What I Wish Every Controlled Wife Knew

Dear Mrs. Dunbar:

I recently read an article your husband wrote titled, "Why I Won't Let My Wife Quit Her Job." I immediately wanted to write some choice words to your husband. But I instead decided that you were the person to whom I should direct my response.

First, I'm sorry.

Really. I'm sorry you have a husband who feels the need to make you work out of the house even when you don't want or need to. You are not an inmate. You are a woman. Nowadays women have choices. Many women love to work and many women love to stay home. And there are many women who wish they had the choice but don't due to financial obligations. But I am saddened that you don't have a choice because of a controlling husband.

If you were desperate to get out of the house and wanted to work for your own benefit, I would support you 100 percent. Working outside the home can be a wonderful choice -- one that I have made. But to work because your husband can't stand to see you become "stagnant" is not OK. Women who stay at home don't necessarily become dull and sluggish. This would definitely be surprising to your husband, but many women find raising their children can be quite stimulating and rewarding. And hard.

I am sorry Mr. Dunbar feels staying home to raise children is fine for some women but he wants "better" for you. In my opinion, better for you would be to have a husband who feels your voice is equal to his when it comes to making decisions about your life. If you don't need the money and you don't want to work, why would his opinion matter more than yours? As he is so quick to point out, he makes more than enough for the family (Congrats, Mr. Dunbar. We are very proud of you.)

I am sorry your husband diminishes the happiness he sees when you are with your kids. Even though he admits your happiness at work is second to the joy your feel with your kids, he still wants to take you away from your greatest joy. I am sorry he has "expectations" for you that are about him and his fears instead of about your dreams and your goals.

I am sorry your husband not only needs to control you and what you do, but also needs to tell the world. His column wasn't about you -- it was all about him.

I am sorry you didn't find a good lawyer to sue the employer that overlooked you for promotions because of a potential maternity leave. That's illegal and fighting back might have made you feel empowered. Oh, wait. Your husband wouldn't want that.

Please tell your husband that your daughter can still be president, whether you stay home or not. Rather, here's the best way to make sure she never chases her dreams: Teach her submissiveness. Teach her that following a man's wishes trumps following her own. Teach her to yield to the voices of others.

Actually, you don't need to teach her any of that. Your husband's doing fine on his own.

If my friends thought I was a jerk, I might take some time to evaluate why. Instead of doing that, your husband is digging in his heels. Your friends have tried to talk to him. You expressed your reservations and wishes to no avail. I recommend a good therapist for you both to help put you on equal footing with your husband. Whatever you do, don't feel trapped. Don't be controlled. And don't lose your own voice. Get help.

A version of this blog previously appeared at The Family Coach.