Dealing With a Controlling Wife

If you have a controlling wife, you may feel smothered. Controlling spouses are difficult to deal with, but if you understand the root of the problem, you may be able to change the dynamic of the relationship.

Most relationship problems are rooted in cyclical patterns that must be broken in order for real change to follow. The key to improving your relationship with your controlling wife is to figure out why she feels the need to be in control, diffuse or confront the issues behind her controlling behavior and establish a new pattern of interaction. While that may sound simple, this can be very challenging to live out.

Ask Questions
The first thing you need to do is figure out why your wife feels the need to be in control. Keep a journal of power struggles or episodes in which she exhibits controlling behavior.

Look for an opportunity to discuss these situations, asking questions to find out why she feels the need to control you or the situation. A new mother may be controlling regarding the baby, for instance, because she fears you don't know what to do with the infant. A woman who has always had to scrape by to make ends meet may feel the need to control the finances. A woman who is insecure may control conversations because she's afraid you might say something that will embarrass her.

Express your desire to understand the feelings of your controlling wife. As you do so, keep your questions neutral and refrain from confronting her. Try to figure out what is driving her to be controlling, and try to see the situation from her perspective.

Tell Her How You Feel
When you are pretty sure you know why your wife feels the need to be in control, you need to tell her how you feel about these issues. For example, if your wife is controlling with the baby, you may need to tell her that this makes you feel like she doesn't respect you as a father, or that this makes you feel like you are not allowed to learn how to be a parent by trial and error -  just like she has had to. If she is controlling with finances, let her know how this makes you feel - perhaps like she does not trust you to be responsible or like she is not working with you as a partner, and you want to tackle your finances as a team. Make sure you express your desire to be equal partners and to work together, then explain how her controlling makes you feel belittled or disrespected. Be specific about what things she says or does that make you feel this way, and be sure to follow up with gratitude for situations where she trusted you or did not make you feel this way. Keep the conversation calm and positive by talking primarily about how you feel, what you appreciate and what you need.

Try to Prevent a Power Struggle With a Controlling Wife
Look for ways to prevent a power struggle before it happens. If your wife is anxious about your ability as a parent, try reading parenting books, attending parenting workshops or asking her questions about how she believes your child should be raised. If she is controlling with finances, set up an appointment with a financial advisor for the two of you, schedule times to go through bills together each month or come up with a budget together. If you take the initiative and show you care about resolving this issue, she will respect you more and hopefully relax and stop trying to control things so much.

Get Help From a Therapist
If your wife's controlling behavior is serious enough to threaten the stability of the relationship, initiate an appointment with a therapist to seek relationship advice. Just the fact that you are so serious about this subject that you are willing to seek professional help may shock her into realizing she needs to listen to your concerns.

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