I am a former liberal who once believed in the absolute “equality” of the sexes. By the time I got married, I had become a social conservative and my new husband and I were ideologically aligned in that regard. Nonetheless, a year into my marriage I could tell that he was not happy. He didn’t seem to like me anymore. We started fighting a lot. He thought we should go to marriage counseling, but we live in a small town and there was no way I was going to be seen going to a therapist. I was at a loss for what to do.
Things got worse. After yet another argument about something stupid and inconsequential (the dishes, I believe), I was despondent. I had no idea what had gone wrong in our relationship or how to fix it. Crying, I asked God and the Internet, “Why doesn’t my husband love me anymore?”
The answer I got was shocking but strangely relieving. I learned that I was a nagging, controlling, complaining shrew. I was not the kind of shrew you see in the movies who screams and throws things and spanks her dirty, half-naked, crying children for no good reason. I was the kind of shrew who thought that my husband needed my advice . . . all the time. I am an intelligent woman and I had plenty of good ideas about how to do things. I knew what shirts went with what pants, I knew when he needed a haircut, I knew he should definitely not wear jeans to church, I knew how he should drive, and I knew how he should trim the shrubs around the porch. And I complained when he didn’t do things the way I wanted them done. I didn’t scream my complaints like a crazy woman; I just let him know in a certain tone that that was not a good idea and told him how he should do it next time. But because I wasn’t a screeching lunatic, I didn’t recognize that my “advice” was actually controlling and making my husband view me more like his mother than his wife.
Is it any wonder he put up what felt like an impenetrable wall between us? It’s a natural response when one is constantly under attack. He also started waiting until I wasn’t home so he could do things behind my back. I discovered one day that he had cut down several trees on our property after I had told him I wanted to keep them. He did all sorts of projects when I wasn’t around, like painting and organizing the garage, because he didn’t want my input. Sometimes he had friends over to our house when I wasn’t home because he didn’t want to have to clean up before they came over. I felt so betrayed by him sneaking around behind my back! It may not have been a healthy response to my controlling behavior, but it was certainly an understandable one. He was trying to keep the peace in our home while still maintaining some degree of personal autonomy.
So, after learning that I was a controlling shrew, I set about changing my behavior. It wasn’t easy! As a former liberal and mainstream conservative, I had been submerged in years of anti-white and anti-family indoctrination via movies, novels, and other media, and had a subconscious belief that I was in competition with my husband, even though my conscious brain believed otherwise. I had never learned the key factor in building a happy, healthy relationship. I should have known it, because in retrospect it’s quite obvious, but years of programming blinded me to this simple fact: our men want us to be happy!
That understanding changes everything. If our men want us to be happy, then we don’t have to control, nag, or manipulate them to get what we want. We simply have to tell them what would make us happy. It’s that simple! Because they want us to be happy, they will take our desires into consideration when making decisions. That doesn’t mean we get our way all the time, but the pleasant surprise for me has been the realization that I don’t need to get my way all the time. It turns out that my husband often comes up with better ideas that I ever would have. He’s a man, so he thinks differently than I do. He’s more practical and sees solutions I don’t see. This has come as a massive relief to me, because now I can trust him to take care of things and don’t have to spend my energy needlessly trying to control him.
When I stopped trying to be controlling over my husband, he was able to start behaving like the head of the household that he is, and it turns out he’s darn good at it. I gained back the respect I had for him in the beginning of our relationship. At the same time, I found myself being much better taken care of, and to be taken care of is the deepest longing of every woman, even the blue-haired, jackboot-wearing harpies who spend their lives trying to smash the patriarchy. As the fairer sex, this is simply our nature. But we have to choose. In order to be taken care of, we have to let go of being in control.
Here’s how it works. I used to constantly back-seat drive. According to me, my husband drove too fast. We fought countless times over this issue. He resented my efforts to control his driving and I resented that he didn’t seem to care about my fears or my feelings. With my newfound understanding, I stopped back-seat driving. Sometimes it took every ounce of self-control I could muster to not say anything, but for the most part, I was able to manage it. The result? I haven’t died and we haven’t had one fight about it since. My husband has even slowed down a little when I’m in the car, simply because he knows it makes me happy. Once we were no longer in a competition of wills, he was much more inclined to take my happiness and comfort into account.
He now deals with everything that goes wrong with the house, either fixing it himself or hiring someone else to do it. If I tell him the faucet is leaking, I know he will get it taken care of and I don’t have to worry about it. It might be a week or two before he gets around to it, but he always does it when he can, and no nagging from me is necessary. I simply get to smile and say “Thank you” when it’s done. Needless to say, we’ve stopped fighting.
I’m still working on settling into my role as a wife who follows her husband’s lead. Unlearning years of indoctrination is a big task, and I’m not perfect. Sometimes I slip up and say something controlling. But now I can apologize and my husband is pretty forgiving. He wants me to be happy, after all! I have also gotten pretty good at deferring to my husband on decisions that involve both of us. As a result, he gets to lead our household and I no longer have to worry about much of anything.
We’ve had to make some less-than-traditional accommodations to suit our marriage since I still work full-time. That will likely change at some point in the future, but for now it’s a necessity. Because of this, my husband helps out with some of the indoor chores, in particular doing a fair amount of the cooking. I appreciate his contributions and I tell him so. He also appreciates mine. And guess what—it turns out he is wonderful cook, now that I don’t tell him what spices he should use.
This piece originally appeared in Volume 1, Issue No. 3 of The White People’s Quarterly. Read more about the issue here.