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My role as wife? Any thoughts welcome!

(28 Posts)
Celticcat Wed 17-Apr-13 16:14:50

Cutting to the chase, dh and I are in couple counseling and we've been given the task of coming up with a description of how we see our roles in our marriage.
Tbh, I used to be really old fashioned (probably due to Catholic upbringing and narc parents who turned me into a people pleaser) and dh has made full use of this.
However, I'm now totally pissed off with being his doormat and want to see some changes in our relationship.
But besides knowing what I don't want, I am having great difficulties coming up with what I do want.
Can't say I have any role models at all.
Does anybody have any suggestions/ guiding principles that work for them? Thanks ever so!!

badinage Wed 17-Apr-13 16:23:39

What's worked for us is never having different roles based on gender. So we've never seen any difference in the roles of wife or husband. Or mother/father come to that.

Maybe ask yourself what you want from a romantic partner and then what you feel you can give yourself to that role?

hillyhilly Wed 17-Apr-13 16:24:55

My main want (which I often but don't always get) is consideration.
That I am considered in every decision, whether that decision is a cup of tea or what to do at the weekend, " how will this affect hilly"
I think that covers most things although I loved somebodies very succinct house rule in terms of kids recently "don't be a knob" - that covers most eventualities too.

Sariah Wed 17-Apr-13 16:26:45

Well what are your priorities in life? What goals do you have?
Do you work? Do you have children?

Tbh I think the roles are one thing but it is the respect in the relationship that matters as roles can change over the years depending on circumstances.

I am married. We have 5 children and I also work 4 days a week.

I see my roles as follows:

To always treat my family with respect
Where I dont treat them with respect, acknowledge this, try to fix and if I find I am unable, get the necessary help to do so
Along with my husband
-provide my children with an adequate standard of living
- Put my children in clean clothes every day
-Make sure they get adequate food and sleep etc..

Spend time with my husband
have regular sex with my husband
ensure a balance between work and home
Manage my money responsibly
contribute towards the upkeep of our home
provide a safe environment for myself, my husband and children
Take care of myself spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally and provide the same support to my husband and children
Nurture my children
Love my husband and children
Be honest with them
Teach my children good principles
Always say sorry
be strong for my family
Not take shit from anyone including my husband


Sorry they came out in no particular order and are a bit all over the place.

Thisisaeuphemism Wed 17-Apr-13 16:37:05

Something like: I want us to enhance each others lives and bring out the best in each other.
My role is to respect you and love you, i want to feel respected and loved in return....

OrbisNonSufficit Wed 17-Apr-13 16:43:54

I don't really think of my role as 'wife', I think of it as 'partner' (in the sense that we are two equal members of a partnership).

In terms of what the partnership is trying to achieve (currently house purchase, and baby on the way, for example), my role is to support that in whatever way we've agreed - we tend to discuss big things we have going on and agree a separation of responsibilities (I did try to get DH to take on the pregnancy part of the baby undertaking, but he said no smile). And we always discuss things - it wouldn't be ok for either person to make a unilateral decision about something that affected both of us.

In more general terms, I see my role as maintaining the respect, trust and intimacy levels of the relationship (this is DH's role just as much as it is mine) - and I agree with Sariah, that means looking after myself as much as it means looking after the relationship and DH. I like the 'don't be a knob' summary grin (aka don't be a grumpy shit). And have fun along the way. The little details like who cleans the toilet don't really bother either of us - if little things become a problem then we talk about them.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 17-Apr-13 16:59:24

You see I'd think 'fuck people pleasing' & go full on for the self-actualisation. smile "My role as a wife is to be the best person I can be aided and assisted by a loving family in a reciprocal arrangement"

Tortington Wed 17-Apr-13 17:16:38

do you work outside the home

do you have children

I don't think i could answer the question without this information

basically, for me - its an equality issue. I measure it thus: is there an equal division of labour?
if not, am i happy to do extra becuase 'i like it done a certain way'

If not - there is a problem

dh and i both WOTH, we have a rule - first one home cooks. this is usually me as i work close to home - however dh will then cook on weekend.

and you put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher - job done.

dh has responsibility for ironing and washing his own clothes. this does not mean that he only washes his own clothes, just that the responsibility

badinage Wed 17-Apr-13 17:16:47

Not to be snarky, but cleaning the toilet AKA housework is not a 'little thing' at all. Laziness or sexism in this area puts paid to a lot of marriages, for understandable reasons because it betrays an attitude of mind.

Tortington Wed 17-Apr-13 17:17:34


responsability for his clothes is with him - as mine are with me

Tortington Wed 17-Apr-13 17:19:51

oh indeed, badinage speaks the truth

i think there is a recognition that needs to be had of priorities

and its a useful conversation to say

" whilst i recognise that skiddies in the bog does not bother you, i would like you to recognise that it does bother me, so just in basic terms, think about what matters to me and brush your skiddies away - even though it doesn't matter to you"

purrpurr Wed 17-Apr-13 17:22:48

If you are able to put a pile of tasks neatly under the heading of 'work to be undertaken by the wife', then I think there's still a problem here. Being a wife isn't a role, it's not an additional job, or a job by itself, that carries its own duties. There should be no such thing as 'wifework', although there is a cracking book with the same title. You are part of a partnership. In your case there are two of you in a relationship. Define what you want and need as a human being.

UniqueAndAmazing Wed 17-Apr-13 17:23:06

I would say that we're equally responsible for the running of the house and the looking after the children.

That doesn't necessarily mean that it's an exact 50/50 split, but that it is whenever we are at home.
eg: i look after DD all day, as her primary caregiver, but when DH is here, he looks after her 50% of the time too.
We do equal shares of cooking and cleaning, wherever possible (because lots of the time he will cook while i bf DD).

We talk to each other and discuss anything that effects the family and house, respecting each other in any final decisions that are made.

We are transparent about money and know and understand how much things cost and who will pay for them.

We make time for each other to be social and intimate (according to mutual wants and needs).

OrbisNonSufficit Wed 17-Apr-13 17:38:45

badinage I know running the house as an overall thing (including cleaning it) isn't small. But my point is that we split that - we don't blame each other for not doing something that is a shared task. That's why I see small tasks like cleaning the loo as small things - they don't represent a wider imbalance that one person or the other is bitter about (although I know in some people's relationships they can).

EldritchCleavage Wed 17-Apr-13 17:43:57

Start by renaming the exercise 'My role as spouse'. There is no special 'wife' aspect to this except perhaps specific things to do with safeguarding your unborn child in pregnancy.

Celticcat Wed 17-Apr-13 18:58:57

Thanks everyone for your replies!
I had considered putting in spouse, was just curious if anyone still sees themselves as being a wife specifically and if I could relate to that.
Yes, I work full time. I have a ds and two dsc.
I don't have a big problem relating to ds, and am working out relations to dsc constantly and with confidence.
It's just my marriage needs tweaking.
Like most of you I consider myself an equal partner, unfortunately I don't feel treated that way. I actually believe dh is ea and am currently reading the Lundy Bancroft book on why he does that, recommended to me on mn.
I'd hate to be right about this, btw, but seeing how hopeless I've become regarding my role in our relationship its probably not a good sign.
Again, thanks for your thoughts, its much appreciated!

Pollykitten Wed 17-Apr-13 19:07:14

There are some lovely answers on here, making me feel I should be more on top of some of it to be honest! I am a feminist, have not changed my surname, use Ms as a title, committed to legislative and financial equality for women. What I have found interesting though is that with my first husband, he was so committed to the 'there is no difference between us' script that I was run totally ragged physically, as he would never pick up any of the (considerable) burdens. With my current husband (that sounds as if I am planning on a third, I'm not!) he is older than I am and takes a lot of care to look after me - I am physically very fit and strong but he notices when I'm tired etc and likes to step up and be 'manly'. I suppose what I'm saying maybe a bit clumsily that being equal but expressing your care for each other in different ways due to gender, need not be mutually exclusive.

Respect for each other and communication is the foundation. If your husband is ea, hopefully other wiser MNers will be able to give some good advice.

FairPhyllis Wed 17-Apr-13 19:09:50

Ah - you believe he is EA. In that case joint counselling is not recommended as he is likely to turn the counselling into an extension of the abuse.

Celticcat Wed 17-Apr-13 19:12:43

PS housework is split pretty evenly, including shopping, cooking. It's just I feel I need to justify doing/ not doing stuff. I'm a teacher and am home more so feel ok about doing more, but I miss the appreciation for that, getting more of the "of course you should do more, you don't have a proper 9 to 5 job like I do" !
This evening I felt really insulted by dss who openly mocked me when I said I had had a long day and was tired, dh did not tell him he was being rude once ( his kids do no wrong, I'm over sensitive). Yet my ds is taken to task for every minuscule misdemeanor (he had a plate in his room!!!!) but I always pull ds up on cheekiness or rudeness immediately.
We talked later and I asked if he felt beyond rules and reproach, because kids pick up such behaviour from their parents. He said he'll think about this.
Tbh, I feel treated like the child who must obey his rules, his dc are the real partners.
No wonder I can't make head or tail of my spousal role?!?

Celticcat Wed 17-Apr-13 19:14:43

Phyllis, I believe you are right...

SkaterGrrrrl Wed 17-Apr-13 19:16:29

Highly recommend you post this question on the Feminist chat section. I promise not to bite! smile

Celticcat Wed 17-Apr-13 19:20:13

Sounds good, skatergrrl!

AThingInYourLife Wed 17-Apr-13 19:20:59

"My role as a wife is to be the best person I can be aided and assisted by a loving family in a reciprocal arrangement"

Love this smile

Ledkr Wed 17-Apr-13 19:24:49

I just can't see myself in any "role" other than at work.
I just crack on with life tbh I married dh cos I love him like crazy and wanted to be "related" to him officially. We just share our lives together seeing to our own needs and some if each others out of kindness and respect.
As a mother I love my kids so enjoy time with then and will see to their needs whilst helping them learn to be self sufficient as the grow and develop.
Nothing special but I'm happy with it. I just struggle to define myself a role for what is essentially my life.

Celticcat Wed 17-Apr-13 19:41:07

I agree, my role In the workplace makes sense.
And yes, I'd also say "this is my life".
Love the post on reciprocity too.
Mutual respect is a must though, isn't it. Without it everything else seems to get swallowed up In a black hole in time.

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