excuse me, that's inappropriate," then I'm treated like a guy who can't take a joke. Excuse me... just because I do not like inappropriate jokes doesn't mean I have a bad sense of humor.

I would not sit there and listen to misogynistic or racist jokes either... but for these ones it has been very difficult to deal with. Like when the former Maid of Honor tried to tell me that my wedding was "all about the bride" and it was "her day," and I tried to explain that it is God's day to sanction our love for each other.

I know others will accuse me of being oversensitive, but I think that's a cop-out. Anyway.. your thoughts?

[/quote]

I think you need to talk it over with your wife and address it as a couple in the future. You're right, coming from just you it's going to look like someone who just can't take a joke. And I have to say, a woman tritely saying "you'd better be used to being crushed under my thumb" is more than a bit disrespectful.

So talk it over with her. When the conversation turns to you as a couple, if your wife looks lovingly at you and then meaningfully says "My husband and I are pursuing a Christian marriage rather than a secular one where the wife feels entitled to gorge on self-granted power"... well, let's just say that THAT will cause some awkward silence on those who trivialize the masculinity of husbands. Pre-Cana should teach anyone that shrewish wives... as well as overbearing husbands... are a wrecking ball to a marriage (as well as the fact that publicly dishonoring and humiliating one's spouse is not only morally wrong, but destructive to a relationship as well)... Like I said though, it needs to come from your wife, because she's being expected to bash you so when she turns the hammer around and defends you with it it will serve its purpose.


#12

Do you have permission from your wife to post this?:stuck_out_tongue:

Just kidding.

Of course it’s demeaning to both spouses.


#13

Add me to all those who feel this is mean and derogatory to both husbands and wives. Sadly, it seems to be a trend now that controlling, high maintenance women are considered attractive. (Watch one of those bride shows and you will see what I mean.) Consider approaching this from a different angle altogether. Go ahead and agree that it makes you happy to see her happy, then add that you are so blessed that what makes her truly happy it to be sharing this life journey with you. No longer does she look like a shrew, no longer do you look like a wimp, and no longer does the Sacrament of Matrimony look like a competition where the biggest nag wins.


#14

Well, I have 4 sisters and a lot of female friends. Most of them had pictured/dreamed/planned what their wedding day would be like from the time they were kids.

Most guys I know are like me, we didn’t think about it until we found someone to ask. So, yeah, I acquiesced a great deal on the details of the wedding - photos/colors/flowers/centerpieces etc-- because I didn’t care. I cared about getting married to her but not about the font on the invititation or the color of the roses. I went to all the meetings, and of course I always expressed an opinion vice saying I didn’t care (women tend to take that the wrong way). I’d get the 'it’s so nice you care, but I really want the…" So, yeah when something was really important to her and not so much to me, why not go along with her? Most guys are like that, we want peace vice being ‘right’, saving our energy to get worked up over the important things vice fighting over the trivial.

Pick the things that are important to you. Truly important and don’t cave on those. When she says, "“That’s right and you better get used to it!” Tell her, “And you’ll need to get used to when I say NO, I really mean NO.”


#15

[quote="promethius, post:11, topic:274761"]
I think you need to talk it over with your wife and address it as a couple in the future. You're right, coming from just you it's going to look like someone who just can't take a joke. And I have to say, a woman tritely saying "you'd better be used to being crushed under my thumb" is more than a bit disrespectful.

So talk it over with her. When the conversation turns to you as a couple, if your wife looks lovingly at you and then meaningfully says "My husband and I are pursuing a Christian marriage rather than a secular one where the wife feels entitled to gorge on self-granted power"... well, let's just say that THAT will cause some awkward silence on those who trivialize the masculinity of husbands. Pre-Cana should teach anyone that shrewish wives... as well as overbearing husbands... are a wrecking ball to a marriage (as well as the fact that publicly dishonoring and humiliating one's spouse is not only morally wrong, but destructive to a relationship as well)... Like I said though, it needs to come from your wife, because she's being expected to bash you so when she turns the hammer around and defends you with it it will serve its purpose.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: Time (overdue) to turn the tables on the 'secular' stereotype. These type of jokes are probably something of a reaction to overbearing husbands, as was the feminist movement many years back.
It's all about mutual respect and charity - and - living the Sacrament of Marriage as it is meant to be.
It's great to know there are still some sane people (also intelligent) left on this planet.:rolleyes:


#16

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:1, topic:274761"]
This is awhile back, so I'm going to paraphrase because I don't remember everyone's exact words.

A few months after we married, we were sitting around a dinner table with the Priest who presided at our wedding, a couple other family members and one of the Pre Cana couples that instructed us.

So the Priest starts joking with me about how, "You're going to learn that it's easier to just go along with whatever your wife says."

He continues, "See, there's an easy way and a hard way, [my name here], the hard way is to try and fight it for hours and lose anyway, the easy way is just to do as she says."

The wife in the Pre Cana couple says, "[Her husband's name] has learned the value of the phrase, 'yes, dear.'

My wife turns to me and says in a joking tone, "That's right and you better get used to it!"

-end of story for the most part.

[/quote]

See, I am sometimes guilty of having a smart mouth and I probably would have muttered under my breath (but loud enough for everyone to hear) "we'll see about that" or something to that effect...:D


#17

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. My father-in-law jokes about it all the time, and both my mother-in-law and my husband’s sister feed into it. My husband gets into those:“Wives are the boss and we poor slobs had better play along.” type things with his father, all jokingly and laughing, and I hate it. I know he is joking, but it is just not funny. It makes him look like a total sap, and me like the world’s biggest shrew. That is not what a good marriage is about, in my opinion. I don’t like being painted as a controlling witch, and I would hate to think that I married a spineless wimp.
I have a hard time wording accurately how this bugs me, and I think the biggest reason for that is that we got married with the understanding that we were going to have an “old fashioned” marriage. Please don’t flame me for this, I really have no interest in getting into gender-role debates, but we agreed that he would be the head of our household and have final say-so, of course never without considering my input and weighing my opinion, should it differ from his. He wasn’t going to be a dictator, but just like in dancing, if both people try to lead things turn from a delicate, choreographed dance into a jumbled, clumsy mess.
For him to play the sap along with his father and pretend both of them are under the thumbs of these mean old hags is just incredibly offensive to me.
Okay, rant over. :o


#18

That’s the thing, I don’t feel like it’s mostly about me. Everyone is different so what works for you works for you. But I have a highly inflamed sense of justice and I do not tolerate it when people stop looking at others as individuals with dignity and start treating them like members of some stereotypical group.

So this is NOT about my feelings. This is about unfair gender stereotyping and insulting the sacrament of marriage.


#19

[quote="Snugglebugmom, post:17, topic:274761"]
That is not what a good marriage is about, in my opinion. I don't like being painted as a controlling witch, and I would hate to think that I married a spineless wimp.
I have a hard time wording accurately how this bugs me, and I think the biggest reason for that is that we got married with the understanding that we were going to have an "old fashioned" marriage. Please don't flame me for this, I really have no interest in getting into gender-role debates, but we agreed that he would be the head of our household and have final say-so, of course never without considering my input and weighing my opinion, should it differ from his. He wasn't going to be a dictator, but just like in dancing, if both people try to lead things turn from a delicate, choreographed dance into a jumbled, clumsy mess.
For him to play the sap along with his father and pretend both of them are under the thumbs of these mean old hags is just incredibly offensive to me.
Okay, rant over. :o

[/quote]

We aren't married yet by my Fiance and I came to the exact same conclusion. The way we see it...someone has to be in charge. It makes sense to put him at the head of the household because otherwise, what is his actual function? A wife has a clearly defined role because of her other role...that of being a mother. If she is put in charge of the household and is the primary breadwinner...she is wearing too many hats and the husband/father is given a back seat.
My Fiance and I are both in the military. He explained it as the ranking officer is always in charge. However, it's not just possible but expected that the enlisted Sergeant, though clearly lower ranking, may have more years and experience than the ranking officer. A good officer always defers to the experienced Sergeant when he needs to. If he doesn't then he is not being an effective leader.
When we went to our Pre-cana class we heard that term tossed around quite a bit. I don't take a statement like that too personally. I understand what will work in my marriage...open lines of communication and clearly defined roles.


#20

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:18, topic:274761"]
This is about unfair gender stereotyping and insulting the sacrament of marriage.

[/quote]

I agree completely.

So, stand up for yourself and your wife (I agree with BlueEyedLady that this is also insulting to women!). Don't let it be a joke! We tend to counter back rather than chuckle along... not with anger or spite (in fact, we keep it quite light and humorous), but let the truth be known!


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