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“happy wife, happy life”

 
pollinator
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I have developed an attitude to this statement that has not always been popular!
My issue is simply in these modern days of equality, such an attitude is out of place.
I ask women who quote it to me, 'Why are you not responsible for your own happiness?", "why is it somebody elses responsibility to keep you happy?"
I challenge men , with, "why are you taking responsibility?"
If I am cornered I will ask,"whats it like living with a partner who cannot make any decisions unless the suit you?"
What do others think of my attitude?
Is it an OK approach in todays world of equality?
 
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Funny you should mention this. I just yesterday saw a short video where a woman was standing by her husband and said with much, even sarcastic, attitude, "Happy wife, happy life? I don't think so!" and her husband gave her a puzzled look. Then her tone completely changed and calmed down and she said, "Happy wife, happy husband, happy life. Because if only one person is happy, it's not a happy life."

I liked that.
 
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I think it all comes down to temperament again.

To highlight from my favorite personality typing system (Myers-Briggs):
Some husbands are natural-born pleasers and harmonizers (like my ISFP husband). If I am not happy about something, because of who he is, he becomes very troubled about that, and seeks to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. (Lucky me!)

That being so, it makes this phrase more relevant to him, than to, say, a close ISTJ male relative, who happens to be married to a "pleaser," and she always thinks "Happy husband, happy life."
 
John C Daley
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The issue I particularly have is when it is always 'one sided', I think its an unhealthy situation.
As for people pleasers, they create their own issues regularly.
 
Rachel Lindsay
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John C Daley wrote:As for people pleasers, they create their own issues regularly.



I would laugh in agreement--except that the observation is a bit melancholy! I have observed the trueness of this more times than I can count, and it's such a shame, because they are dear, sweet people. Their Achilles' heel is so unfortunate (and ironic)!
 
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I much prefer 'happy spouse, happy house'. Regardless of who assumes responsibility, if both partners are not happy, neither will be. If one is depressed, angry, anxious, elated, happy, grieving, sad... the other *will* be affected. That said, it's neither my responsibility to "make" him happy, nor his, to "make" me happy. We both, however, do what we can (mostly, lol), to try not to make the other miserable, or give them cause for feeling bad. We're all human. We all unintentionally do things that drive our partners bat-shit crazy, at times, and hopefully, more often, we try to do things to put smiles on the faces we love.

Happy spouse; happy house!
 
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I much prefer Carla's version!!

To me the "happy wife" thing always seems to imply some choosing of sides or tit-for-tat permissions or privileges, which always leaves me scratching my head.  
You figure, no matter who you or your partner are, you hopefully are there by choice. Why not choose to enjoy it.... together?
That said, when the kids were younger and things were harder our lives were indeed full of transactions, privileges, and there was a bit of tit-for-tat; the people I hear use this phrase do seem a bit younger, maybe that's where they're at.
Now that we are hitting our stride and have more time together (empty nest) we're enjoying each other's company more.
Happy pair, happy lair?
(if you can come up with a rhyme for couple, have at it....)
 
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The fact that this sentiment/saying still exists and persists is probably evidence that we haven't reached gender equality, in whatever form that takes, quite yet.
 
master pollinator
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So, on the one hand, I'm happier when my wife is happier, so it captures a real and vital essence of my existence. On the other, the one-sided nature of the phrase reflects a time when patriarchy was a much stronger current in society, so it feels gross and dated.

Some of the comments up-thread about personal responsibility for happiness seem entirely hollow to me. My wife and I rely on each other for augmented happiness and I don't accept that it's a dysfunctional relationship. I think we build each other up that way.
 
Carla Burke
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Tereza Okava wrote:I much prefer Carla's version!!

To me the "happy wife" thing always seems to imply some choosing of sides or tit-for-tat permissions or privileges, which always leaves me scratching my head.  
You figure, no matter who you or your partner are, you hopefully are there by choice. Why not choose to enjoy it.... together?
That said, when the kids were younger and things were harder our lives were indeed full of transactions, privileges, and there was a bit of tit-for-tat; the people I hear use this phrase do seem a bit younger, maybe that's where they're at.
Now that we are hitting our stride and have more time together (empty nest) we're enjoying each other's company more.
Happy pair, happy lair?
(if you can come up with a rhyme for couple, have at it....)



Happy pair, happy lair is awesome! I honestly think 'happy wife, happy life', and similarly, 'if mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!' in the context I often hear it, hints or insinuates that said wife/mama tends toward shrewishness. The sentiment often seems to grumble, "if I don't spoil and pamper her, she makes my life miserable". I find it insulting, when read/said that way. As Christopher said, we rely on each other. I fully believe that both parties in a couple are best served, and happiest, when each makes a full effort to meet the needs and desires of the other. I don't even see it as a ' 50/50' relationship thing, because to me, that indicates that someone is keeping score. Both of us try hard to give 100% of our hearts & ourselves to our relationship. Obviously, sometimes 100% of what we have to give doesn't equal to even 50% of what's needed, but if it's all we've got to give, in the moment, and we both know we are both doing our best, it's easier to accept and be understanding - without keeping score.
 
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