“Things a wife should say “no” to in marriage” might be a controversial blog topic for some.
Women have often been seen as dramatic and emotional and a “no” list can be the stroke that “confirms” the narrative.
But it’s funny when you think about it because society and church culture actually tasks women with the opposite: we’re expected to carry the emotional, sexual, and mental labor of our relationships.
- “Husbands need sex or they will have affairs/struggle to keep pure.”
- “It’s a wife’s job to love and submit to her husband.”
- “Women should stay at home and take care of the home and the kids.”
- “If a husband doesn’t like to talk about his emotions or address conflict, it’s because all men are like that, and as his wife you need to tone down your expectation.”
These and many other thoughts leave women reeling and unable to advocate for themselves because society and church culture won’t even listen to their pain or take their concerns seriously. (For more on this, check out The Great Sex Rescue book and this series of posts!)
So perhaps a “no” list is exactly what women need.
This post is about thoughts and mindsets that, traditionally, women have been told they must follow for their marriages to thrive: burdens women carry that men aren’t told to carry.
So let’s talk about those boundaries in marriage and what women shouldn’t settle for! (I’m working on a small book on boundaries in marriage, and it should be out soon!)
(Ps. These “no’s” also apply if it’s the man being pressured to accept an unhealthy relationship.)
Without further ado
40 Things a Wife Should Say “No” to in Marriage
1. Being disrespected.
2. Walking on eggshells in this space they should feel most free.
3. Second place.
4. Accepting crumbs in the name of love.
5. Feeling afraid to speak their mind.
6. Catering to immature, adolescent behavior.
7. Being yelled at.
8. Being the ones to apologize first (even when they don’t know what they are apologizing for.)
9. Feeling harassed and overwhelmed by their partner.
10. Silencing of their passions and gifts
11. Crying most days from relationship confusion and pain.
12. Needing to numb/create protective walls/coping behaviors in order to keep the relationship.
13. Carrying all the domestic and child-rearing labor. Feeling like expecting their spouse to share equal responsibility is asking too much.
14. Not having a voice.
16. Sex when their husband is addicted to pornography.
17. Sex when there’s an affair.
19 Attending churches and groups that won’t pay attention to their concerns and pains.
I asked my Facebook community to chime in on this conversation of things a wife should say no to in marriage.
20. Having zero expectations (so as not to be disappointed, “disrespectful,” or come across as “contentious.”)
21. Having feelings invalidated, causing you to ignore or disassociate from them.
22. Being coerced/guilted/shamed into compliance.
23. Immediate forgiveness that is defined by zero transparency, accountability, or restitution before full repentance is borne out.
24. Reading books upon books to cope with their husbands’ sin and doing all the heavy lifting.
25. Keeping secret the patterns of sin that are destroying your person, your kids, your marriage, and your partner.
26. Not getting the help and support you need to be whole.
27. Bearing the consequences that were never yours to bear, thinking this is love.
28. Stonewalling and silent treatment. Outsiders might say, “give him space.” But it isn’t space when there’s never a time to safely/freely process things.
29. “No” to being talked over, condescended to, and “corrected” in front of others.
30. For him to say, “can we talk about this later,” or “let me think about it,” or “I need to research that,” and then never follow through. (So she is left waiting and waiting to make a decision but can’t because he won’t participate in the discussion, and if she decides without him, then she’s not an equal partner.)
31. Being responsible for his salvation and staying in an abusive marriage in order to do so.
32. Financial and material control. Like deciding your every wardrobe “because you don’t have good taste as he does.”
33. Being told you’re bad with money and being completely excluded from financial decisions.
34. Having to account for every penny spent on groceries while he buys whatever he wants.
35. Having things thrown at you.
36. Him telling you you’re crazy and depressed and pushing you to get unnecessary medical care.
37. Having joint checking accounts when he’s reckless with money to the point of destroying your finances
38. Severe anger issues like breaking things.
39. No to keep pretending to be happy outside and deceiving people that everything is going okay.
40. Women also need to say “no” to themselves when they want to (for the long haul) accept less than they deserve in their relationships
Two things might happen when we say “no” to these things.
- We’ll go through an intense season of clarity and addressing issues and if our spouse is willing, and once we feel safe and rebuild, our marriages will get healthier.
2. We’ll go through an intense season of clarity, which will include learning how to advocate for ourselves: if our spouse is UNwilling, we’ll get healthier on an individual level.
Your turn: What other things should women say “no” to in marriage? What can you add to the list? Lets chat in the Comments. (Context: these are things that traditionally, women have been told they must do or must be for their marriages to have a chance. These are burdens women carry that men aren’t told to carry.)
- Why Women Don’t Know If Their Marriages Are Harmful
- Why God Will Not Change a Marriage When a Spouse Clings to Harmful Ways
- If Her Abusive Husband is in Recovery, Shouldn’t a Wife Stay?
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