The notion that women are supposed to be submissive to their husbands is one that, quite frankly, most women today would laugh at. Fortunately, it is a notion that most men would laugh at, too. And yet, even in this enlightened age, the basic nature of relationships dictates that from time to time, one person will be more dominating over the other.
In my marriage, I tend to be the more submissive person. Yes, I know, I just cheered how women don’t have to be submissive anymore, so what gives? Simply this: I am, by nature, more laid-back than my husband. That’s just the way we are wired. Has this ever caused problems? Oh, yes. Yes it has. And that is why I am telling you about it, in the hopes that you will avoid these silly pitfalls in your own relationships.
Whether you are the more dominating or the more submissive person in the relationship, you need to learn how to give and take a bit with your partner, or you risk causing some seriously hurt feelings. And, as always, this involves learning how to be a better communicator.
I’ll share a couple of examples from both sides of the fence.
When we first started dating, my husband would bring his CD collection with him wherever we went, and we’d listen to his music. Sometimes, he let me pick out a CD – from his collection. I was fine with this for a while, and then I got the impression that he didn’t like my taste in music. I actually started to resent him over the stupid CDs. And then one day, I finally blew up at him and yelled about how rude it was that he always made me listen to his music when I had perfectly good CDs of my own that I might want to listen to.
Well, after the dust settled, I learned that he had no idea he’d been doing that to me. He was just so excited to share this part of himself with me that he’d unintentionally steam-rolled right over me in the process. The lesson I learned: tell him the instant that he’s starting to be too controlling. The lesson he learned: sometimes in his eagerness to share, he can be a little domineering.
But it’s not always the dominant personality that causes problems. I have been equally as guilty of letting my submissive personality get us into trouble. After we’d been together for a while, I simply stopped making decisions. Where do you want to eat? “You pick, you’re the one who cares about food.” What movie do you want to see? “You pick, I’m up for anything.” Yeah, actually writing those words out I can see how dull I must have become. And, finally, my husband brought it up. He wanted to hear my input. He wanted to make me happy, and it seemed to him like he could never find a way to make me happy because I was always giving in to what he wanted. The lesson I learned: If I want him to appreciate me for who I am, I have to maintain my own identity, which means I need to form my own opinions. The lesson he learned: Sometimes he needs to put his foot down and not let me get away with being so passive.
In today’s world, it’s just as fine to be a dominant female as it is to be a passive female. The most important thing you need to do is be true to who you are, and make sure that you and your partner hold one another accountable for keeping the communication flowing.