I've alluded to this one for a long time but it's finally here-
The talk on wives and what they do to their spouses.
I'm always frustrated by the assumption that a dude getting married automatically means that he is whipped (that their wives control their access to sex and freedom).
But I've seen it. I've seen that exact thing happen.
I just don't understand it when a guy talks about how his wife won't "let him" (or her) go out once a week for games, or 'doesn't approve', 'doesn't understand', etc.
I know I am 'not your ordinary girl'
Marriage has never meant that I have the automatic right and authority to veto, control or otherwise interfere in what TheDude does. The idea is out there that marriage means exactly that- that I have a right to control him and his actions as an extension of being his wife.
There's an expectation that wives have the right to become the number one priority in their husband's lives; and that they should always be the top and most pressing thing on their husband's minds. Wives, merely by having said "I do", apparently inherit something deeper than a stake in their spouse's hobbies and free time (so says "popular wisdom"). Yes, we deserve time and attention from our spouses- but not at the expense of our husbands' sanity and well being.
As much as I want not to be last, I am not in favor of the automatic entitlement to being the ultimate priority in TheDude's life. It's just wrong to me to expect it.
It also seems obvious to me that if we as women want to be treated more like people and less like shrews, we need to ACT like it when we become wives. For the stereotype to diminish at all, wives have to behave in ways that challenge those perceptions.
This is one area where what we do and how we do it can and does actually impact the sexist stereotypes that exist about women; and we are just not stepping up to the challenge. In most cases, we are making things worse, and it's making those of us that are sane and loving look bad. Girls, get a motherfuckin' grip already! Here's some tips from an old pro:
A firm acknowledgement that our partners are adults; fully capable and willing to be responsible and caring to families and duties is paramount. The number of wives that have called me personally or called the store "because it's late" is disgusting and erodes any sense of primacy that their spouses my hold.
Part of treating your spouse like an adult is deciding before he goes to the game store what your budgets can handle and what your priorities are. (HINT: they should include hobbies for BOTH of you once you have some disposable income.)
It's pretty disheartening to see a guy all jazzed up about a purchase, excited for the fun times of playing the game ahead, and then watching him damn near shuffle to the register, complaining that his wife will "kill him" for making said purchase.
Ladies, if you married a geek; get used to it. He's going to buy geeky things. Either you like this about him or you don't, but trying to change him is NOT going to work. It's one thing if you don't have the funds (and I know a few guys that are still pretty broke); but an entirely different one when you complain about his $70 game and you have a NEW Coach bag (and not one from the outlet store, either). Making your spouse feel guilty for staying at home (or the game store), hanging out with friends, laughing and having a good time instead of going out drinking, carousing or otherwise being irresponsible is not going to win you any "brownie points" or gain you any favor in his or other people's views.
How you treat your spouse in public, and how he talks about you is another essential aspect to being more than "the wife"; and being the woman your husband's friends respect and admire. Freely and willingly understanding that your partner has interests, passions and friendships outside of your relationship is going to go a long way with him and those around him. We all notice when he rolls his eyes when you call or come in "to check in". If he's happy to see you, he talks about you respectfully and you treat him the same way; we notice too.
It's the women that don't act this way, and the men that let their wives get away with it, that harm the reputations and opinions of wives among the gaming kind. It's the compromises of time, attention and hearts that make marriages work' and women- you have to do YOUR part too- or you ruin your man.
It's the men that are married to women who exert control (voluntary or just implied) over every little thing in their spouse's life that make this reputation so strong, and it's hard to deny when we see some of our friends turn into someone else due to a woman's influence. Our fun-loving and silly friend becomes a grouch and a miser, and it sucks all around.
Giving consideration goes both ways, and I hate to see a guy giving up so much that he essentially disappears. It isn't right or fair, and it hurts women when it happens. It turns us into villains and makes us something to fear; which propagates sexism and chauvinism. I wish more ladies saw this for what it is, and worked to dispel the suspicion around us- but I can only do so much.