Article: Hitched April

April 25, 2010, 6:55 pm

This article is exclusive to Hitched Magazine. (It was discussed by BJ, Howie, and Erica on the radio station Alice 105.9 www.Alice1059

Are You a Controlling Wife?
by Jenna D. Barry

Being a controlling wife seems to be the norm in our society, partly because of TV sitcoms, and partly because we tend to repeat the destructive behavior patterns of our parents.

Does your mom boss your dad around? Is your mother-in-law a control freak? It may be easy to recognize flaws in our parents and in-laws, but it may be difficult to admit that our own behavior could use some improvement.

If your mother-in-law manipulates your husband with guilt, then he was probably raised to believe that her behavior is acceptable when it is not. If he allows himself to be dominated by her, then it’s not a stretch to conclude that he probably allows you to bully him too. Subconsciously, you may be controlling your husband because you know he won’t stand up to you any more than he’ll stand up to his mother.

Are you a controlling wife? Has your behavior turned your husband into a little boy who seeks your approval for everything he does? If so, then your relationship is built on manipulation, guilt, and obligation. A healthy marriage is based on love, freedom, and respect.

Here are some questions to help you determine where your behavior may need some improvement.

1. What are some things that your mother or mother-in-law does to control family members?
2. Do you do any similar things to dominate your husband?
3. When he has needs that conflict with yours (ie: how to spend the weekend), do you put him on a guilt trip because his needs conflict with yours?
4. When his opinions differ from yours (ie: how to raise the kids or decorate the living room), do you roll your eyes at him or insist on getting your way?
5. When he says or does something that upsets you, do you give him the silent treatment or criticize him in front of your friends, parents, and kids?
6. When your husband wants to spend money on something you don’t approve of, do you imply that he’s selfish or tell him that what he wants to buy is a waste of money?
7. Do you often move your husband’s belongings to different places in the house because you think you’re entitled to decide where everything should and shouldn’t go?
8. Do you undermine his authority with the kids (ie: you adopt a cat because the kids really want one even though he already said no)?
9. Do you make judgmental comments about what your husband wears, eats, and drinks?
10. Do you try to control when and how he does chores?

It’s important to treat our husbands the way we want them to treat us. I wouldn’t like it if my husband tried to make me feel guilty whenever my needs or opinions conflicted with his. I wouldn’t want him to move my stuff to a different part of the house where I couldn’t find it. I’d feel awful if he belittled me in front of our friends and families. I’d hate it if he dictated when and how I should do chores around the house.

By taking an honest look at our behavior, we can stop destructive family patterns, make our marriages stronger, and show our daughters how to be great wives someday.

Jenna D. Barry is the author of “A Wife’s Guide to In-laws:  How to Gain Your Husband’s Loyalty Without Killing His Parents.”  For more information, please visit her website at

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Buy the book!

You can have a GREAT marriage, even if your in-laws aren't so great!

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You may be quick to blame your in-laws for your marriage problems, but in reality the biggest part of the problem isn't your in-laws, it's your husband's loyalty to them.  When a man marries, he is supposed to transfer his loyalty from his parents to his wife. His behavior plays a key role in how well you get along with his parents.  The goal of this book is to help you gain your husband's loyalty.

If you are in need of hope and encouragement, this book is for you!  Jenna Barry offers hilarious, heartfelt advice about how to have a terrific marriage in spite of difficult in-laws.  As a wife who has personally experienced the despair that comes from having an unsupportive partner, she suggests specific things to say and do to gain your husband's loyalty.  This book won't teach you how to become best friends with your in-laws, but it will teach you how to think and behave in a new way so they no longer have any power over you.  A Wife's Guide to In-laws has over 40 cartoons, two fun chapters written just for your hubby, and worksheets to help the two of you reach loving compromises about common problem issues.

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About Jenna

As a wife of 22 years, Jenna D. Barry (a pen name) has learned how to gain her husband's loyalty through communication, persistence, and a whole lot of love.  She has familiarized herself with the needs and frustrations of other wives by participating in on-line in-law support groups and by talking to marriage therapists, friends, family, and co-workers.


Jenna is the author of the book, A Wife's Guide to In-laws:  How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents. She has been a radio guest on The Mike Bullard Show and her articles have been published in newspapers, websites, and magazines worldwide.  She writes monthly articles for Hitched Magazine and has been quoted in The Washington Times,, The London Free Press,, etc. She leads a support group for daughters-in-law right here.



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