I have been called by a lot of things by my wife. But one thing that I could not accept was that she told me that I was a very controlling husband. I am not manipulative, let alone a controlling spouse.
I saw myself as someone who is the head of the family. I am the person whom everyone in the family should ask for permission from. If a particular matter needs to be decided, it would lie heavily on what I think and what should be done. This is the kind of husband that I think I am. And I thought that it was not controlling. It was just who I needed to be as the father and the husband.
According to Science
Sean Glover, a psychotherapist and a writer at PsychologyToday.com, defined a controlling person as someone who escalates conflicts, who has decreasing trusts, and who likes to bicker. If he does not get what he wants, he tends to have aggressive behavior.
But I still did not see myself as a controlling husband. Period.
What She Sees in Me
Of course, my wife still loves me. I have done a lot of things that have hurt her, but she is still there for me. However,she also does not stop herself from telling me that I am a very controlling person. And she sees that I am particularly controlling of her.
Say what? I just do not see myself as a controlling husband.
I said to her, “Okay. Tell me why I am controlling.”
“Wow, this is the first time that you’ve asked me about it,” she says. “Now that you have brought it up yourself, I will tell you.”
The Tendency to Isolate My Wife
I thought that I was just loving my wife by making her stay in the house during the weekends. I did not allow her to visit her friends or her family. I demanded quality time, every time. I said that since we are both at work during the whole week, we must not be far from each other on our days off.
I insisted that we spend our time in the house, even if we were not doing anything special. I just wanted her to be beside me.
By isolating her from her friends and family, I controlled her socialization needs. Being married does not mean that she needs to leave her social life behind. She still has to connect with other people other than me.
I needed to let her go and trust her decisions. I cannot monitor her 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It would be very unhealthy for both of us to continuously see who we are with and what we are doing. But it should not stop us from informing each other of our whereabouts and who we are with.
Have faith in your wife. She has stuck with you for years, and she will not do anything to hurt you. Believe her and do not doubt her words.
Compelling Advice for a Controlling Husband
1.Harsh with My Words
I am very critical of my wife. When she is not doing things the way I taught her to, I get upset and sometimes enraged. I want everything to be how I imagine things to be. If she does not follow my instructions, I get angry with her and tell her that she is wrong.
But now, when I look at it, she does things her way. It may not be how I wanted her to do it, but she gets things done anyway. I am not her and she is not me. I cannot force her to do things my way because her mind is different from my mind. She also has a way of tackling problems.
What I needed to do is just give her approach a chance. Instead of telling her that she is wrong, I just have to observe how she does things and see if the result is right. And I do not need to be a perfectionist. If she makes a mistake, let her faults be a lesson from which she learns to make her working process better.
2.Being Conditional with My Emotions
I do not know about you, but I, personally, had some experiences wherein I withhold my emotions and feelings from her because she had not given the things that I wanted from her.
Have you had situations wherein you were expecting her to do something to do for you and yet you did not receive anything from her? Worse, if you have given her something, such as your time or a gift, and she did not reciprocate it at some other particular time in your relationship?
Marriage is different from the usual relationship between couples. You have bonded your life with another person because you love her and she loves you back. There should be no demands nor requirements from her to make her feel the love that you have for her.
But there are expectations. You want her to be this and that. You expect her to be this and that. You should not be conditional with your emotions. What do I mean? If you withhold your love or affection for her because she is not giving you what you want, then you are setting conditions for her.
I needed to keep on loving her even when I don’t get what I want. I should have more of an understanding heart and mind. When I continue to show my love for her, she does not feel manipulated or controlled. She can also freely love me every day despite my faults and own mistakes.
3.Do Not Have a Mental Scorecard
What is a mental scorecard? It is a tally of the good works that you have done for her.
Where will you use this scorecard? When you want something from her or you want her to do something, you show her the scorecard so that she gives in to your demands.
This is seen as normal by a lot of couples. We do something good for our wife, so we put one point on our sheet. We may not admit it but we do this, consciously or unconsciously.
By putting a number on your good deeds, you are making sure that your wife is also doing something good for you. A comparison is being made between you and your wife. This is unhealthy in a relationship.
What if she has not done anything good for you in the past month? Will you hate her for it? Will you impose on her that she needs to even things up? Or will you stop doing good things for her, too?
4.Giving Her Guilt Trips
I sometimes joke that I am a slave to her needs and that I am at her beck and call. It is, of course, not true at all. But I use this tactic to make her do things that she normally does not do.
Picture this—because you drive her to work every day, you demand that she fix things in the house or serve you food every night.
The things that we do for each other must be out of love, not out of our own selfish demands. If we make our wives do what they do not want to do, we are not showing our love for them, but instead controlling their actions.
5.Monitoring Where She Goes and What She Does
As husbands, it is our duty to ensure the safety and welfare of our wives. We should put their security first. But that does not give us the authority to distrust them. We must put our trust in our wives wherever they go and whatever they do.
I thought that it was normal to check on my wife’s texts and emails. I thought that it was okay for her. When I asked her if I could, she gave her phone and laptop willingly. I also thought that it was my way of showing her how much I care for our relationship.
She has nothing to hide from me. I get it. But she also deserves her privacy. It is not that I doubt her love for me. But continuously hovering over her to check on the people she meets and talks to can be detrimental to our relationship.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Marriage is built on trust. If I will not trust my wife, the person I love the most, then I will not be able to trust anyone else. Be the responsible husband that you need to be, but allow her the freedom that she needs.
We husbands love our wives, don’t you agree? If you are not willing to lose your wife, then wake up and see the reality. My wife has been the most understanding person I know.
She has let a lot of my mishaps slide. But I know that if I keep on being a controlling husband to her, she will reach her limit and may give up on our relationship.
Do your best to remove your control over your marriage. Instead, focus on your wife and the nurturing of your relationship. Only then can you truly appreciate your marriage.