Your Wife Is Not, or Shouldn’t Be, Your Boss

Matt Walsh writes about the tired phrase husbands use when they say they “gotta check with the boss.” 

Ladies, imagine this scenario: it’s lunchtime at the office. You and some female coworkers are gathered around the wobbly table in the break room. One of you comes up with the idea to get together after work for a drink and a bite to eat. Immediately, one of the gals in the group pulls out her cell phone. “Alright, let me ask the boss.”

Another: “Gotta check with the man in charge.”

Still another: “I don’t know if my husband will let me, but I’ll ask. [Giggles] You know, the boss runs a tight ship.”

You probably haven’t witnessed this scene. American women would never publicly (or privately) refer to their husbands as “the boss,” but follow me into this absurd hypothetical anyway.

So what’s wrong with this situation, other than its utter lack of realism?

Is it that these women are checking in with their spouses? Is it their reflex to consult with their husbands before making this decision? No, of course not. If they’re going to be coming home from work late, they ought to speak with their husbands first.

Alright, then what’s the problem?

“Boss.” The man “in charge.” He’s my “boss.” Not only would you be disgusted by these words, you’d likely assume that the women who said them must be married to abusive, demanding tyrants. Their language choice would make them seem pitiful and their husbands seem despicable. Right?

Well, then maybe you can understand my repulsion when this precise spectacle unfolds among men across the country, millions of times a day. Men often use the “boss” label when referencing their wives. I realize this is sometimes said in partial jest. Sometimes it’s meant ironically. Usually it’s a weak attempt at male bonding. “My wife bosses me around and runs the house, I bet yours is the same way. Let’s commiserate with one another.” But it should stop. Some of you veteran married dudes might not realize it, but younger guys are taking this “my wife is the boss” schtick to heart. And that’s not a good thing for anyone, least of all the women they’re marrying.

Click here to read the entire blog post.

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21 Responses to Your Wife Is Not, or Shouldn’t Be, Your Boss

  1. Schala says:

    Isn’t the post very conservative?

    Men have a duty to lead? Gorean fiction, here I come. No slavery, but still. Gender roles should be done away with imo.

    “She told me about her own prize catch; he wakes up at around 11 AM to play video games, meanwhile she brings their two sons to church. Something tells me this is the sort of guy who would call his wife “the boss.” After all, she is the boss — and something else tells me she’d love it if she didn’t have to be. I’m betting she wouldn’t feel at all insulted if her spouse woke up early next Sunday, put on some church clothes, got the kids dressed, and said, “honey, I want to take the lead.””

    Did the author think the man might not care one bit about going to church? I certainly don’t. I’d rather my eventual/potential children never go in one either. At least not as minors following their parents without having a say about it. Maybe he prefers videogames. I sure do.

    And leading ain’t my thing. I’ll do it if I really really have to, but whenever I got someone suitable to do it for me, I’ll let them. It’s not like its a female imperative to hand over the lead to someone, it’s just not in me – nothing biological about it.

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  3. Indy1 says:

    Whipped men always refer to their oppressor as “the Boss”. Don’t be repulsed…they are being very accurate.

  4. Homple says:

    Back before the agency name was changed to a euphemism, the husbands’ phrase was “I’ll have to check with the War Department”.

  5. There are three issues here, across the map.
    One is thousands of years of tradition. The general rule in traditional Western culture, and the tribes that made it up prior to that, was that women ran everything inside the walls of the home and men ran everything outside. The exception was the farm property close to the house and required for daily food intake, such as chicken coops, gardens, and so on. Also note that kitchens were often separate from the house because they burned down so often, so if you get the image of the wife at home in the kitchen, rethink that a bit.
    The second is what I call Ken Doll Syndrome. Much is made of men not growing up, but many women are just as infantile. I call it this because they grew up playing with dolls, and Barbie came home, and Ken did whatever she thought he should do the instant she thought he should do it and NEVER varied from that course. When the man-child gets out of his parent’s basement and marries the woman-child, neither one’s doll-house is all it’s cracked up to be. That tapping foot is not the adult woman’s disappointment with her “first child”, but an equally immature woman’s response to someone not doing what her dolls did when she was five.
    The third is the girl who was raised on glamour magazines and third-generation feminists who is told that she must have everything she wants instantly and if she doesn’t, it’s a man’s fault. Combine this with the last scraps of the first rule and the protracted terrible twos of the second, and the third is absolutely lethal. I can site too many examples, but the short version is that if a woman decides things and doesn’t listen, a man will shut down one way or another – he will either stop thinking for himself, or he will stop communicating with her what he does think. Marriage to someone like that is mental suicide, and by extension, career and personal suicide.

  6. Rob Kenson says:

    Is it OK for me to say, “blow me, skank enablers”?

  7. matt johnson says:

    A boss is someone that at a car accident says you do this I’ll do that. In other word’s, someone that does what needs to be done whether they want to do it or not. It’s all about taking charge of what ever situation you face.

  8. Robert Scott says:

    You prove perfectly the point he makes in the article. Don’t like church? So take the kids to Boy Scouts or a lecture at the museum pr whatever it is that you think will bnefit them. Instead, you’re implicitly defending the guy who gives up, disengages, and indulges his fantasies on the couch while his wife takes the lead in imparting her values to the kids.

    Thats not leadership or defiance or anything of the sort. It’s infantile avoidance.

  9. matt johnson says:

    Just for the record, I do check in with my wife. It’s the right thing to do, to be sure you’re not messing up plans that you didn’t know about, or conveniently forgot. Happy wife, happy home!

    • Yes, checking in to see if plans have already been made makes sense. Course that’s more like “seeing if you’re available” than it is seeing if you’re “allowed” to go. Some of this is just semantics, of course. :)

  10. Hannah Jay says:

    Good Heavens, we have a female led marriage (look it up) but I would be very annoyed at my husband if he “checked in”. He is a wonderfully trustworthy, fully functioning, alpha adult male. If I wanted a little boy…oh wait, I have two.

    Interesting men are independent. Out there hunting. As they should be.

  11. Even if women SAY they want to be the boss, they most likely really don’t. Remember Rule #1, never believe what a woman says, watch what she DOES.
    True Story: My wife and I before marriage go to my church and take a marriage compatibility, personality test. We score a 90% overall. Pastor was very pleased but said our one area of disagreement was in regards to how the household should be run. Her answers indicated she wanted a 50/50 partnership, my answers said I wanted to run the ship with her as my first mate. I politely told the Pastor we would work on that. At this point I knew my soon to be wife well enough to know she wanted to be lead. She can’t even pick a restaurant to go to 99.9% of the time. So I blazed on with a benevolent dictatorship and we have a very happy marriage.

  12. The Dude says:

    A woman wrote this article, and she doesn’t appear to understand why men, across cultures, say things like this. Most men care about their wives. When they refer to her as “the boss”, it is a term of endearment. Of course they could go out drinking with the guys any time he likes, but a good man will care that his wife is at home alone. Women also typically reciprocate. Sure, there are crappy relationships, but calling your wife “the boss” or “the home minister” and so forth is not a symptom of a crappy relationship. Lighten up, please.

  13. timmcnabb says:

    My wife is not my boss, but I do refer to her from time to time as “she who must be obeyed”. I also will refer to her as “management”.

    In part this is because she is a bit of a bossy-pants, which is why I call her “Bossy-pants” from time to time.

    In my relationship she has a much more defined set of interests and goals for the family, whereas I am a bit looser as it pertains to such things. I am satisfied with how she handles those things, so when it comes to scheduling and events, I defer to her on those things. Existential threats to our well-being are my department, stuff that breaks, stuff that stinks, stuff that is heavy or cost a lot of money. On those occasions, she defers to me.

    Most of the deference goes her way. Happy wife, happy life.

  14. Natalie says:

    A man wrote this article (the Matt Walsh cited at the very top) and understands that in today’s grrrl power oriented society saying that sort of thing sends a much different message than it did 30 or 50 years ago and that men should probably stop saying that sort of thing because it’s largely ceased to be ironically endearing and started becoming sadly veracious.

  15. Grant says:

    I think both “sides” in the comments are overstating things.

    Matt’s article does not imply abuse nor delegitimization of one’s wife. At the same time, it does imply a “I can do whatever I want” attitude. Good luck with that.

    I admit that I joke about my significant other being “the Boss.” And no, she’s not my boss. Sometimes its just an excuse to not do something that I don’t want to really do – a cop out. But sometimes it’s shorthand for saying : “answering this doesn’t impact only me, so let me check with the other person it impacts.” And then you get into interpersonal dynamics.

    Because I am not her boss, and she isn’t mine. And that means that either of us can do whatever we please… but that doing so may have consequences with the other. Those consequences – arguments, hurt feelings, etc., – are weighed against “doing whatever I want.”

    I don’t have final say on any decision, and neither does she. It comes down to how personally important any particular action is to either of us, and how much of the consequences we are willing to impose or take over a disagreement. If my wife was consistently trying to control me by causing too much drama over decisions, the relationship would end. And vice versa. She knowsit, so do I. We are both “Captains: over ourselve, but the reality is that we have to compromise to make the relationship work. And to some extent, that makes the other “the boss.”

  16. Bo Fahs says:

    Happily, the greater number of my friends and acquaintances have a sense of humor. When I say. I’ll have to check with the Boss,” they understand what I mean. What I mean is, “My wife is important to me. I have to see how your event fits into the very happy life we have together; that she won’t be unnecessarily inconvenienced; that I have’t forgotten some prior engagement (which she tracks much better than I); and if she’s willing to assist me in coming up with an excuse to avoid hanging out with you.”

  17. Dean says:

    Happy wife Happy life? That just proves who the boss is in your marriage. I could never live like that.

  18. Pingback: Who’s the boss? God should be. | Shelton's Office

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