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The Abolition Of “Happy Wife, Happy Life”

Because, in short, it sucks.

By Ellen "Jelly" McRaePublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Image created on Canva

“Happy wife, happy life, right?”

Um, no.

If I hear one of the husbands I know say this one more time, I might actually smack in the back of the head.

They have it so wrong.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, and haven’t heard this phrase before this is a line frequently used by both husbands and wives. Of all genders, by the way. It’s to describe the way the husband treats their wife.

The theory goes that if you keep your wife happy, then you will live a happy life.

If you do what they want, what they say, you make sure they always get their way, then you have a happy relationship.

It’s the secret to success; keep the wife happy and everything will be fine.


It’s not just men saying this about their women. A couple I know, two women, have said this too. One is the wife, assuming that role at marriage, and the other treats her with this same attitude.

You would think the concept is already dead, right? In a woke world, in a time where equality is at the forefront of our life more than the past has dictated, how do we still have ‘happy wife, happy life?’

Yet it’s alive and strong. And I had my way, we would never say it again.

Are husbands ok never getting what they want?

I’m sure those who say this line will declare they often get what they want. They don’t always give in to their wife’s every whim and fancy.

It’s not as exaggerated as the line seems.

But at some point in your relationship, you aren’t getting what you want and you’re telling the world that.

Is that something you’re ok to live with?

Can you sustain this attitude for the rest of your life, where you put someone else ahead of your needs, wants, and desires?

If you say yes, I don’t believe you.

Preview of coming attraction: manipulative wife

This attitude is systemic. Once you’ve declared your wife is in control, goodbye to any opinion or say you have about your relationship.

You have opened the door to them being able to do whatever they want, because “happy wife, happy life” and all.

This is the attitude, the values of your relationship. And this value system comes with consequences.

With this attitude, your partner doesn’t even need to consult you on ideas, events, issues in your relationship because they know what you’re going to say and do. You won’t argue with them. You will agree with them. Blindly.

And once someone has worked out this is how you will react, don’t think they won’t exploit it.

Subconsciously, they will take advantage of this in times when they really need you to shut up and agree with them.

Perhaps that’s giving people too much credit. They often know you’re a pushover and take advantage of you anyway.

Even if they love you, care about you, consider you their best friend, it doesn’t stop them from walking all over you when the time is right.

Your wife isn’t actually happy, by the way

Giving in to your wife’s every whim isn’t a guarantee they are happy.

It’s a strange thing to say considering you’re determining your actions based on the idea that they’re happy. But a happy wife doesn’t want a miserable husband.

They especially don’t want a miserable husband who is miserable because of them.

For many, that’s what this motto results in. A happy wife means an unhappy husband, which spirals into an unhappy relationship.

It’s a slippery slope.

Balance? Yeah, that doesn’t exist.

This might sound obvious by now but this attitude towards relationships results in an imbalance of huge proportions.

It might not seem like that at the start when you innocently say it as you order the salad instead of the fries at a restaurant, because that’s what your wife wants.

But as the relationship develops and the wife becomes the decision-maker, there is a shift in your dynamic. You’re no longer respected or valued in the relationship.

You’re along for the ride.

To me, that sounds pretty miserable.

This attitude towards relationships is lazy, by the way. It’s a cop-out for when you don’t want to have a conversation, or don’t want to put the effort into coming to a compromise.

You would rather shut the other person up by doing whatever they say. It’s not exactly a glowing endorsement for your efforts.

Hating husband awaits you

Hey wives, you look like you’re a selfish, mega bitch.

Because you’re sending a message to your partner and to the whole wide world that your partner can’t be happy unless you’re happy.

How self-centered is that?

When you put it that way, when you lay out the meaning, you might find yourself horrified that someone thinks that.

I’m sure you would say how selfless you are and you want your partner to feel happy regardless of your actions. But this line is the ultimate contradiction of those thoughts.

You are saying the complete opposite.

Your husband will eventually resent you. It’s inevitable when you’re the one being put first without meaningful justification. You haven’t deserved boss status, or getting what you want forsaking all other people.

It’s only a matter of time before your husband hates your guts.

It’s a tough pill to swallow if your husband was the one who started it. If those words have never left your lips, you’re the one who ultimately gets blamed for them feeling hard done by.

If you find yourself saying this to your husband, or endorsing this saying as a way of life, tell them to stop it. Abolish it from your relationship before the situation spirals out of control.

Impossible standards await

And if you decide this whole happy wife, happy life thing is working for you, and you don’t care about resentment, selfishly you’re headed for inevitable suffering.

This approach to relationships is about setting a standard of behavior. Your partner is always going to support you no matter what. They are always going to indulge your outrageous demands.

You have set a standard of living, a standard of conducting relationships with other people that no one can ever meet.

At some point, what you want can’t happen. You’ve set the expectations too high, and your partner can’t make you happy anymore.

This type of indulgence is what rich people claim to prevent their children from experiencing at a young age. By getting what they want all the time, they don’t value hard work nor do they appreciate how lucky they are.

Your happy wife, happy life scenario is the grown-up equivalent. You’re becoming a spoilt brat.

Happy wife = goodbye relationship, and everything else

What started out as a sweet thing to say to someone, if you’re happy then I’m happy, has turned into a metaphorical nightmare.

Some use it sweetly but don’t live by it. That’s something the world is ok with.

But some people have taken this concept too far, and they’re suffering because their happiness is permanently put second. And people can only survive so long in relationships knowing they aren’t first.

If you let a happy wife, happy life be the motto of your relationship, very soon you won’t have a relationship anymore.

And then what?


About the Creator

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

I’m here to use my wins and losses in #relationships as your cautionary tale | Writes 1LD; Cautionary tale #romance fiction |

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