couples

"What I really think of you when you're constantly sh*t-canning your wife."

This past weekend while having drinks with friends, I was introduced to a man we’ll call Mick. Mick is in his late 40s or early 50s, has had a great, high flying career and is married to a woman who we’ll call Everly.

Mick walked up and introduced himself with a firm handshake, he’d had a few beers and was enjoying himself in the small group that had gathered for Friday night knock offs. He told me about his daughter, his recent health scare and his terrible, awful ogre of a wife who is making him mow the lawns this weekend.

You see, every time Everly was brought into the conversation, whether in a relevant and totally understandable way…

Me: “So what did you do over Christmas?”

Mick: “Well Everly (said in that overly dramatic way like she’s an actual troll who lives under the bridge of his world and who constantly needs to be asked permission to cross) wanted us to go to Bali and you know you shouldn’t argue with Everly.”

Or in completely irrelevant and inappropriate ways…

Friend: “So is this Coronavirus thing going to kill us all off?”

Mick: “I wish it would kill Everly off.”

Ugh.

This statement was followed by raucous guffaws from Mick, some polite laughter from some of the group, a ‘hell no’ face from me.

I have zero respect for a man who spends his entire time painting a picture of his life with his wife as something akin to being forced into slavery, like the woman he promised to love and cherish as long as they both shall live is actually the dragon in this fairytale and he a captured princess in the tower.

I said as much to my husband after leaving the gathering and he said he understood where I was coming from and if it meant anything to me, he felt that Everly sounded like a tough, kick-ass lady who is probably the life of the party and pretty damn patient if she has to deal with Mick all day.

While that gave me reason to smile, mostly because I felt like my own choice in husband was completely validated, my next question would wipe the shine off my smug marriedness.

I asked him if he whined about me like that when I’m not around.

He paused, which means he absolutely does. He was choosing his words carefully, which means he didn’t want to upset me. He said he did but it was only a joke.

Here’s the thing gentlemen, the joke is done, it’s so old, so outdated, so BORING.

You might think that saying things like, “the old ball and chain” or that you wish you’d stayed single, make you look somehow manlier in the eyes of your male friends. But it actually takes a much bigger man to say that he loves and respects his wife, and who is also capable of fending off the comments he may get in return, that he’s weak, p***y-whipped or under the thumb without shattering your fragile masculinity.

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Mandy Nolan chats with counsellor Melissa Ferrari about the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one on Mamamia’s award-winning podcast The Split. Post continues after podcast. 

If you only do it because ‘that’s what guys do’ and you have never thought about how it looks as a reflection of your personality, how it makes your friends uncomfortable or most importantly, how it makes your wife feel, then you need to consider that you don’t actually have the capacity to think for yourself.

Perhaps your wife spends a lot of time telling you how to think or what to do because you’re the type who simply does not think, and she has probably made your life a thousandfold better for doing the thinking for you, not that she should have to.

If your reason for s**t canning your wife is because you don’t want your single mates to feel bad that they haven’t found the loves of their lives like you have, then be a better man and get more imaginative in your delivery. You don’t have to brag about your wife (of course, do that if appropriate to) but you can talk about her to your friends as if she is a human being, a partner, a friend, not some serpent who exists purely to punish you.

Tell funny stories about her farting in her sleep, don’t make out like she has an iron grip on your b**s and controls every aspect of your existence. You are a grown-ass man with the ability to make choices, don’t pretend like you’ve handed them all to her.

If you paint your wife in an ugly light because you yearn for the freedom of the single life you once had, then maybe you need to consider whether you really want to be in the life you currently inhabit.

The thing is, you can’t have both.

Either you’re in or you’re not and if you’re living some kind of half-married half-bachelor hybrid then you’re doing yourself, your family and your wife a disservice. Grow up and make a choice.

This does not mean that you can never complain about your wife. We’re going to do stuff that pi**es you off, that is wrong, we make mistakes and say sh**ty things sometimes. If you think we’re being a pain in the ass, by all means, whinge away, we certainly do the same about you not contributing to the mental load but if that strays into, “Why did I ever marry her in the first place” territory, ask yourself the question for real, why did you marry her?

If the answer is something like you had no choice or you were pressured into it or it was the right thing to do, give your wife my number.

We need to go for Friday night knock-off drinks.

Feature Image: Getty.

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