Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Uncontrollable Couple


Recently, husband-ji came to me and said that he wanted to try sky-diving with his cousin. My first reaction in my brain was: "What the hell! You are a father! What if you die? What if you leave me widowed? What if you get paralyzed for life? What if your parachute doesn't work?"

Luckily, I came to my senses and realized that he had probably more of a chance of getting into a car accident than doing sky-diving. And that he would have so much fun with his cousin. And that it would be an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience. And that just because we are parents, doesn't mean we don't deserve to have any fun. And that it was something he wanted to do for himself, so I should just support it 100%.

So, I snapped out of it and said, "sure, I think it would be a great idea! Just be careful, that's all..." and encouraged him to do it. 

One of the things that I love about our relationship is that we never try to control each other. If he really wants to do something, I support him. If I want to do something, he supports me. That is the only way our relationship stays light and healthy - because there is an absence of control. We trust each other, and even if one doesn't understand something, it doesn't mean it's not right for the other person. When you try to control your spouse, it is showing a lack of respect and trust for their unique personhood, decisions and judgement.

It's not MY job to try to control my husband. He is his own person, with his own dreams. He is an adult who can make his own decisions. However, it IS my job to love him for who he is.

When you don't control your spouse, they will respect you more. If you try to control them, they will either rebel or grow to resent you. It's all about loving people for who they are rather than forcing them to fit into a box that suits only you. I have seen both male and female spouses do this - wives controlling their husband's every move; husband's controlling their wives - it never ends well. If they do indeed stay together, they are chronically unhappy. All because of control. When a person is not allowed to shine or be visible in their own right, they will get severely depressed and may even feel claustrophobic.


Just like my reaction to skydiving, writing/reading is something that husband-ji doesn't necessarily understand. He hates reading and writing, since the only books he was forced to study in India were boring textbooks. He looks at me reading books for hours on end and can't understand how I enjoy it. He views reading and writing as something very stressful. Literally, he gets stressed out over writing a simple birthday card! To me, writing is a life force, and something so essential to my being. If I have a moment to myself, you will always find me writing. When my future bestselling book comes out, I know he will not read it (although I'm sure he will help me with the cover design!).

Many people will always say to husband-ji "are you okay with Alexandra's blog?" as if I need permission from him to display my feelings or creative talent. He always says, "She can write whatever she wants in her blog, I support her." People always seem so shocked by this. The fact that he is not threatened by this - and essentially - me. The fact that he is basically letting me run wild with it, and that he wholly supports that, even if he doesn't understand it. 

He knows that he can't control me, nor would he want to. And vice versa.



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Dear readers, do you notice that a lot of other couples try to control each other?
Have you ever been in a controlling relationship? If so, how did it make you feel?
Do you think it is healthy to NOT try to control your spouse?

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14 comments

  1. I am not sure how people in relationship would deal controlling part per se, but the initial thoughts you had about skydiving are some what similar to mine.. when my brother announced that he would want to make sky diving a hobbie..but I encouraged him despite my fight in the head.

    Controlling in any relationship has negative impact if not put in right perspective. I have never really appreciated any controlling unless there was some logical and real concern involved.

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    1. Yes, exactly...there should be some logical discussion, at least it keeps the dialogue open!

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  2. So mature for one so young, you will be an inspiration to many.....its amazing how much of life's truths you already know:-)

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  3. You r a true shiv parvati power duo, I think u know the allusion. They say that for a couple to remain strong, u literally have to worship ur other half...without compromising on ur own strengths. , and vice versa....more power to u

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  4. My husband and I function like you guys. We give each other space, have our own hobbies and just enjoy togetherness on our own terms.

    Over the years I had friends being puzzled that my husband still get to enjoy nights out with the guys. As in "How can you allow him to go out for drinks like that?" Puzzled. It never really occurred to me that I was the one to give him permission for such things really. I like my outings with the girls as much as he enjoy is guys outings.
    He never stopped me from going out with friends. Why should I?

    I also got some people asking me quite shocked if my husband approved of my going out alone to go shopping. You know, because I am a SAHM and since I ear no income my husband has a say over my entire existence it seems.
    It never occurred to us to see it that way. We always saw each other as a team, it just appear that he is going out to an office, get paid for his work while I don't. But he always thought of my contribution to our family as work, because let's face it it is work.

    I have faced these puzzling comments both from my family and friends in Europe who are belonging to a western culture, and my Indian friends. It seems that worldwide, women and men are still supposed to play kind of "control game" and that it is widely accepted as a norm.

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    1. It is so true. When I meet other couples I am absolutely floored when their spouse's forbid things - like how old are we? And we're talking about harmless, silly things!

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  5. Everybody needs to read this and understand this, including parents who want to control adult children to the core.

    Dear readers, do you notice that a lot of other couples try to control each other?
    I haven't had many opportunities to spy other couples lately but I do know that nobody likes being controlled too much.

    Have you ever been in a controlling relationship? If so, how did it make you feel?
    I am total anti control. The moment someone tries to make me do something without a logic, I don't want to do it and swing to the other side. Controlling relationships don't go down well with me.

    Do you think it is healthy to NOT try to control your spouse?
    It is not healthy to control spouses or friends or relationships. People always do what they wanna do. One can only nudge them or discuss but over controlling is a recipe for a disaster. However, this has to go both ways. It works only when both the partners do not control each other.

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    1. Absolutely...especially parents - the kids will always rebel!

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  6. I think your relationship sounds ideal. I agree with the approach in principle, but I think the problem arises when what the other person wants clashes with something you believe in strongly. For example, when the husband, then fiance, decided he wanted to move to HK for work, I was like go for it. It didn't happen, but when the opportunity came up again, I had moved cities to be nearer him and we were not in a good place, and this time I felt it wasn't the right thing for him to do and I said so. But he insisted, and the move to Hong Kong was in the long run good for us, but I still feel justified in expressing my feelings that it was also not good for us, if that makes any sense.

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    1. That is a really hard choice - especially with moves, it is usually one spouse relocating for the other!

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  7. My husband & I don't really ask permission of each other to do things either.
    Although he insists on going shopping with me. I think I've been shopping by myself maybe 3 times in the last 5 yrs. I don't think it's a matter of being controlling though. One thing I had to learn is that Indians show love by doing things for their loved ones- so in his mind he's doing something for me & showing love.
    I'd rather shop by myself though- he gets cranky when I'm only about halfway done shopping so we have to do an emergency Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, or McD's break or he'll have a toddler like meltdown. Fast food's good for something!

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    1. My hubby is like that too - he is big on "acts of service" love language. He is a major shopper, but he has no patience for me when I'm in Sephora or a bookstore! Those ones I have to do alone ;)

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