Dear Couples Counselor
My wife says she is not controlling. She tells me how to do things step by step by step. I am perfectly capable of doing many of these things myself, as evidenced by living on my own before we met. She has a preference that I do it her way. I do not do anything the way she does things and she does not do anything the way I do. We are very different.
I ask to do some things together so that we have a sense of partnership. She gets upset and tells me to do the whole thing. I don’t get it. I want to know how we do the bills. Do I have the right to ask how we do the bills or to see how much money we have coming in and going out? Am I wrong for wanting to be a partner in that process? I would not know because she refuses to do it with me. We might be quite compatible doing it, but I may never know.
She wants me to do more around the house, as long as I do it the way she wants it done. I think she needs to let go of the controls a bit if she wants some help. If she does not give up the reins, then she loses the right to complain or take on the victim role in my book.
We’ve talked about it and she either wants to be done with it entirely and give me the chore or have me do it exactly the way she wants it. I think there are more options that could be considered.
When I bring something like that to her attention, she gets really defensive and offended that I could possibly ask it. It is as if the question itself is offensive. It feels like she is backing me off. I have to apologize at some really weird points, I feel. It just does not seem right that she is over-reacting, in my opinion, and I am wrong about that as well.
My response to this couple would depend on the context of the counseling at this point in the relationship. There are obviously many things happening at once and prioritizing which battles to fight is hard. They all need to be addressed and addressing one might sidetrack us from another one.
What are your thoughts for this couple?