What Is Your Definition of "Man of the House"?

Updated on August 02, 2011
N.F. asks from North Richland Hills, TX
22 answers

THE SITUATION (in a nutshell): My husband told me that he doesn't feel like the "Man of the House". So, I asked him what being the "Man of the House" meant to him. He basically said, "I want to be able to put my foot down and what I say goes". He is a little bit old fashioned, but I'm not. He went on and on about how he thinks things should be, but with whatever he said was a contradiction. I listened to everything he had to say and then told him, "You are confusing me because what you want is what we have going on right now". Well, he didn't like that so he turned it into "Man of the House" vs. "Woman of the House"... Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh *as I pull out my hair*

WHAT STRUCK A NERVE TO THE FULLEST: He seriously said to me, "The house is your thing. Whenever you need help, just ask me, otherwise I'm not going to do anything". So, I quickly snapped back with, "You mean to tell me that you can do whatever you want unless or until I ask you to do something? You are a grown a$s man! You know when the dishes need to be done, the trash taken out or the living room needs to be cleaned up... I should NOT have to ask you to do things around the house that you have done your entire adult life! We are a team, we help each other out... THAT IS WHAT A MARRIAGE IS!"

MY CONCLUSION: This is not the real issue here. We are moving to another state in a few weeks and he hasn't landed a job quite yet. This is what is making him feel "less of a man". That is the real issue. He didn't know how to express that to me so his way lead to an argument and some stupid things said.

MY QUESTION: What does being the "Man of the House" mean to you?

This isn't to bash on my husband. We clearly had some issues that needed to be resolved. I just needed to vent a smidge too :) But I wanted to know what others thought it meant to them. Mine is plain and simple... He is the provider of the family. He is a husband and father. If he wants his feet rubbed, well he has to rub mine too.

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answers from Seattle on

My husband is male. Therefore he is the "Man of the house."
I am female. I am "Woman of the House."
If he "put his foot down" he would get laughed at....just as I would if I "put MY foot down". Malarky.
That's my definition. Man = Male. that's it.

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answers from St. Louis on

The man of the house is the oldest man living in the house. Really it is that easy. :p

I think you are right that the real issue is his lack of job prospects. Does he know how lucky he is to have a woman that can speak man?

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answers from San Francisco on

Does it matter what we think? It's your marriage.

Is this really the hill you are willing to die on? Why can't you just agree to his request, and utter a simple sentence. What's so wrong with, "Honey, can you take out the trash?"

And by the way, will he have to tell you when the cars need to be serviced? Or will he take care of that on his own?

Since you asked, to me, the "Man of the House" means the person in the house who is male. Males are quite different from females, in case you haven't noticed. And one of the common differences is that they have to be asked to do things around the house, otherwise they won't do them.

He sounds like most other men. I suggest you give in on this one, and ask him when you want something done.

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answers from Houston on

yeah .....no

man of the house shares the decisions with the woman of the house.

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answers from Washington DC on

Someone made a crack to my son years ago about him being the Man of the House.
Daddy was deployed, always, so my oldest stepped in to fill his shoes. He didn't give me any of his paycheck but he took his sisters to violin and piano lessons. He was the Tiger Buddy for his brother in Cub Scouts. He disciplined the youngest two when needed. He went to the store to get me whatever was needed for dinner. He was the "soccer bro".
He took me out for Mother's Day, twice, even made sure that he made the reservations for the O Club.
He did what my hubby had been doing while he was home.
And hubby, he is my partner now that he is home. He take cares of most of the outside stuff, lawn, garbage, pool, watering
Since he works until late he usually meets us at the pool for meets or the soccer field.
When both the "men" were deployed my then 7 year old stepped up and would hold my door and bring me dead dandelions. :o)

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answers from Honolulu on

He is hung up, on the wording of it... and his mental image, of what a "Man" is. The STEREOTYPE of it.
His ideal, is not based in reality.

HE is:
1) a part of a family
2) he is a Parent
3) He lives in the house
4) He is a Husband... of which he cannot be a Husband unless he has a wife. So this is his ROLE.
5) He is... therefore, a part of the entire entity, of what a family is and what a Husband and Dad, is.
6) He lives in the house TOO... thus, he has to be a part of its maintenance and daily chores and upkeep.... which includes, the KIDS, and you.

7) he does not live in a hotel
8) He is not a Squatter
9) This is a Democracy. Not a dictatorship.
10) Marriage and family, is a PARTNERSHIP.
11) He may be insecure and HIMSELF does not feel like a "Man"... because he cannot handle a woman that has her own thoughts and ideas and a brain.
Some Men, can't handle women like that... and they only can handle "dumb" air-headed woman... in order to feel like a strong "Man" and "Man of the House."
But that is THEIR hang-up.

Ugh. Your Husband, has hang-ups.
He is making HIS hang-ups... your fault.
He is a grown-up... with a wife and kids.

12) a Man, can do ANYTHING a woman can... except breastfeed.

To me, the "Man of the House..." is a Man... who is a PARTNER with his Wife, respects her, likes to hear her opinions and values her brain too, and considers that sometimes she has more common sense and sensibility than him, and CAN ADMIT IT.
Being a MAN... means.... being aware of each others strong points and weaknesses. And, IMPROVING oneself, to be a BETTER "Man" and Husband and Dad.
He is one who ALSO, can help around the house, without being told like a child... because he is a GROWN-Up. And can think.

Being a "Man of The House"... is earned, too.
Not just ignorance in motion.
A Man of The House... cannot be a Man, unless, he is AWARE of his surroundings and what his Wife and children need... and Steps up, to that. Like a Man.

Your Husband, is acting like a child.
That is not, a Man.
That is a Man, who expects a "Mommy" to do things for him and tell him what to do.

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answers from Seattle on

The Man of the House is the full grown adult male in the home. If the man of the house lives alone he is the sole decision maker. However, if he has a wife, or even if he had a roommate (this would pertain to large decisions affecting both roomies...a bill that would be shared, maybe the furniture arrangement), it means working together for the good of the household.

Tell him he can be the quarterback. Because even though the quarterback picks plays he's still being advised by those with better viewing positions. The GM is up in the booth and has a better view of the whole field...the whole team. Whereas the quarterback is more aware of the ground layout (is it soft hard, slowing the running game or frozen making injuries a bigger concern), weather conditions, and physical or mental duress of the players on the field. Together they can make the best decisions for the team. But discord only prevails in a loss.

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answers from Cleveland on

I can tell you a little bit about what i think the man of the house doesn't do.

--Worry about decorating the house.
--boast about all he does around the house
--criticize the lady of the house

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Really good and tough question! We know there are differences in men and women but defining them is another thing entirely. I know I want to be treated like a woman. I like to be thought of, complimented, flowers occasionally, basically treat me like something precious that you cherish and shower me with love and we are good to go. My husband does a good job at being my husband. So when it comes to him I try to show him respect, listen to what he has to say, not reject advice out of hand from him even in areas I question his knowledge such as weight loss!! He answers to the world for our family, so if things are going well or we aren't happy, it makes him look bad, so I try to stay in good communication with him so he can be what we need and so I can be what he needs. I think a happy satisfied woman makes her man look so good, so if I do get out of sorts I feel I owe it to him to go to him about it and work it out, which of course benefits me too. I do work in our home as wife and mom so I take the lead in running things and I ask him for what I need such as trash or whatever. He takes the lead in making the money and we both talk to each other about how to use that money. So I guess I see his role as a covering of our family and my role to keep him apprised about what is going on around here so he can do his job and it makes my life better too! That is pretty much my take on things :D

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answers from Sacramento on

Oy... men and their egos...

Well good for you. It sounds like you hold your own as the "woman of the house" and what I really liked about your post is that you understand that this isn't really about being the "man of the house". It's about his insecurity and fear about not having a job and feeling inadequate.

Man of the house to me means that he's a man and he lives in the house. Everyone contributes, everyone is respected.

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answers from Chicago on

My husband and I have always been a team. When I was working we shared more of the housework and childcare. Since I've been a SAHM for the last six years, I've taken on most of the housework and childcare. He still does the lawn and takes out the trash. I do pretty much everything else, but I do feel that is my job now since I don't work outside of the home. The only thing I feel inferior in is decisions about money. Because I don't contribute financially, I feel like I have less of a say in what we spend our money on. We don't have major disagreements about it, but definitely some minor ones.

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answers from Eugene on

It means there are two adults in the house. Both know what it takes to be a family and each contributes. Marriage is a series of compromises and a strong loving friendship.
The dictator role is always the role of the tyrant. I'd send him packing if it's the best he can do.
He isn't just out of date he's living in a dream world that never existed. He wants a slave. Wrong century we haven't done that for 160 years. He has some big time growing up to do.

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answers from Portland on

To me - 'man of the house' means that he takes care of the house - inside and out. :)

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answers from Dallas on

Oh, that sounds fun!

Here are some of my thoughts. Man of the house is the man that lives in the house in the parental role:-) Woman of the house is the woman in the parental role too. If there is no man, then the oldest boy becomes the man of the house...but I don't really know what that means then. :-)

Are you guys Christian, by chance? This probably spreads to other religions, but I've noticed a lot of Christian men, the ones who tend to be more traditional, they have a view that being the "man of the house" makes them be in charge and the boss and that the woman is submissive to him. I watched some documentary on it once. The husband told the wife what to do and she felt like it was her duty to do whatever he said. He didn't help clean, didn't help with the house, didn't help do any of that stuff. He bossed her around, and she was expected to jump and okay. What he said went and that's how it was.

Just in case I'm offending any Christians, I should add that I am Christian too. We live in a fairly traditional family in that my hubby works and I stay home and raise the kids. We choose to do it this way because it's important to both of us.

NOW...back to you, maybe you aren't Christians, but if you are, then here's my take on it (and, if you aren't Christian, then this might not be very helpful). Somewhere it says that men are leaders of their families. So, I do believe that men should lead their homes. But there are a ton of different types of leaders. There are dominating, controlling, bossy leaders, as well as more gentle, kind, caring ones.

Doesn't Christ also say for us to follow Him? What type of leader was/is Christ? He's caring, compassionate, loving, considerate. He spent his time SERVING others. Christ is the best leader there is. If a man is the "man of the house" based off of Christian teaching, then he better be leading his house as Christ led (leads) His church. He should be finding opportunities to love his family, serve his family, help his wife, care for his children, work for his family, etc. I also believe the wife should be doing the same. We should be working together to create the best, strongest, loving families that we can and teaching our children to be good, loving people who care and want to help others.

So, in short, a Christian man should lead his home...following the example of Christ. He should love his family with all his heart and put his family before himself. He should serve his family...all family members should serve/love/care about each other. Last I checked, Christ wasn't an overbearing, dominating, controlling type of person. No husband should ever be.

When it comes to decision making, that is a joint thing. IF by chance there is something that can't be decided on, I will at times default to my husband, but he does the same to me at times. It's called compromise.

But, any good leader knows to listen and care about those he leads. A leader serves those that he leads and loves. He should listen and consider their feelings/opinions equal or above his own. And, any married man better listen and care about what his wife thinks/feels. While I feel like my husband is the designated leader...I don't at all believe that means that my opinion counts for less than his. I guess I see it more than in the end, he'll have to answer to God for how he watched over his family (me too), and so he probably should make sure to follow Christ's example.

It's not a dominating thing. It's certainly NOTHING like what your husband thinks he should be allowed to do. That's just silly. Because he's a man he thinks he has the right to disrespect you and claim it's okay because he's a man? Yeah...no way. You sound like you have your head on right. Hopefully he'll figure it out a little bit better than he currently has it figured out!

And, sorry if this got a little too Christian-y. I just see it so much where the husband tries to claim authority and then dominates and is way out of line, and it drives me insane. And, also sorry if you're not Christian and most of this was a waste for you;-) Either way, though, that's how I view it.

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answers from Albuquerque on

Honestly, I've never thought about "man of the house"... because that old fashioned concept just doesn't come into play in my house (or in the house I grew up in). My parents were partners. My dad made way more money than my mom, but they both worked. When my mom worked part time, she did more of the house chores. When she worked full time, they both did chores. It wasn't dependent on male-female, it was who had time.

In my own marriage, I do more of the inside the house stuff and my husband does the outside stuff like the lawn and building stuff. I recognize that's the traditional division of labor but it also suits our personalities. He loves to construct things, I love to cook. We share the cleaning and picking up tasks. I've not once had my husband tell me that he should be able to put his foot down and make a decision that I don't agree with. I'd probably kick him if he said anything that dumb. (no offense meant to your husband) I know there are a lot of more traditional partnerships than mine where the man works and the woman takes care of the house. That can work really well if it's what both people want, and if they both respect each other and realize that both sets of skills are important.

Best wishes on your upcoming move... I hope you help your hubby get over his feelings of inadequacy.

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answers from Seattle on

I think that the man of the house is just that- the man. That said, I think both parents need to work in the home, be present in parenting and in the marriage. It's true that I clean more than my husband, but he picks up more. I do laundry, he works more hours out of the home. I arrange play dates, he makes dinner while I am at work. It's not always perfect but it mostly works. I am not the man of the house because I am a woman.

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answers from Portland on

I think people are people and that your husband was out of line, but you know that already. My husband and I just naturally split on gender lines when it comes to some household chores. I tend to clean the kitchen, vacuum, and do the deep cleaning. My husband is the one that mows the lawn and does general tidying. But he also kind of enjoys doing laundry and we split the cooking down the middle according to the meal and who has more time. Who does what in each household is going to vary a lot, but telling you that you have to ask if you ever want him to pitch in is going to add up to a lot of resentment... not a good thing. I'll cross my fingers that he a) gets a job, and b) comes to his senses! :)

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answers from Albuquerque on

Yeah we need all those things.

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answers from Daytona Beach on

well, i think it depends on what the woman does. if you are both working, then the man of the house is a partner in the home dealing with everything that the woman does. he should help out with everything. you should make decisions together about life, family, expenses. if the woman stays home, all decisions should be made together (of course SOMEONE is always going to have to give in a little more) but the woman should carry the burden of the home, or most of it. that would be her job. i was hardly ever told no. i always got what i wanted. so when i got married, i wanted to marry someone who wasn't a pushover. someone who would say "you know what, that's not a great idea. think about it some more" and that's what i got. but i can do the same to him. if your husband is talking about man of the house and it's the "old fashioned" than you should be a SAHM, do everything in the house and with/for the kids. you should have dinner waiting for him, and his bath drawn. he should make all decisions about everything and then let you know the outcome. but seriously, that's pretty much a fantasy world. that's only the relationships you see on a lifetime movie where the woman is abused and the husband is dominating.

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answers from Seattle on

Some thoughts:

There are so many single-parent households headed by women that the "Man of the House" seems like an increasingly rare person.

To me, the ideal Man of the House would be open to negotiation, viewing his wife as a full partner. But also he would be handsome, daring, funny, wealthy, charismatic, strong, and cherishing. And (because this is a full-service fantasy) he would do all the house projects and yard work and would pay for housekeeping help and take the kids on outings.

It sounds like you're already aware that the stated issue is not the real issue. It's probably a mistake to just say "yes, dear" and then do what you want to do anyway, but that's what my grandmother used to do and my grandparents had a pretty happy marriage.

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answers from Kansas City on

I dont know your marriage, but I know my husband would never be stupid enough to say something like that, because he knows NOTHING would get done if he did. Except feeding me and the kiddo. Even though he's a man and makes more money than me, we are equals in the marriage.

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answers from Portland on

Men seem to be more oblivious to a dirty house than women are. For example, my hubby never notices if our refrigerator needs cleaning. All husbands should contribute to housework, even if the wife is a SAHM. A SAHM should do the majority of it, but it doesn't mean the husband does nothing.

I used to complain to my hubby because I also worked, often more hours than he did, yet I was still doing most of the housework. I still probably do more, but he has come a long way. He is always doing the dishes and will do whatever I ask of him now. That's the key - you ask in a nice way so it doesn't seem like you are nagging and you give advance notice (i.e., I'm a little tired of making dinner lately, would you plan to make it tomorrow night?). Sometimes I will be blunt - "I don't feel like doing the dishes tonight; would you mind doing them, please?" Another thing that worked for me was to create a list of chores. I would tell him - you pick half and I will do the other half. That way he gets first choice on what he wants to do (i.e., he always leaves the toilets for me, but I am fine with that).

Help your hubby understand that helping out with housework and the kids = foreplay for you. The more he helps you out, the more loving you will feel towards him.

I've read a great book called "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work," by John Gottman. In it, he states that most men OVERESTIMATE their contribution to housework. He also states that most marriages will succeed if the man accepts the woman's influence - meaning that it isn't a dictatorship in which the husband has control and makes all decisions.

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