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Boss’s wife wonders: ‘Hey! Who made you the boss of me?’

by on
in Your Office Coach

Question:  “At work, my husband is the boss. Everyone in his office thinks he is The Man. He also coaches a softball team, and his players think he’s the greatest. The problem is that when he comes home, he continues to act like a boss. How do I get him to stop this?”  —A Wife, Not a Worker

Answer:  People often establish reciprocal relationships. Your husband can only assume the role of “boss” if you take the corresponding role of “employee.”  So start by examining your own reactions.

If you submissively comply when he issues a command, you are reinforcing his autocratic tendencies. And if you protest or pout, but eventually give in, the result is the same.

To get your marriage on a more equal footing, you need to renegotiate the terms. But instead of becoming critical or angry, use “I-statements” to introduce the subject.  

For example: "I've realized that I’ve been passively going along with many things I really don't want to do. I’d like us to have the kind of relationship where we can discuss problems and make decisions together. Can we talk about this?"

You may choose different words, but the point is to explain your feelings, not expound upon his flaws. You want to have a productive problem-solving discussion, not an argument.

If you can become more assertive, your husband may gradually learn to be less directive.  Sometimes the best way to change other people is to first change ourselves.

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