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Dr Ellen Kreidman - Marriage Counselor
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My husband always gets his own way

Dear Dr. Ellen,
How do I get control of my life without letting my husband control or rule me. I am too emotionally in love with him and as a result, I give in to all his desires and wants. Even if I am not too happy with all of his decisions, I still do what he wants me to do. How can I change that?
- Veronica

Dear Veronica,
It is an awful feeling to give up who you are in order to make someone else happy. I know you don't want to, "rock the boat," or "make waves," but in a good relationship that's exactly what you have to do.

Wouldn't it be better if we fell in love with someone who was exactly like us, had the same personality, interests, likes and dislikes? Absolutely not! Do you know why? Because we're all on this journey called life in order to learn and grow. You learn nothing when you're always in complete agreement with another person. Conflict leads to growth. It does not have to lead to divorce. Most men and women feel that conflict or problems means that the relationship isn't working. I believe that a relationship cannot work UNLESS there are problems and conflicts. Your husband may feel that he should make all the decisions, but it's up to you to teach him differently. If you stand up for what you believe and want, yes, there will be conflict. But there will also be growth, compromise and respect for each other.

Your husband can only learn to be more tender and understanding by getting a negative reaction to his behavior when he acts like a dictator. I've heard so many women say, "I gave up everything for that man, I did everything I could to please him, and he left me." Of course these men eventually leave! When you give up everything, you give up yourself! Nobody wants to be with a sponge or parasite, or even worse, a "nothing." When you give up you, you cease to exist.

The next time you feel that you are living with a dictator instead of a partner because he hasn't asked for your opinion, clearly state your feelings and then stick to them. The key to standing your ground without inciting a riot is to use "I" statements instead of "You" statements.

For example, "I want to be included in this decision," instead of, "You never include me in anything." Here's another example. "I don't agree with what you want to do, so we'll have to discuss this further and come up with some sort of compromise" instead of "you are wrong and making a big mistake."

"I" statements take responsibility for your feelings. "You" statements always attack the other person. The first time you tell your mate how you feel, you may be told that you're stupid or ridiculous for feeling that way. Your obligation is to stand behind your feelings. You can respond by saying, "It may be ridiculous or stupid to you, but it's the way I feel." Your husband may become angry and withdrawn for a few days, but eventually he'll come around. This new behavior on your part will earn his respect in the long run.
- Dr. Ellen




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