Control Issues

QUESTION: I'm a strong, married, black woman who is used to being in control and taking control. Sometimes, I think my husband forgets that I like to be treated as a woman and need romance and feminine things done for me, like holding doors open, letting me order first at restaurants, surprising me with flowers. I sometimes feel that I got better treatment when I was the girlfriend than when I became the wife. I know that my "take charge" personality probably contributes to this problem, but I was used to being on my own and handling things by myself for several years before we got together. What can I do to compromise and maintain my independence while learning to let my husband take control of things sometimes?

GARLAND: I'm glad to see that you recognize that some of your husbands shortcomings in the area of gentlemanly romance may be the result of your "take charge" personality. That's not to totally excuse him from his duties though, but it plays a part.

He's probably gotten so used to you opening your own doors and doing the little things that you'd wish he would do, that things are just the way they are between you. Normal. Once something gets set in motion, it tends to stay in motion. That is until it meets an irresistable force. In this case, the old "Honey we need to talk..." No five words will stop a man in his tracks faster!!!

I think for this question, the answer should be - just talk to him. If he's your husband, he's probably already proven to be a decent guy - just talk to him one night over dinner, be straight forward and cool about it and I'm pretty certain, he'll come right around for you. Good Luck!

Chuck: This sounds like you want to have things both ways. Clearly, you relish your role as a strong, take-charge kind of woman. But you also want to reserve the right to be feminine and vulnerable and be romanced. Don't get me wrong. You're not wrong for wanting to have things both ways. But don't expect your husband to automatically know when those times are when you want to relinquish your control.

Roles tend to be set early in relationships. Who takes out the trash, who sleeps on which side of the bed, whether the toilet seat is going to be up or down. And like so many other things in life, once you're labeled a certain way, it's hard to change the way people think of you. Trust me, I know. You may be a victim of your husband accepting you a certain way, and failing to see you any other way.

Since you haven't stated differently, I'm going to presume that your husband loves and respects you otherwise. If you haven't already, make your concerns known to him. And if he should neglect to come around, or fail to hold doors, etc., call it to his attention. But not in a nagging way. God knows men don't want to be nagged. He might surprise you.

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