Why “Yes, Dear” Isn’t Always the Right Answer


Disclaimer: Not all wives fit the description below, but in today’s world of high maintenance divas, many of us do. 

A few years ago I was having lunch with Lydia, a friend who I was chronically jealous of. She had a wonderful husband who worshipped her, all the freedom she wanted, a great house, car, pool, rock solid abs, honey-colored highlights as well as a rockin’ social life. Everyone always got a kick out of the fact that Lydia wore the pants in her family. She had her 6’3, former football player, Russell Crowe look-alike husband wrapped around her finger. In addition to working full time, he did most of the household chores, drove carpool, made dinner every night and bought Lydia everything she wanted. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could have a better life. But, as the saying goes, “never judge a marriage by its luster.” (I just made that up, and have to admit that it’s pretty lame.)

Okay, back to my lunch date

LYDIA: “Lance and I are separating.”

ME: (accidentally impaling my nose with my drink straw) “Whaaaaaaat? Whyyyyyyy? I’m sure it’s his fault. Men are so incorrigible! What did he do?? That DOG!!”

LYDIA: “It’s not Lance. It’s me. I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong. But it’s just not there for us anymore. I don’t feel attracted to him. He’s so sweet. He does everything for me and gives me all that I want and I should be happy. But…..to be honest, I’m bored. I want someone who’s more of a MAN.”

Incredulous doesn’t come close to describing the feelings that came over me as Lydia, a woman who spent her life using her husband as a vending machine for her every whim, rolled out plans to upgrade to a newer model.

I wanted to shout, “You want a MAN???? Really??? Because you’ve spent the last decade mentally and emotionally neutering the one you have, dictating the way he dresses, what kind of job he has, car he drives, friends he keeps and planning out his days down to the minute!!! And that yellow-bellied coward just bent over and allowed you to. I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t keep his manhood in a jar in your purse!!! It’s your fault that other men refer to Lance as ‘Lydia’s poor whipped slave’!”

But, of course, I didn’t say those things because Lydia would’ve never in a trillion years understood what I was talking about. In her mind, men were meant to be conquered and changed to her liking. She got bored because Lance never stood up to her. He decided early in their marriage that allowing her to make all the decisions was a much more peaceful existence than sticking up for his own beliefs and preferences. The more Lance bent to her will, the less Lydia was attracted to him. Her dominant personality and his unwillingness to command respect became the downfall of their marriage.

Here’s the bottom line: “Men, you MUST make us respect you!!!! Don’t always be compliant to our every desire….no matter how much we nag and whine. If you do, we’ll step on you, smear you into the floor with the Prada pumps you just bought us, and then toss you out with the recycling. (Or, rather, we’ll demand that you toss yourself out, because garbage is your job.)

Women are turned on by a guy who stands up for himself, who has confidence and chooses not to  compromise ALL of himself for the woman in his life. And here’s a secret…sometimes we push the envelope to see if you will actually say no to us. The more elastic you allow those boundaries to become, the more we’ll stretch them. And the more we stretch them, the more discontent we’ll be with you. See, it turns into a viscous cycle.

Before an angry mob of pitchfork and torch toting feminists begins beating down my door, let me explain a little more.

I’m in no way suggesting that all wives should be barefoot and pregnant, slaving over a hot stove while their hubbies golf, gamble and flirt into the wee hours of the night. Nor am I saying that you should be tyrants, dictating our every move because we don’t deserve an equal say. The success of any marriage lies in both parties’ willingness to compromise when necessary and stand firmly by their beliefs when they feel strongly about something.

From now on, decide what’s important to you and stick by it. If your wife demands that you replace your Saturday golf game (your only downtime of the week) with a list of household chores, and you disagree with her, then tell her that. Tell her in no uncertain terms that you’re good with helping around the house, but you ‘ll discontinue your golf game when she gives up her weekly girls nights. Stand firm on your decision….even when she calls you selfish and withholds sex for two weeks. Pretty soon she’ll see that you’re serious. She’ll respect you more and treat you like a man, rather than her servant.

And whether your wife knows it or not, a man who’ll occasionally say no to her is really what she’s wanted all along.

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Filed Under: featuredHusband 101


About the Author: Angela is an award winning humor columnist, freelance writer and public speaker living in Middle Georgia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She uses her keen insight and clever wit to help husbands understand the complex mechanisms that are their wives. “I like to think of goodhusbanding.com as an owner’s manual for the average wife. Of course results may vary, but we’re all fairly similar whether we admit it or not.” Angela uses her background in psychology, the myriad of learning experiences offered through her ten year marriage, and input from her “in the trenches” audience members across the country as input for her articles.

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  1. Tia says:

    You’ve dropped some good nuggets of wisdom in here, but if you’d like to avoid “pitchfork and torch toting feminists”, maybe you should drop the straw feminist comment. No one reading what you’ve said to that point is going to take it as a command to be barefoot and preggers/enforce authoritarian control over his wife. So why the drive-by attack of feminism? How does that support your argument that men need to “make” their wives respect them.

    Personally, I’m a fan of my beau /earning/ my respect, rather than attempting to force me to respect him. Part of that is him knowing his own boundaries and sharing with me before I get too close. Part of my giving him respect is acknowledging his boundaries as real.