Saturday, October 4, 2008


One of the things that drives me crazy is something I will call Tyrannical Wife Syndrome (TWS, for short). I am sure everyone knows a man whose wife suffers from this affliction. It involves lots of wifely whining if hubby ever wants to do something by himself, lots of complaining if he is out of the house for any reason, and multiple restrictions on his activities away from wifey-dearest. It can also involve the husband being responsible for most of the household chores when he arrives home after a long day at work (cooking dinner, taking care of the kids, cleaning up, etc.).

I can't stand it when I hear a man say, "I can't come to (fill in the blank with activity) because my wife won't let me." Aaarrgh! I understand that there are times the husband is needed at home, but this is something that he and his wife should be able to openly discuss and compromise on. We often talk about how women need time for themselves, but somehow the memo that men also need time for themselves got misplaced en route to all the females. I know wives who complain constantly any time their husband is gone, whether it's work-related, church-calling-related, or out-with-friends-related. These same women demand to have time with their friends, they demand to have the husband watch little Johnny while they go to enrichment or visiting teaching, or while they just do whatever they want, but they completely flip out if hubby asks for the same courtesy.

Recently my sister and I were discussing this Tyrannical Wife Syndrome, and she was telling me how women in her ward were asked to submit questions for a discussion about how husbands could better help their wives. The thought made her cringe. Her perspective, and I agree, is that the question needs to be reversed. We expect our husbands to work, to help with all household chores, the kids, the meals, and at the same time read our minds, meet our emotional needs, put up with any moodiness associated with PMS, pregnancy, or other hormonal insanity, and do it all with a smile (and after they have brought us a bouquet of roses). And then we get together in little groups and talk about how incompetent our men are, how they can't do anything right, how they don't care about anything but the football game on TV, and how picked on we are.

I have to say, women are completely clueless. If our men treated us like this, the world would end. Yet, most men trudge on trying to do everything, anything to please their unpleaseable wives. What a tragedy.

Husbands are partners, not children. They have needs and feelings, and they get tired and discouraged just like we do. How much better would the world be if all the women would stop focusing on themselves, and start focusing on that guy they chose to marry? After all, you love your husband, right? Don't you want him to know you love him? Don't you want to show him?

All right, enough. End of rant.

As a postscript, One of the best books I have ever read on this subject is Laura Schlessinger's The Proper Care And Feeding Of Husbands. If you haven't read it, do it right now. You'll learn a lot.


Megan B said...

That's one of my all time favorite books. Very enlightening regarding the spoiled brat within. Justin prefers when I incorporate it into my regular scripture study :) I read it 6 times in one year once. Best year of our marriage!

I'll confess that I don't suffer strongly from TWS and I get really pissy about wives that do. Wives that invite themselves to Guys Night Out. Then I get the last-minute embarassment invitation from my own husband, but I'm just mad that they can't just enjoy themselves for ONE NIGHT without us! Why do the wives have to horn in??! Men need men and they are sooooo less likely to seek it out than women (at least in my husband's case) that when the opportunity presents itself I can't stand for the women to ruin it!!

Disclaimer: That's not to mean that I'm not a total grouch sometimes, unreasonable, demanding and whiny, particularly recently :)

foculbrown said...

Bonnie, I think this is why I love you so much. David is very lucky to have you.

mean aunt said...

Go, Bonnie, Go! I swear some women think their husbands are 3 years old and mommy knows best.

Or (my personal fave) that since the wife has been working all day at home then hubby has to completely take over when he gets home. HELLO?! What do you think he's been doing all day--eating bon-bons with his feet on his desk? It is called work because it is WORK. And from some of the women I’ve seen, if they took their martyrdom act into the corporate world they’d find out them meaning of the word FIRED.

Plus the real secret is that if you can get the laundry, shopping, cooking and cleaning (you know the WORK part of housework) done in the daytime then we he is home you get to PLAY.

And while I’m ranting, put your kids to bed on time and get up when your husband does. How depressing would it be to have to get up by yourself, eat by yourself and go to work (not to fun-fun land but work) while everyone snoozes.

I'd better quit before I burst something but I reserve the right to rant somemore later. Like about the wife who was upset that she got flowers from the grocery store because only flowers from an actual florist mean you care.

Stephanie Black said...

Fantastic blog, Bonnie! It ought to be required reading by all wives!

Evil HR Lady said...

But, what about my needs?


The Wolford Pack (Jen) said...

I'm going to read that book right away...where can I get it? I once suffered from TWS when I was first married. I was afterall raised by a father who suffered from THS until his mid-life crisis allowing my mother to become very bitter constantly sharing her negative opinion about ALL men with her children without realizing it. She may have suffered from TWS as well. Don't we all at times? This is the best post I've ever read...can I post a link on my blog? :)