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Do Wives Live by a Double Standard, and Is That Okay Because They Are Vulnerable Victims? Part 1

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Some women live by a double standard which discourages and defeats some husbands and sons.

Strong and Independent!

For instance, we hear some women exclaim, “In my marriage, I am strong and independent.” But what if the husband were to declare, “In relationship to my wife, I am strong and independent!”? Many women would find that language repulsive.

Why can women use this but men cannot?

Because there is a double standard.

Started More Businesses

Recently, I saw a commercial on television that announced that women have started more businesses than men. But what if a commercial came on television (and there will be no such commercial) announcing that more men than women started businesses? Certain feminists would riot over such a broadcast.

A double standard.

A Woman Can Do Better

We’ve all heard the adage, “What a man can do, a woman can do better.” What would be the culture’s reaction to hearing “What a woman can do, a man can do better”? Certain groups would be up in arms.

A double standard.

What’s the Point?

Am I arguing that women should not be strong and independent? Am I suggesting women should not start businesses? And, is it inappropriate to point out that in many areas what a man can do, women can do better?


My mom was strong and independent.

My mom started three businesses.

My dad would say there were many things that he did that Mom did better.

Mom was incredible and in today’s world could have led a corporation as CEO.

Instead, I am highlighting a double standard that confuses some husbands and will definitely confuse our young sons who will see men and women as equal but women getting a pass for having attitudes that when manifested in men are condemned as self-centered arrogance.

An E-mail from a Confused and Hurting Husband

Recently, a husband e-mailed me: "My wife relishes the fact that she is a 'strong independent woman.’ We are a blended family and I love my wife dearly. . . . We joined our lives in 2013 and combined accounts and everything else. I took care of the bills (to her request) and did a fine job.

(However) I questioned her on an issue dealing with her teenage son about the timing of getting his braces. This among some issues of the blending of the family drove her to separate out our accounts. It is a year later and she has no intention of joining our accounts. She keeps claiming that I do not like that she is fully "independent." She also does not like telling me where she is going, does not want me to be a ‘step-dad’ to the kids (as they already have a dad they see every other weekend).

I am very hurt by this as it is again a separation move by her. It is not about the money to me. I am the majority earner in our family. To me, it’s about trust, becoming one with another person. When I married my wife I wanted the two to become one. That is not to say for her or I to lose our individuality but the two shall become one. Right now there is no way to plan for retirement together or plan for the future. We can't even pay bills effectively as she pays some bills and I have to ask daily what she has paid. She is very happy with her taking care of her kids and me taking care of mine. This drives me insane. I hate the way she has forced us to live."

A Wife’s Rights Versus the Husband’s Same Rights

Does a wife have a right to be independent like this? Let me answer that with a question: Does a husband have a right to be independent like this?

What would you think if the wife complained, "We can't even pay bills effectively as he pays some bills and I have to ask daily what he has paid”?

What would you feel if the husband decided to separate the accounts when questioned by his wife, declared that he needed to be appreciated as fully independent, expressed that he did not like being asked where he was going, and asked his wife to stop being a step-mom to his kids?

Many gals would feel disgust about this mistreatment of a wife. They would label this husband as abusive. But how many would label a wife as abusive for doing such things?


No doubt, many would find themselves more empathetic toward the wife in a situation like this than they would toward the husband who actually said this.

A double standard.

Are You Suspicious of Men and Husbands?

Do you default to the feeling that there has to be a dark-sided backstory here about this creepy husband that he is not voicing in his e-mail? Would you speculate that this is about him emotionally and financially suffocating his wife?

Do you believe that he has not reported that he demands that she do everything he tells her to do in the home but disguises this under the false umbrella of oneness?

Bottom line, do you tend to trust women but are suspicious of men?

Are Women Always Vulnerable Victims?

Is it your belief that women are the more vulnerable and so have a right to say and do certain things that a husband has no right to say or do? For example, do these women have a right to promote their right to be independent and strong since they are victims? Do they have a right to broadcast they have started more businesses than men because they have been suppressed and oppressed so long? And, do they have a right to declare, “What a man can do, a woman can do better”?

Some of this is tongue-in-cheek humor but do our sons get the humor?

It raises the question: do some adhere to the idea that because many women have been dependent and subservient, therefore they fully approve of a wife’s statement “I am strong and independent” to even the score? Because some adhere to the idea that men have been independent and dominate, do they readily approve of the profile that men are narcissistic and chauvinistic for saying, “I am strong and independent”?

Where do we go from here?

In part 2, we will get into the unintended results of maintaining these double standards and how understanding and communicating the message of 1 Peter 3:7 is key to guiding a couple through a wife’s desire to be strong and independent yet loved as the more vulnerable partner.

-Dr. E

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider

  1. Why would most women find it repulsive to hear a man say, “In relationship to my wife, I am strong and independent”? Why are most okay to hear a woman say that?
  2. Emerson wrote that this double standard “will definitely confuse our young sons who will see men and women as equal but women getting a pass for having attitudes that when manifested in men are condemned as self-centered arrogance.” Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
  3. What was your initial reaction to reading the e-mail from the husband whose wife was doing all she could to be strong and independent in their marriage, to the point of separating their accounts and responsibilities? Why do you think you felt this way?
  4. How does society’s overall tendency to trust women but be suspicious of men help lead to this double standard? Is this fair to the goodwilled men trying to lead their families?