For the record, I much prefer the phrase “a happy spouse is a happy house.” That said, “a happy wife is a happy life” is the more popular quote so let’s talk about why it’s such an abomination.
I wouldn’t conclude that the above picture says a thousand words, but I can think of a few. Spoiled brat. Manipulative. Wrapped around my finger. You get the point. Except, women for the most part aren’t these things. A happy wife isn’t these things either. In fact, show me a wife that is manipulative or wants to wrap her spouse around her finger, and I’ll show you someone with a lot of internal sorrow and strife inside.
And yet, we say “a happy wife is a happy life” when advising or concluding that wives are to be taken care of or given in to at all costs. Don’t get me wrong, I love spoiling and taking care of my wife, and she to me. That is the key. That is what is missing from the context of these and other “like” phrases ala “you know who’s really in charge” or “let me ask the boss.” Hence, my preferred version of a happy spouse is a happy house. But I digress.
In pop culture and boys club banter, women are very often portrayed as sheepish givers or bitch-like takers when all they really want is an equal partner in an equal relationship. Do you know what else is true? It is easier for men to give women whatever they want than to try and develop a better, more evolved understanding of their wives, needs and all.
Derek’s wife Renita is at Home Goods looking at sheets. Derek’s internal voice is thinking, “do we really need another set of sheets,” but he eventually concludes that a happy wife is a happy life.
Aaron wants to go out with his friends and his wife Lisa wants them to catch-up on some time as a couple. His friends are badgering him for being whipped. His reply to them? “Look man, a happy wife is a happy life.” He chuckles, and they chuckle while replying, “yeah, I know what you mean. This is why I’m never getting married. I don’t need someone keeping me on a leash.”
B.S. Lisa wanting to spend time with Aaron doesn’t mean that she wants to keep him on a leash. It may mean that they have promised to have alone time for awhile and have yet to find the time to make it happen. It could be that she had a really hard week, and Aaron helps her get past the doldrums. If Aaron really knew Lisa, he would understand this, but he doesn’t, and so she’s relegated to being a high-maintenance wife.
Going back to Renita, maybe they do have 25 sheet sets, and this is just another shrimp on the Barbie, so to speak. Maybe she buys sheets like he buys fishing poles. Maybe there is a void in their relationship, and she fills it up by buying stuff. Does he seek to understand? Or, does he simply chalk it up to the happy wife, happy life catch all?
Now, some may argue that Derek and Aaron have both tried to understand their wives better. Maybe they’ve talked until their faces turned blue, and their wives are difficult, all-needing bitches. Doubtful, but maybe. If this were true, a happy wife still does not make a happy life. Why? For starters, Derek and Aaron are not going to be truly happy living in a one-sided marriage. As well, wives (or anyone) that seek one-sided spoils are doing so because they are missing a part of themselves. Translation: They are not truly happy.
Here’s the deal. A happy spouse is a happy house. When both partners are respected, nourished, giving and taking, the happiness will only build upon itself. Every husband should want a happy wife and every wife, a happy husband. Despite this, we continue with the unfair, unhealthy, and stereotypical notion that a wife is not happy unless she is sitting on a throne getting everything she wants from her groveling husband.