Leash vs. Electric Collar: keeping your hubby out of the dog house.

3:07 AM

While visiting Clark's family for Thanksgiving, we got into a bit of an argument. I won't give you all the dirty details, but I can tell you it was about Clark being on a leash.

I have always been a controlling person... with the best intentions, of course. When I was little, tantrums were inevitable when things didn't go my way. As I got older I'm sad to say not much changed.

I was always the leader when I was little. I was picked by the teachers in group projects to make sure things were finished. I assigned what each person would do. In sports I was aggressive and lead the way. At home I lead my little sister around (when she would let me) and told her what we were playing, how we were playing, and what she needed to do.

So, I was a little bossy-know-it-all-control-freak. Yay me!

When I hit 8th grade I lost some of my "confidence". I let myself fall into the background because I was overweight and didn't want the attention. It wasn't until senior year of high school I seized the "power" again. I took control of my life again, and with it came the leadership position in the marching band (drum major), more friends to help with their problems (another sort of control), and I took control of my feelings for Clark (and obviously did a good job, because we've now been married for four years and have a beautiful baby boy).


As I was taking control back, reinventing myself, and getting to know me all over again, Clark and I married. It made it very easy for me to be a major control freak again and Clark got to experience it first hand.

I'm not saying that everything I'm "controlling" is bad, but I am saying I understand how I can be.

Saying that, there were a lot of things that rolled together in a severe avalanche over Thanksgiving and just overtook us both.

So I backed off.

I stopped nagging at Clark about his homework and study time (because it's exam time). I just let him use his time how he saw fit. I stopped asking him to do little things and just asked for two or three things to be done a day "when he had time". I stopped trying to control his time, because I realized that most of it came from me feeling like I don't have control of my time (because Michael does, really).

Clark complained.

We were talking about his homework and how much he had to do, and I let the comment slip.
Me: "Well, why didn't you work on your project now instead of playing your XBox?"

Clark: "Because I forgot about it. You didn't remind me."

Me: "That's not my job, sweetie."

Clark: "You always did it before."

Me: "I don't want to be controlling," I raised my eyebrows. "I was trying to let you off the leash you've been complaining about."

Clark: "Well... I appreciate that... but maybe keep me on an electric collar. You know, give me a little shock when I step over the line. I can still run free, but you're there to shock me when I need it."

I know those weren't his exact words, but oh how sweet they were. I started laughing uncontrollably and immediately told him I had to write about it.

I can't assume I know anything about every married couple's relationship. I'm sure there are women that truly do just follow their husband's lead. I'm sure there are some women that completely run the show. I'm sure there's a good balanced wife somewhere, too.

The thing is, I really think all women have their husbands on some kind of leash. After all, he chose her. Suddenly he gave over some of his power. He no longer has the power to go after any girl he wants. He doesn't have the power to just go off and do what he likes. He doesn't have the power of a possible marriage proposal over her. In many ways, he's powerless.

But he can always seize the power back. He can go out and party. He can not tell his wife where he's going. He can threaten many things.

So, what do you do?

You give them freedom. You don't let them know that you really do still hold the power... you can give them a little shock if they go too far, after all.

Keeping them on a "leash" means they are constantly trying to "escape". They tug and pull and try to lead the way, but they always have a reminder that you're really leading the show.

With an electric collar, they still have free reign. They can run and play and do all they want, but if they go too far they get a little jolt back to reality.

See what I mean?

I imagine men don't like being compared to dogs with leashes and collars so much, but I think it totally gets the point across. After all, if you get into a fight and he does something that completely upsets you... where is he?

He's in the dog house.

As a wife, I always feel a part of me missing while Clark's away. This is not to say that it's not healthy. It's good for us to have a break from each other every now and then. In fact, I'm so thankful for his Marine Corps Reserve duty. It gives me a little time to be without him, and therefore I appreciate him all the more when he comes home.

Trust is the major part in marriage. I really believe you can love each other all you want, but if you don't trust each other it's not going to work out. The collar isn't about trust. You are putting your trust in the fact that your husband isn't going to step over the limits that he provided when you said, "I do." If you let every little shock break the vows you made, where would you be?

It took me a long time to come to terms with this.

Now I know that I can kick and scream all I want, but sometimes things aren't going to go my way. Things are going to be out of my control. Things are going to completely step over the line and someone or something really doesn't care if he, she, or it gets fried because of it.

So, if you have a man complaining about a leash, take a step back and truly observe yourself. Some men use it because they know it's a sore spot. Women don't want to appear controlling, even if they are. Women want their husbands to appreciate them, and to keep them in the loop, and to consider their feelings in everything. Men don't always do that... which is why keeping them on a leash makes it even worse. They're dying for some freedom.

So give it to them.

Keep them in a sort of perimeter. After all, he gave you that right the day he proposed.

No parties or anything unless I'm with you or know about it, beer with the guys as long as you don't go over a limit because I can't be your DD, go out with your friends as long as you let me know where you are and when you'll be home, do what you like when you're home as long as you set aside at least 30 minutes for time with your family... things like that.

What do you think? Do you just let your husband have free range? Or do you have a leash or a collar?

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  1. This, my friend, is pure genius. AMAZING. -Nikki-

    1. I just saw this... thank you! I thought it was rather clever. Maybe article worthy?