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Man of The, er, House

November 8, 2010

Man of the House.

Most men enjoy that title.

They work hard for it and we as a society still tend to raise our little boys to grow up into those big shoes, despite huge leaps in equality for women. I’m raising both a girl and a boy so I see it every day, all around me.

So what happens when the man puts his foot down and no one listens?

Welcome to my home.

My husband and I make most of our major decisions together, but we’re not perfect. Sometimes he’s bossy and if I don’t agree with him, he gets a little touchy. I, in turn, get really quiet if he doesn’t agree with me. We both need a little time til we’re ready to talk it out.

I’m not a yeller and I rarely raise my voice. But I can be a bitch…more of a stealth bitch, if you will. (If being an independent woman with an opinion who wants her way is being a bitch, then hell yea, that’s me. Deal with it.)

As a woman, I’ve come to understand that men need to assert themselves in a much louder way than women do. Is it a testosterone or territorial thing? Well, it does make a woman wonder: if men could pee on a conversation, would they? Hmmmm….

My husband has a very assertive style of communicating. That’s not to say he’s a yeller or violent; he’s neither. He’s sweet and generous. He just speaks very loudly and is quick to interrupt to have his voice heard. (Classic Mancode behavior, page 102). And of course, it’s his way or the highway.

Til it’s my way.

When we first met and started having long, romantic talks, he would cut me off. Why did he interrupt me so much? I thought he was being rude. Why was he telling me what I “should have done?” What, did he think I was stupid?

My husband, to this day, says no, he’s simply embellishing the story. When I take a breath, he sees that as an opportunity to launch. He calls that a discussion. I call it cutting me off. (We still can’t agree on this and it’s been eighteen years.)

What happened to the art of listening?

Bear with me here but that’s where the difference lies, I believe, between a man who has to be the man of the house and one who takes into account the needs of those around him.

Men look at the big picture, baby. Women focus on the details.

In other words, I listen. Then I put my foot down.

I wouldn’t say marriage is a game. But I definitely have had to learn that while my husband may roar like a lion, I know I’ll have to hear him out, build my case, present my evidence, and then change his mind.

To what should have been done in the first place.

Because even though the “man of the house” cultural norm hasn’t died yet, men still haven’t figured out that we chicks are the decision-makers of the house.

But we know, girls, don’t we?

We know.

(Unless there’s a big spider. Cause then I kinda don’t want to know. And he can stomp his big ole foot down all he wants…)

RachelintheOC would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please share your comments below. Retweets loved.

And a special thanks to my Twitter peeps for their gracious sharing this past Sunday–your thoughts and comments in response to my marriage research question were more than I could have hoped for. #youknowwhoyouare #yousorock

Follow RachelintheOC here, on Twitter, Facebook, or her new project for writers, the Indie Book Collective where we helps writers learn to utilize social media. Don’t miss out! Our live radio show is every Tuesday, 4:30pm PST.

  1. Great post! Thankfully, I'm in the rare situation of being in a very equal marriage. We can both be stubborn but we're careful to pick our battles. We'll usually let the other win if we see that they care enough to fight for it. And yeah, *we know*! 🙂

  2. Fantastic, in my house, the wife is the to dog, the step kids just think they are. Me, I sit back and watch-enjoying the show. With four male dogs in the house and two adult males, you would think the testosterone would have the upper hand. We do share in the responsibilities, but I still do what she says.

  3. Anonymous permalink

    There are many things holding women back from total equality with men: the glass ceiling, a resurgence of patriarchal religions, institutional sexism and Sarah Palin's regrettable tendency to open her mouth and say things, to name a few.

    All of which pale into insignificance
    next to the cataclysmic impact on feminine self-respect and pride engendered by the sight of any eight-legged arachnid bigger than a penny. I'll bet even Emmeline Pankhurst had to get in a bloke with a cup and coaster when the spiders came calling.

    Get rid of spiders and there really would be a feminist revolution overnight. 😉

    G (@dartacus)

  4. Hahaha…cute post. We don't argue anymore and we have been together 25 years. Things used to be volatile but I was more impatient and yelled more than my husband. As someone said to me last month, “I gather your husband is the stable one”. Takes all types of people!

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