Both husbands and wives can behave in ways that unintentionally undermine their marriages. The first part of this series examined what wives needed from their husbands, why husbands fail to lead, and why then wives take on the primary leadership role. This second part explores why women pick submissive men and why certain men choose dominant women. In some cases, women have a dominant personality that is reflected in all her relationships including her marriage. Picking a submissive husband allows a wife to continue acting comfortably on her natural tendencies. Unfortunately, what at first appears as a mutually agreed upon distribution of control ends up with the women disrespecting her man, because a wife has difficulty respecting a husband whom she can control.
F eminists have long derided marriage as a paternalistic institution that oppresses women. A recent study, however, suggests that the modern wife not only has greater decision-making power than her mother and grandmother, but she has more than her own husband. They asked each spouse to name a relationship problem that required cooperation from the other to solve, and then videotaped the two working to resolve the problem. Researchers carefully evaluated the interchanges to determine who was making the most demands, who was withdrawing or avoiding the issues, who was dominating and who was giving in. The results may not surprise many people: They only confirm the marital dynamic present in every sitcom on television. But they did somewhat surprise the researchers, simply because they defied predictions that men had greater power within marriage. The abstract of the study, which appeared in the April issue of the quarterly Journal of Counseling Psychology, reads,.