Instead of “My” start saying “Our”
During our engagement, I made a conscious effort to include my fiancé in our wedding preparations. Perhaps the TV show “Bridezilla” motivated me to not be a complete control freak, but deeper down, I also really wanted his opinion! I was already halfway through my counseling training when we met and fell in love, so I understood the importance of healthy communication in marriage. I knew this wasn’t my wedding. It was our wedding.
I know the casual jokes about brides doing everything and grooms simply showing up for the ceremony, but what message does that send about your future husband? That he doesn’t care? That he’s too lazy or ill-qualified to have an opinion? Sure, a girl dreams about a wedding her entire life, but what’s more important. . . the wedding or the future relationship? If I am droning on about the same message, it’s for good reason. If a fiancé isn’t trusted with wedding details, will you carry on that superiority into your marriage? Will you push him aside in the future and continue creating the pattern of his un-involvement?
The destructive element is “my.”
As women habitually use “my” to describe areas that are off-hands to their husbands, the underlying message is “You can’t help. You are not good enough. You are not smart enough. You are too incapable.” My house. My kitchen. My kids. In my opinion, that’s the biggie – my kids.
Think about it this way: when you use the phrase “my kids,” you are figuratively putting up a fence between your husband and his kids. He subtly hears that he is no longer necessary now that he’s impregnated you and you’ve birthed the baby. “Hit the road Dad, I don’t need your services anymore.” Am I being hard on women – yes! But please allow me to share this advice as a marriage counselor – because I don’t hear this speech coming from husbands about the kids. Sometimes men assert authority on the garage, yard, or house, but I wonder if they are just trying to maintain some thread of dignity from the daily reminders of their inferiority.
Think back. Do you use these phrases with your spouse:
“Don’t you know my kids’ schedules?”
“Take good care of my son out there.”
“I need to feed my kids.”
“I know what my kids need.”
“You did what with my kids?”
Instead of “my,” try using the “our.” This reinforces a unified parental front and reminds your spouse that his position as a father is equal to your position as a mother. When parents feel a sense of teamwork, each one also feels more appreciated and understood. Balance is better maintained, and burdens are shared. “Our” goes a long way towards nurturing a fulfilling marriage.