This is an interesting question with a not so simple answer. The best I can come up with is—Maybe. That’s because the things your wife wants don’t fall into one easily defined category. But how you decide to respond to your wife and the motivation behind your actions are important to the health and happiness of you, her, and your marriage.
Now, I am a believer in saying yes to your wife’s requests as often as you can. This is not because I follow the philosophy that the key to a happy marriage is for the man to just say, “Yes, dear”. I find that concept not only offensive, but, ultimately, unworkable. I believe you should say yes because it engenders good will. It’s like making a deposit into your wife’s love bank and, like any bank account, you want the highest possible balance you can have. And, on the flip side, your wife should say yes to you just as often for the same reason.
But I know many men feel like a former client of mine who stated, “If I do what my wife wants, she wins.” Isn’t it all just a slippery slope to “Happy Wife, Happy Life” with you feeling dismissed and ignored? I mean, where do you draw the line? Isn’t it simpler to never head down that road to start?
It depends on what you want. If you want tension and dissension, then always saying no is the way to go. But if you want the connection and harmony you desired when you got married, then saying yes, at least sometimes, is required.
All relationships are a balance between what you are giving and what you receive. Ideally, those equal out over time for each of you. If it’s out of whack, the goal should be to bring it into equilibrium, not take your ball and go home.
The truth? Just because she asks doesn’t mean you have to agree. There are times when “no” is the only answer that you can authentically give. Yes, she won’t like it, but it won’t be the end of the world or your marriage if it is said with love and kindness. It’s always better to give an honest no than say yes and not follow through. But a no is like a withdrawal from her love bank so that’s why I suggest care.
Saying no is important when the request is something you cannot do with integrity or a willing spirit. It’s never okay to be asked to give up who you are but changing a behavior is usually possible. Even then, you can still refuse. The power to agree or not is always yours. There is no slippery slope. Just individual requests you get to respond to. Saying yes to one does not commit you to another.
You are an autonomous person and so is your wife. Managing the individual wants and desires of each of you is the challenge of a healthy marriage. Neither always giving in nor always pushing back is effective. Like most things, success is found walking the middle path.
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This post was previously published on The Hero Husband Project and is republished here with permission from the author.
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