Do you act like a parent to your mate?

By DORIS WILD HELMERING St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Do you act like a parent to your mate?  When you and your partner got married, I doubt if either of you wanted the other to act as your mother or father. But as the years roll by, spouses frequently take it on themselves to act more like a parent than a mate. Answer yes or no to the following statements to see if you are overstepping your bounds.

1. You tell your mate how to drive, and often make suggestions where to park.                   

2. You monitor what your mate eats - telling him he’s had enough ice cream or that he should eat more green vegetables.

3. You set up his schedule for him.   He should help around the house in the morning. run errands in the afternoon, and then cut the grass.

4. You walk in the room and turn on the light for your mate, thinking she can’t see to read.

 5. You tell her to put on some shoes before she goes outside to get the mail.

6. When you are out with friends, you tell her verbally or nonverbally to talk more quietly .

7. You ask when she last watered the house plants, even though you can see they are dry.

8. You instruct him on how to trim the bushes and trees.

 9. You tell him to call his mother and sister.

10. When she asks how much money the two of you have invested, you tell her not to worry, she'll be fine.

11. You have her on a budget that you determined was appropriate.

12. You expect your mate to report in several times during the day if she's out shopping or with friends.  If she's a few minutes late getting home, you're annoyed.

13. If you are unhappy with something your partner did, you pout and refuse to talk until you're ready to resolve the issue.

14. As your mate leaves the house, you remind her to take an umbrella, or wear a jacket, or don’t forget her gloves.

15. Before going out with friends, you review what he should and should not discuss.


16. You make negative comments about what your mate watches on television or the books she chooses to read.

17. You harp on the fact that your partner smokes, doesn't exercise, and won't go to the doctor for a check-up.

18. When you come home after being out and about you expect a report of what he did all day.

19. You reach around your mate as she’s doing dishes and turn down the water.

20. When your mate wants to redecorate, you tell her, "No, we don’t need to do that."

21.  When she goes to buy something you ask, “Do you really need that item?" And you always question how much she pays for things.

22. You remind your mate of his appointments and the telephone calls he needs to make.

23. You give unsolicited advice regarding how he should have handled something at the office.

24. You tell her she doesn’t need to go to the mall or to a certain part of town.

25. You tell her how to cook.

26. You tell him how to drive.

27. You forever tell him not to slump, to sit up straight.

28. You tell him to get rid of certain clothes, certain shoes, certain friends.

29. You critique her performance after going out socially with your friends.

30. You  make comments about the way she keeps her desk, even though it's her desk.


For every statement where you said yes, you are acting like a parent to your mate. The problem with this behavior is that your spouse feels  your comments as criticisms, not as helpful suggestions.  When people say 'I do," they are signing up for a partner who will share their life and be happy with and for them. They are not signing up for someone who constantly tells them what to do and how and when to do it. If you want to give advice to your mate, wait until he or she asks for it. Or ask your partner if he/she would like advice.