The Wife's Bad Rap


“Sure, honey,” I said innocently, “you can always use me as an excuse.” When I said that my husband could use me as an excuse for [fill in the blank] I truly, truly meant it. Don’t want to go somewhere with someone--blame it on the wife. Need a person at the air conditioning company to step to--tell them your wife demands it.

It’s an easy way to bail a husband out: “my wife said so.”

Now that I am the excuse, well, I am not so sure I like it. For a while, it was fine. I didn’t even think on it. Until one day when a friend asked me if I would “let” my husband go to a concert. “Let” him?! Ugh. I cringed at the very notion.

It must be noted my husband is not the sort that can be told what to do, in the first place. So the notion that would allow or disallow anything is, well, outrageous. I spend time wishing I could make my husband do things... like fold laundry or take vitamins (he thinks that taking the vitamins was his idea!) But the gods honest truth is that he will only do what he wants. And I have to respect that fact because otherwise this marriage would not be so fruitful.

But in all those years--even before I was a wife--him using me as the excuse never bothered me. Before, it was like this sort of inside joke between the two of us, and it was even sort of funny. Over the years, though, something changed--something inside of me. I don’t want people to think that I am the gate keeper of my husband.

I think that this whole "blame me" thing actually is an honest technique I picked up from childhood. My mom would always tell me to use HER as an excuse if my friends were ever peer pressuring me, or if I didn't want to do something... I would simple say, "I'm sorry, my mom needs me home," or something similar. It's a good tactic for a teenager... but is it just as good as an adult, or a wife?

Suddenly, in those moments where the friend asked me if my husband was “allowed” to go, something inside me snapped. Well, maybe I snapped. I said rather haughtily, “Am I Daren?! Why don’t you go ask him?!” Sure, there are times when the person on the other end of the telephone hears (at the cable company, for instance), “my wife [insert whatever]” and they will hop to it, and I have no problem with that. But I don’t want a bad rap when it comes to people who really know me.

Because the other part of the truth is that this Bossy Italian Wife makes it known when something isn’t right in the world. If I don’t want my husband to do something, boy oh boy will I let him know. And then it’s up to him to decide how to react to the given situation and what choice he will make from there. Though I am bossy, I am not without options.

I just say what is I want and I hope for the best.... but it takes a strong man to deal with a strong woman (and vice versa!) So the give and take must, in fact, include a give and take. I don't ever want to take the option of choice from my husband... even if he says I have!

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