Controlling Spouse OR Provoking Jealousy?
The big question is, do you have a controlling spouse or are you provoking jealousy?
Do you feel boxed-in because your spouse won't let you do what you want? Do you have a controlling spouse? Is jealousy in your marriage rampant? Your examples might be something like any of the following:
Your spouse wants you to stop seeing your "friends" of the opposite sex and you think that's overly-demanding or controlling. These people may have been friends even before you met your spouse, maybe you even used to date one of them, but hey, it's been completely over for ages.
Your spouse doesn't want you to go out dancing, drinking, hitting the bars, going to strip clubs, or going to bachelor or bachelorette parties where there will be strippers and you think that's an unnecessary restriction since you were doing that when you met. This was a known fact about you.
You got into trouble with your spouse when you stayed quite late after work hours having drinks with co-workers, or worse, ending up drinking or talking with one opposite-sex coworker. This is really unreasonable because everyone went, at least at first, and it was a kind of public meeting.
You tell your spouse you're going to be finishing up a few minutes late (5:15 instead of 4:30) and you show up at home at 1:30 in the morning with alcohol on your breath. Your spouse is not only angry but will not listen to reason to understand what happened.
Perhaps your spouse thinks you should share your passwords and show the texts on your phone from time to time. This is certainly an invasion of your privacy and disrespecting you as an independent adult, isn't it?
Fixing Marital Jealousy or Controlling Spouse
I have been working with couples in all age groups, different backgrounds and ethnicities, the full spectrum of economic and educational status, and a variety of religious and non-religious orientations. If you are complaining about your spouse regarding situations similar to what I describe above, I predict you are not going to like what I have to say.
You Help Create Your Own Marriage Problems
If you've had to put up with this kind of attitude from your spouse, perhaps you need to evaluate your own behavior first. Perhaps you ARE provoking your spouse's jealousy. Perhaps you're contributing to make your marriage partner into a controlling spouse.
You Can Help Create Your Own Marriage Repair
Grow up! Each period of life is a stage that we enter, live within, and eventually exit to the next stage of life.
For instance, by the time you started school, you no longer relied on diapers for bathroom activities. By the time you went to high school, you no longer needed help getting dressed, washing, or brushing your teeth. By the time you started dating, you probably didn't need anyone to tell you to be polite.
By the time you started working, you probably didn't need anyone to tell you that you need to show up for work and be on time. Certainly, it would have been more fun to play hooky and go to the beach or hang out with friends, instead of being responsible and showing up for work.
Life is a Progress of Maturing Through Stages
Life is a continual progress of maturational stages. It is a mistake to think our maturation ends at some point. We are forever going through new stages that require new skills to master. Early dating skills are different than those for long-term dating relationships. Early marriage skills are different than those you need for medium-term marriage, and still different than those you will need for long-term marriage and marriage in your older years.
Growing Up: Learning to Be Married
Among other factors, you will want to consider:
- If you are going to have a successful marriage, you have to settle into the idea that it's not all about you.
- You also have to give of yourself.
- You need to treat your life partner like, well, like a life partner. Remember in the wedding ceremony hearing something like, "...and you two will become one."
- If you're going to be that close for life, you do this by acting in a fully trustworthy manner and sharing all the parts of your life, including being open and honest rather than secretive.
- You will need to protect your relationship by not getting too close to others of the opposite sex.
- You will have to figure out ways to spend enjoyable times together.
- It means developing each other into your best friend and confidante.
A good first step to learning how to be committed to one person is to discuss jealousy issues openly with each other and create relationship boundaries.
I wish you all the best success in putting your marriage on track for being a life-long committed relationship with strong appropriate boundaries.