What can a husband do in response to a rebellious wife?

Make expectations clear and give immediate feedback.

Readership: Husbands; Christian Husbands; those who are married or hope to be married;
Theme: The Integrity and Fidelity of Marriage
Length: 3,100 words
Reading Time: 10 minutes


A prime PUA tactic in maneuvering a woman into bed is to say and do things indicating freedom and nonjudgment.

  • “I think a woman should be free to do whatever she wants.”
  • “Hey, no judgment here. You just be who you are!”
  • “It’s all good. Let’s just go with the flow, see what the vibe and energy is in the moment.”

No one likes being judged or constricted. But women really don’t like it because of how judgment and restraint make them feel. For women it is all about how she feels about everything – herself, her marriage, her kids, her job, her place in the world, the meaning of life, God, you name it. Things like OnlyFans and the new sex work help her feel good. She gets money, validation, attention, freedom, all of it, and it feels soooo good to a woman.

As you might imagine, when PUAs come on to a woman who is rebellious and independent, the general approach is to go with the flow and play it out underneath and with respect to her ego. The PUA’s response is not to refuse to admit her argument which would spark her ire, but rather to Agree and Amplify.

But PUAs only pull for the short show. Husbands are in for the long haul. What works for PUAs may not work for husbands. So are there any other alternative approaches that would “work” for husbands?

The answer is YES! In two previous posts, Conflict Structure and Marital Satisfaction (2017 November 15) and How To Get A Better Response From Your Girl (2018 February 27), Jack covered the research of Dr. John Gottman, who described a certain type of conflict structure which leads to better marital outcomes. In this structure, the husband brings up an issue and asks for a change. The wife is then required to respond somehow. In other words, the husband is the initiator of the conflict, and the wife is the respondent.

The main takeaway is that a husband should always be making more ‘demands’ on a wife, than the other way around, because when the husband does the majority of the demanding, it tends to result in a more positive and enjoyable relationship, over time. This effect was shown by Gottman to be true, and when Jack and I applied this technique to our own marriages, it had a similar, positive effect.

Case Study 1 – Jack’s Marriage. “She’ll Get Over It”

Jack’s experiment with this technique, which he calls “Pushing the Line”, is covered in the post, Disciplined, Submissive, Happy Wives (2018-02-15).

Keep in mind that the husband’s “demand” isn’t really a *demand* or even a *request* as much as it is an *expectation*. The husband expresses a new expectation for how the relationship will be conducted with an explanation of its benefits. The wife responds to the expectation by meeting it or by expressing why she cannot or will not meet it. Jack’s wife usually met his expectation but only after some conflict.

Jack had to stand his ground with his expectations after facing her negative emotional responses. The way to stand is to realize that your factual, practical expectations are being met only with emotional, illogical reactions. A couple good ways to respond to that are…

  • “If you have a practical reason why you can’t meet this expectation, let’s hear it.”
  • “I am not going to respond to emotional outbursts.”

After expressing the expectation, you must stand your ground on it. She doesn’t get to run the marriage simply because your expectations make her feel bad. And if she feels bad, so what? She’ll get over it.

Why men are hesitant to make demands

First, my overarching observation is how any criticism of all this is shouted down with anti-judgment sentiment and cries of “sexism”, “misogyny”, “insecurity”, and so on. How women get to this point is by getting everyone to withhold judgment or at least not express judgment. How men get to this point is by withholding judgment or refusing to take action because they do not want to rock the marital boat (or try to steady it in the face of the wife rocking it), nor appear “controlling” or “abusive”. The claims of the day when a husband attempts to put his foot down on something are that he’s “abusing” her or trying to “control” her. It is very possible that any attempts he makes to forestall things are met with protests of “You’re judging me!” and “You’re abusive!” and “You’re trying to control me!”

The implicit threat in such a statement is:

  • “You are an insecure little man with a small penis who is trying to chain me to a stove and keep me barefoot and pregnant.”
  • “How dare you judge me and cast stones at me!”
  • “How dare you accuse me of things I haven’t done (yet)!”
  • “How dare you attack me!”
  • “You’re just a sexist who hates women.”
  • “You’re being controlling.”
  • “You’re hinting at me that I’m doing something wrong.”
  • “You’re protesting at me and telling me I cannot do something and that is abuse.”
  • “I don’t have to let you abuse and control me.”
  • “You keep this up, I will divorce you, take most of the marital assets, leave you destitute, and you will never see the kids again.”
  • “And… you’ll never get to have sex with me again.”
  • “I’ll tell the kids what a mean ogre you are.”
  • “I’ll tell the court what a sexist and misogynist you are.”
  • “And I will tell all our friends and family what a mean, insipid, insecure, woman-hating, petty little man you are and how you were abusive and controlling.”

Women have upper hands here since most of the time they will be able to demand alimony and child support. I think husbands will have to decide whether they’re willing to live with it, or fight.

This is difficult because most men are conditioned to continue compromising so as to keep the peace. Most husbands in this position will continue letting a wife push and push and push. They’re conditioned this way because…

  • “Women Are Wonderful!”
  • “A good Christian husband trusts his wife.”
  • “Any husband who tells his wife ‘no’ is abusing and controlling her!”
  • “Judging a wife and telling her no are ‘unloving’, and violate the command to husbands to love their wives”

It may well be that a man will have to give up his marriage and save himself and hopefully his children. most men faced with this will have to…

  • Put down a hard “No!”
  • “You cannot do this and remain married to me.”
  • “Your behavior is unacceptable to me.”
  • “My wife does not do this! You can do this if you want, but – listen carefully – MY wife does not do this!

But, I think that once it gets to this point, the marriage may well be over.

Case Study 2 – John and Nikole Mitchell

NovaSeeker wrote an exhaustive case study of one husband (John/H) and wife (Nikole/W) in his post, The Slow Train Wreck — A Cautionary Tale (2021-01-18).

Nikole Mitchell’s transformation.

NovaSeeker’s excellent follow-up post on John and Nikole, The Train Wreck – Speculative causes, influences, and alternate outcomes (2021-02-01), indicated some of the early warning signs, and how the husband should have responded. Here I’ll address a question that was brought up in this post, “What could her husband have done in response?”

The husband’s first response to a charge like this is to refuse to admit her argument. Almost all the time, he has to put down a hard “no”. He has to draw a line in the sand and say “no more”, and then he has to tell her to roll it back, and that she can’t do those things anymore. Or, she can do those things, but there will be tough consequences. At worst, she will no longer be married to him.

Novaseeker added,

Yes.  H himself goes into exactly this in some detail in his YouTube interview with Rollo.

Basically, H was conditioned not to interfere, as you say there. What made that eventually change was when she continued to post lingerie and other sexy professional shots for weeks on end on Instagram, and it was leading H to have panic attacks, elevated heart rate, sleeping problems and the like. It was flight/flight reaction, even though at first he mentally ran from the obvious conclusion as to what was causing it. Once he could deny the cause no longer, he put his foot down, finally, told W it had to stop, and the marriage ended. He fully recognizes that he waited far too long to do that, but I think, from everything I have heard and read about their relationship from the beginning, and as that was reflected and documented in the IG record, that dynamic in the relationship went back to day one, so it would have been no small task to “reset” it at any time during the course of relationship. He picked the worst time, and he admits that openly, but my own view is that if he pushed back earlier, the marriage would have ended earlier […] once 2016 happened, the die was cast, more or less.

For people in other relationships, if you already have a dynamic like H and W had (Christian egalitarian/complementarian) then be prepared for something to blow up at some stage unless you reset the dynamic now, when you have the chance. Bear in mind that resetting the dynamic at any time, even when there is no pending crisis, can in and of itself result in the marriage ending if the wife decides she “doesn’t want a marriage like that”. But if you don’t do it in order to avoid that, you may very well end up in the same place. The moral is “do not have a marriage like that” […] but if you’re already in one, well […] you have your work cut out for you, that’s for sure.

This is true. What Nikole did was not so much change the rules, but continue moving in the same direction as the preexisting rules suggested would be acceptable. What happens with men trying to turn their marriages around, especially going Red Pill, is that they are not only stopping the flow, but reversing it, regressing it, and setting a new set of rules and expectations.

Case Study 3 – Mr. and Mrs. Deti (My Own Marriage)

My marriage started out much like John and Nikole – egalitarian/complementarian, but with a less than optimal sex life. As you can imagine, the honeymoon didn’t last long. Eventually, there came a time when I couldn’t take it anymore.

It got so bad that I upped the ante and Pushed the Line. I imposed a new set of rules and standards Mrs. Deti had to comply with, or the marriage would end. I took enormous risks in doing so. I knew full well I would see one of two reactions:

  1. She digs in her heels and refuses, in which case the marriage would end at great financial cost to me, social cost to her, and emotional/mental costs to our kids; or…
  2. She accedes to the “new normal”, in which case we go into uncharted territory and we proceed slow and steady and in which I must have a firm hand on the wheel from here on out.

I think that if I had forced the changes in year 1 or 2 when we were childless, or even in year 5 when we had a 2-year-old, the marriage probably would have ended. Forcing the changes in year 15 was different probably due to our age and maturity, the crippling financial and social consequences we would have sustained, and the attitude I think she had of, “I did pick him, I did promise him, I know what God has said about this, and do I really want to ‘die on this hill’? Do I really want to force the issue, because, well, I think he’s really serious and I think he means it.” And, well, I was dead serious and I did mean it. I was prepared to walk that all the way out, hard as it would have been.

Novaseeker commented on the last line in bold.

“I agree with the principle that this kind of resolve is required to turn things around in terms of reversing an established dynamic, but the issue here is Christianity as well. Different kinds of Christians have different kinds of rules about divorce, but none of us permits divorce because our wife won’t agree to a certain relationship dynamic — rightly or wrongly. If you make a credible threat to walk, and you do walk, knowing that this is not “accepted” as a reason for divorce in your church, you could be making a mistake of eternal proportions, I think.

It’s truly a box for Christian men.

The only real solution is as Oscar says — marry a true outlier woman and vet her for compliance/agreeableness, hard, during the courtship phase and avoid the issue from day one.

Of course, it can still go sideways, as Ton says happened in his marriage (people can always change, and some people will change in ways that are not predictable), but your risks seem lower if you do it this way.

Deti’s Advice on how a Husband can Approach and Demand

Men can stave off a full blown crisis situation, or at least keep eyes on it, by:

  1. Managing the household finances. I don’t think husbands should delegate this task to wives. I think husbands should do it. Husbands need to know where the money comes from, where it’s spent, and who is spending it.
  2. Laying down clear expectations for the relationship from the get go.

These expectations are…

  1. Frequent sex at reasonable intervals. No exceptions. No excuses. Deposit copious amounts of yourself into her, frequently, as often as you reasonably want, and she needs to be open to that and cooperate fully. A married woman has frequent sex with her husband. Period. Full stop. She starts withholding unreasonably, you call it out, immediately, and you tell her this is absolutely unacceptable. You’re going to leave for a bit and give her some time to think about whether she wants to continue being married to you and that upon your return, you will expect an answer and then conduct consistent with said answer. A married woman does not act like that. A married woman does not refuse her H unreasonably. She doesn’t like it, there’s the door.
  2. No contact whatsoever with exes. None. No talking, no social media, no DMs, no “catching up”, no “we’re just friends now”. A married woman does not act like that. A married woman does not maintain any contact with men she used to date/have sex with. She can act like this if she wants, but she will be doing it as a divorced woman.
  3. No close personal friendships with other men. No talking, no social media, no texting, no DMs, no “we’re just friends”, no getting lunch together, no “work spouses”. A married woman does not act like that. A married woman does not get overly familiar with men she isn’t married to. A married woman does not maintain close personal friendships with ANY men other than her husband, regardless of her intentions, the men’s intentions, or the nature of their acquaintance (personal, church, professional, etc.).
  4. No posting lots of selfies on social media and especially no posting selfies in sexy or suggestive clothing. Lots of selfies on Farcebook or IG or other social media sends the following message: “Check me out. Aren’t I hot? Wouldn’t you like to have sex with me? If I think you’re attractive, I might, despite being married. Even if I wouldn’t have sex with any of you, I really really love the attention I get from this.” A married woman does not act like that. A married woman does not let anyone see the goods even if she has no intention of letting anyone sample the goods. A married woman does not let anyone even think that they might have a chance to see the goods.

She doesn’t like that? There’s the door.

Note: Jack gave a list of his expectations in a comment. Derek’s expectations are here.


I’m setting this out not to pat myself on the back, but to illustrate one possible result when a man forces new rules to stop a wife’s marital misconduct. A possible result from slamming the brakes on the marriage, bringing it to a complete skidding stop, turning the vehicle around, and forcing a complete change in direction. “Either the car stops now and we’re going somewhere else, or I’m bailing at full speed and that won’t be pretty.”

I don’t care that this sounds abusive or controlling. I don’t care that this sounds restrictive. The fact is that a woman who agrees to marry agrees to forsake all others, leave her family, and cleave to her husband. In this context, cleave means she joins herself to him in such a way that she can’t be separated from him. So she agreed to those restrictions. She agreed to give up much of her control over and freedom with her own life (as he agreed to do the same with his life). She agreed she would do those things for him. She agreed to “have and to hold”. She made promises to him. She needs to either keep those promises or leave the marriage, or not make the promises in the first place. She doesn’t get to have it both ways. She doesn’t get to have all the benefits of marriage with none of the obligations. She doesn’t get to be a married woman but act like an unmarried woman. No. Men have to say “no”.

We need to teach our sons, brothers, nephews, grandsons, etc. that it’s crucial for them to test the women they date for agreeableness. Find opportunities to tell her “NO!” There’s no need to be mean about it. Calmly tell her “no”, and see how she reacts to it. If she digs in her heels, it’s a hard out.

For more on this approach (AKA “Pushing the Line”), check out the Resource Page, Discipline in Marriage (2018 May 16), and the related links below.

This entry was posted in Agency, Attitude, Boundaries, Choosing a Partner or Spouse, Complementarianism, Confidence, Conflict Management, Courtship and Marriage, Desire, Determination, Discernment, Wisdom, Discipline, Divorce, Enduring Suffering, Feminism, Game, Game Theory, Headship and Patriarchy, Holding Frame, Hypergamy, Introspection, Leadership, Male Power, Maturity, Personal Growth and Development, Models of Failure, Models of Success, Moral Agency, Organization and Structure, Perseverance, Personal Presentation, Persuasion, Power, Purpose, Relationships, Respect, Self-Concept, Self-Control, Sphere of Influence, Stewardship, Strategy, The Power of God, Trust, Vetting Women. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to What can a husband do in response to a rebellious wife?

  1. whiteguy1 says:

    What every married man needs to realize, if you start down this path, it’s like most things in life, it won’t be complicated, it will be SIMPLE, but it will be HARD. There will be times where the simple path is the hardest one in the moment. But solider on!

    And I can’t emphasize this enough, you might do everything correctly, follow the Biblical roles to a T, be in prayer, hold frame, and do everything you are supposed to… and guess what? The woman you are with has agency and she can decide to “Nope out”.

    Take me for example, I knew going in, in my heart, that it probably wasn’t going to work and she would wind up blowing things up, and guess what she did??? But I still went through it all like Deti said, and it was worth every single step, to get me to where I am now.

    We’ve lost 30-38% of our estate to lawyers, of what’s remaining she got about 65% of it. My two teenage daughters now won’t talk to me, and to pile onto all of this, I had to leave my dog, a rhodesian ridgeback, behind, one I trained since he was 7 weeks old until I left the house. (He was 10 years old when I left.) But his whole purpose in life was to keep my girls safe, and he’s done that.

    It took 999 days from the day she filed, to the day the judge signed the decree. We never went to trial, but between her craziness and all the Covid nonsense, it just ATE up time and resources.

    So I’ve lost all those ‘things’ including my kids — hopefully they will come back to me some day. BUT I would do it all again, even knowing these costs. I’m 47 years old and soon to be debt free again (with 27 months of CS left). It’s like Rollo said, being zero’ed out sucks. But compared to the young buck I was 23 yrs ago, I am in a far better position now, spiritually, mentally, and physically. I’ve got no debt, and now I’m an expert in my field with 20+ years experience.

    Not a bad place to be. It sucks at times, but this life on earth is only a bus stop; we are going to a far better place.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Red Pill Apostle says:

      “What every married man needs to realize, if you start down this path, it’s like most things in life, it won’t be complicated, it will be SIMPLE, but it will be HARD. There will be times where the simple path is the hardest one in the moment. But solider on”

      The moral of the story is for a man to start early in the relationship, as in when he starts dating the girl. If a man is already married, then the sooner he starts doing those things that whiteguy1 indicated, the easier they will be for him to implement because the cost of her blowing it up is not as big. Also, there are not years of learned behavior to overcome for both the husband and wife. Old habits really do die hard. These are things I wish I had known 19 years ago.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oscar says:

        There’s another point every man needs to understand. Remember this immortal sentence uttered by Scott’s ex-wife.

        “I meant it when I said it.”

        Every woman has free will. Free will is a wild card. She may agree to your expectations before marriage, only to channel her inner Darth Vader after marriage.

        Having this conversation before marriage greatly decreases the probability that she’ll pull a Darth Vader (mostly because women who refuse to be held to any standard [i.e., most women] will run away screaming “misogynist!”), but it doesn’t guarantee anything.


  2. redpillboomer says:

    “We need to teach our sons, brothers, nephews, grandsons, etc. that it’s crucial for them to test the women they date for agreeableness.”

    This is a subject unto itself. I’m sure we’ve covered it before in this forum, probably quite a few times, however it needs to be gone over again and again. In essence, it’s the skill of vetting a woman for marriage boiled down to one word: Agreeableness. Is she ‘agreeable,’ as well as NO red flags… none… nada… zilch. And if there is one red flag, is it even correctable? What is it going to take to correct it?

    My wife was a fairly agreeable woman when I married her 32 years ago. However, there was one red flag that I didn’t even recognize at the time, her relationship with her mother. She had ‘mommy issues’ because her mother was a mess in a number of ways. Fortunately, she didn’t have any daddy issues. Her relationship with her father was very solid (parents were still married, no divorce). HOWEVER, even though it was just one red flag that was missed by clueless, Blue Pill me, it made the first ten years of our marriage difficult as she worked through her mommy issues. We came close to divorce over it. Thankfully, the mommy issues were correctable, and in the course of time, another decade or so, she got them worked out to the point where now, they are a non-issue.

    So, I dodged a bullet, but not without significant personal cost to me during those first ten years. We have a really good marriage now, and that is a testament in part to her agreeableness. From that spirit of agreeableness, she worked very hard on overcoming her mommy issues, and eventually did. She was willing to accept her ‘problem’ and do the work to correct it; but it took a lot of work on her part. Kudos to her for doing the work. Kudos to me I guess for being patient.

    Knowing what I know now, would I marry her over again? Yes, BUT, the Red Pill version of me, would have to do a lot of what thedeti talked about in this post. If I had back then, assuming I’d been aware, aka Red Pilled enough, AND had some coaching from the men on this blog; I’d have probably avoided much, if not most, of the headaches I went through during the first ten years of my marriage.

    Gentlemen, as you all know, there are NO unicorns out there. There are some women who are marriage material, but they must be vetted thoroughly for ‘agreeableness’ or else a man, particularly in these times, is headed for potentially his own mini version of the proverbial ‘hell on earth.’ It’s a sad reality, but a reality nonetheless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • eutrapelia2001 says:

      How did you resolve the mother issues? I have a similar issue right now.

      For the past 11 years, even longer if you count the last part of dating where I started to see these issues, my wife has been embroiled in a two-front war with the fronts never occurring at the same time. She has a certifiable NPD mother with all the typical consequences of that situation, i.e. golden children, scapegoats, and the infamous flying monkeys. My wife has often been the scapegoat except when my wife is feeding her mother drama about our marriage.

      This dynamic starts off with a fight with her mom or one of her sisters. The family turns against her and she turns to me for guidance and comfort. I help her deal with the situation in a healthy fashion, working to establish healthy boundaries without cutting ties, but being willing to do so, if necessary. This setting of boundaries then becomes a source of family drama. However, after a time, my wife’s mother will stop the scapegoating and slowly bring my wife back into her circle of influence. The price of admission, so to speak, is providing the mother with narcissistic supply by recounting examples of me putting my foot down on something (like where our daughter is to go for First Communion classes) and how dictatorial I am, etc.

      This dynamic goes back and forth where my wife comes to me for comfort with family drama and then throws me under the bus with family and friends without a second thought, looking for comfort for her own ego and need to control. Then it is the “boundaries” that I attempted to have her set for her family are set against me under the advice of her mother. What makes this effective against my wife is that her mother never gave her approval or much love growing up. She is always seeking after it, even in adulthood. It doesn’t matter if she has to create fissures and destroy the reputation of her husband in a way that only a woman can. I would also add that the mother-in-law is only too happy to split her daughter away from me in subtle and explicit ways because the MIL has come to realize that I have her number and won’t allow her to manipulate me.

      It took me a while to wake up to this dynamic for a couple of reasons. First, no men in my past would talk about these kinds of dynamics or didn’t understand them themselves. Second, I had never come across this level of skilled and deliberate manipulation. In a twisted fashion, I am awed by their prowess and have learned in many ways. Not being a naturally manipulative person, it has been a difficult path to understand this mentality and then learn to navigate it.

      Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jack says:


        First of all, your situation is different from the one deti is addressing in this post. Deti is talking about a rebellious wife — a wife who knows what she should do but refuses to do it, or a very immature wife who is predominantly swayed by her feelings and/or feminist dogma, and who has no concept of personal responsibility.

        In your situation, you are dealing with a family (or “generational”) curse — that is, it’s a destructive dynamic that has a life of its own, it spreads from family member to family member, and gets repeated from generation to generation. Certain expressions of love are withheld (by scapegoating in your case), causing other family members to suffer, and then a reprieve of the suffering is used as a ransom or method of control. IOW, it plays off of emotional needs (through a carefully controlled balance of drama and scapegoating) and ego affirmation (through conditional acceptance). It seems like you’ve come to understand this destructive dynamic and how it works. It helps that you recognize that for what it is. The identification of the problem is the first step to correcting it.

        Since the problem itself is different, the way to handle this problem is also different from what deti suggests. A rebellious wife tears down the marital relationship, but a family curse tears down the individual, and yes, this can also tear down the marriage, the whole family and children too, if left unchecked. It often does just that.

        I suggest that you try to make your wife understand this dynamic from an objective viewpoint. Explain to her what you see happening, just like you just described here. It will help if you do it at a time when she is in a better mood. When she begins to recognize the pattern, then she’ll be able to view the situation more objectively, and see how unhealthy and damaging it is. You might have to talk to her about it many times, and it might take a while to see results.

        As an example, I’ll describe a situation that my wife had with her mother. It’s probably not as severe or destructive as your MIL is, but it should give you an idea of how to deal with it.

        My wife and her mother always had this emotional enmeshment. (Not sure if that’s the correct psychological term, but it is a good descriptor.) My MIL had this long running habit of controlling my wife’s behaviors and general opinions of things by playing the blame-shame-game. My wife kept coming back for more because she wanted the attention. IOW, it made her feel loved. They’ve been like this ever since my wife was a child.

        I discovered this problem like this. After we married, my wife talked to her mother on the phone every day, sometimes for more than an hour. At first, I didn’t think this in itself was a problem, but every time she talked with her mother, she was angry and distraught for several hours afterwards. It took me a while to figure out that her mother was the cause of her distemper because I assumed my wife was upset about something they discussed, but after a while, I saw that practically every time she talked with her mother, she was gritchy for the rest of the day. Once I identified her mother as the cause of her negativity, and not the content of their talk, I pointed this out to her. Every time you talk to your mother, you’re in a bad mood for the rest of the day!” Of course, this made her angry and she said I was hating on her mother and so on. But I continued to point this out every time it happened. After a few months, she started to believe me.

        Eventually, a day came when I pointed this out to her and she asked me what she should do about this. (I waited until this time because it was important to her for me to let her see this dynamic for herself and desire a change, rather than for me to try to force a change of her behavior. IOW, I had to be patient and let her grow at her own pace.) So I told her, “Limit your phone calls with your mother to 10 minutes, once a week. If she calls more frequently, then don’t answer, or else, answer and tell her you’re too busy to talk right now and hang up.” She didn’t want to do this at first, but as the emotional turmoil continued to drag her down (amplified by my bringing her attention to it), she became more willing to follow my advice, and she made some effort to spend less time on the phone with her mother. As a result, she spent more time talking with me, and she was in a better mood too. When I pointed out this change to her, she became more convinced that I was right about her and her mother. Not long after this, she really stuck to the “rule” of “10 minutes, once a week”. Within a couple months, she was practically a different person! Eventually, a day came when she realized she was much happier than she was before and she thanked me for this.

        Now we’re on to the next thing — being thankful for the small blessings in life. I’m handling this in pretty much the same way. I started off by explaining to her how happiness is tied to thankfulness. Then after that, every time she complains or is stubbornly negative, I point out how the situation could be viewed as a “glass half full”. She is slowly catching on.

        In summary, I urged my wife to draw boundaries for herself, rather than me setting boundaries for her. It took time and patience, but now she’s able to do this for herself. To reiterate what I said earlier, I think if you can explain to your wife how the bad dynamic works, and how she can get control of the situation by drawing boundaries, then you’ll be giving her a clear choice to do the right thing. (So many people continue doing the wrong thing because they’re not sure what the right thing would be.)

        Be that objective voice in her life, calling out directions for her to find her way out of the woods. Again, it takes patience.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jack says:

        I should add that Dalrock wrote about how to deal with a troublesome MIL in two classic posts. Reading these are a must for a man in your situation.

        — Dalrock: A wife’s best defense against a troublesome mother-in-law. (2013-3-13)
        — Dalrock: Revisiting the question of a troublesome mother-in-law. (2015-5-29)

        Best wishes~!


      • redpillboomer says:

        “How did you resolve the mother issues? I have a similar issue right now.”

        I asked my wife about this so I could respond here. Her mother, we believe, has a couple disorders catalogued in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual: Social Anxiety Disorder and Avoidance Personality Disorder (co-morbid with Dependent Personality Disorder, with elements of the Borderline and Paranoia thrown in there for good measure), quite the witches brew. She’s a piece of work, and so is her younger sister, both from one of those “vaunted”; 1950s/early 60s families that get stereotyped as “wonderful”; because of the family stability, i.e. few divorces. Her mother’s family, I can tell you, while superficially Leave it to Beaver or Mayberry RFD was anything but that, once you got on the inside of it. A real sh!t show of a family.

        My wife’s “mommy issues” really put a strain on our relationship and the family as well during the early years of our marriage and family formation. If my wife wasn’t a Christian, and as importantly, really DEDICATED to doing her self work on the road to healing, we would never have made it as a couple or a family.

        Anyways, the short of my wife’s long journey to healing began with her having a nervous breakdown and then seeing a couple of therapists in the first ten years of our marriage for deep inner work. She said the big thing breakthrough-wise for her was the CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) work she did with her therapists. It began surfacing deep habits she had in relating to the world and others acquired from her mother’s pitiful role modeling.

        Another big thing, surprisingly was her enrolling in a Karate class with me and actually making it all the way to black belt. It took four years to get there, the equivalent of a college degree in terms of time length. Why so significant? She said it was the first time she’d completed anything in her life that required such commitment; and it was all her doing, it had nothing to do with her family of origin (they are a bunch of mediocre life performers). She didn’t count getting her high school diploma as that was a fairly easy thing for her since she was a good, dedicated student growing up. However, she did this, graduated high school, in the midst of moving SEVENTEEN times growing up as her mom yanked them all over the country. Her dad was an oilfield manager, and very good at it, a masculine guy, but of course, Blue Pilled to the core. He let his nutcase of a wife jerk the family all over the country in chase of her dreams, or running from some perceived slight from family members (particularly her mother-in-law) or the people in her communities (the paranoid side of her).

        The next thing for my wife was getting her college degree from Rutgers (Teaching) and then her Masters Degree from Liberty University (Therapeutic Counseling); AND taking her first job as a teacher teaching in an inner city school in Trenton New Jersey. She learned that a lot of those kids had come from dysfunctional family of origin situations (many much worse than hers, if that’s possible) and she had compassion for them; and just as importantly, the KNOW HOW in how to help them, i.e teach them AND address their socio-emotional issues at the same time. She said she learned a lot about herself through those kids and their family situations.

        The last big piece of her healing was taking a course in Reactive Attachment Disorder for her Counseling career development/career broadening. In taking this course she realized it was exactly what she developed growing up; she now had a name for it and a diagnosis/treatment to go with it. She was floored, and tenaciously and persistently dove into the subject to learn everything she could. She said she learned more about herself in that course then everything that went before it put together. An exaggeration I believe, but an exaggeration to show how important it was to finally get a name and diagnosis of what was wrong with her that her mother had caused.

        She continues to study to this day, but is now more dedicated to helping others heal, and she’s really good at it. I mean like darn good! She feels she still has work to do on herself, but I’d say from where I sit, she’s 100% healed. That’s the short story version of her journey. I know there was more to it, but those are the things she highlighted when I asked her so I could respond to your question. Hope this helps!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Devon70 says:

    I’m 51 and most of the married guys my age have wives that treat them like children. I cringe when a guy tells me his wife gives him an allowance like he’s five years old. It is a degrading, embarrassing existence that men have been conditioned to accept. I have hope that younger men are learning to question what they’re told. The video below is about young men questioning what a feminist is telling them in schools.

    Liked by 1 person

    • elspeth says:

      @ Devon:

      “I’m 51 and most of the married guys my age have wives that treat them like children. I cringe when a guy tells me his wife gives him an allowance like he’s five years old.”

      That’s an interesting phenomena that I have witnessed as well. I could never treat my husband like a child (allowances, telling him where he can and can not go, interfering with his “guy time”, etc.).

      However, there have been occasions (especially among our more educated, UMC type couple friends), that I have been admonished that “He’s a GROWN man” in response to much of what I do for my husband; cooking his breakfast, laying out his clothes, packing his lunch, etc. Conversely, some of the men react with some version of “She’s not your mother!” towards him. With the men it is far more subtle of course, as men tend to be, but it’s there nonetheless.

      Somehow the irony of their relative lack of independence of thought or time in their own lives doesn’t register. Because they do all the things I decribed above for themselves, they seem to interpret that as being treated like a grown man. They somehow don’t view it as treating their wives like a child when they do them for her, though.

      Sidenote: It’s not as if my husband doesn’t do things for me. He made my health drink for me this morning as I was running late. On balance, however, our rhythm is one where I do most of the in-house serving. Apparently it’s some kind of weird mother-son oddity now when it was normal 60 years ago.

      Liked by 3 people

    • an says:

      My ex-wife managed the finances once and I had to ask for money like a child. It was one of the more humiliating experiences of my life.

      All of my mother’s brothers married wives that wear the pants in the family. I presume it’s because that’s the dynamic they saw growing up, but it’s not awesome to look at from the outside.


  4. Anonymous says:

    I can write a book on the rebelliousness of my late wife. Here is just one example:

    My wife pulled her car in front of the garage. I walked over, opened the passenger door and asked her to pull behind the other car on the far side of the driveway. She asked, “Why?”

    I replied, “Because that is my wish.”

    She quipped, “You’re an a$$hole.”

    Her questioning “Why?” is a manifestation of her desire to control and is a form of contempt. Her questioning why is an attempt to decline her simple submission by placing me in a position to explain my straightforward request, and essentially shift the decision (whether to move the car) to her. If I were to respond with a reason, it would imply that it is now her decision whether to move the car. This is not to say that she wouldn’t do as I had asked, however that is not the point. The point is her attempt to change the dynamic between us; to put her in control.

    Liked by 2 people

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