Back to Blog

How to Shift Your Relationship from Mom-Mode to Lover-Mode

boundaries conflict control empathic communication happier marriage micro-management

Tired of Being Treated Like a Child?

Let's face it, no one likes to be told what to do. Whether by an authority figure or a romantic partner, feeling controlled can be incredibly frustrating. 

This is especially true when those two roles are combined—when your spouse starts acting like your parent. It can feel like the passion in the relationship has been replaced with rules and regulations, leaving you feeling unheard, criticized, and unappreciated. 

So how do you draw the line between being a loving and supportive spouse without going into parent mode? 


Uncovering the Reasons Behind Parental Behavior

The first step in navigating this tricky dynamic is understanding why it exists in the first place. 

If your wife expresses herself as if she’s your mother rather than your lover, chances are there’s something else going on beneath the surface. Could it be a trust issue? Is she afraid of losing you? Is she feeling insecure about her role in the relationship? 

All of these things could cause her to resort to parent-mode behavior as a means of controlling her anxieties.


Communication is Key to Changing the Dynamic

If this is an issue that you're facing in your relationship, then communication is key. Talk to your wife about how her parental behavior makes you feel and make sure to give her ample opportunity to express her feelings too. 

Coach each other to ask questions such as "What would you like me to do differently?" or "How can I make this situation better for both of us?" 

By having an open dialogue with your wife, you'll be able to identify the possible underlying issues that might be driving her toward taking on a parental role within the marriage and work together toward finding solutions that don't involve treating each other like children.


Don't Forget the Love and Care in Your Relationship

At the same time, it's important not to take things personally if your wife does act more like a parent than a lover from time to time—it doesn't necessarily mean she is trying to parent you! Try to see it another way. 

Showing care for someone through advice and guidance is perfectly normal and healthy; it just needs to be done in moderation so that it doesn't become oppressive or overbearing. 

Remember—your wife isn't actually trying to “parent” you; rather, she's trying to show her love for you in what may be the only way she knows how!


Finding the Right Balance for Your Relationship

Ultimately, walking the line between coming off as a loving and caring wife and not as a mom, isn't always easy but it's important if we want our relationships to remain strong and fulfilling. 

By engaging in honest conversations with each other about expectations, we can ensure that all parties involved are respected while still allowing for plenty of room for love, affection, and support! 

With some patience (and maybe even some therapy!), couples can learn to navigate this delicate balance without sacrificing either safety or intimacy.


The Happier Marriage Assessment helps couples improve their relationship by identifying areas for growth and providing personalized recommendations. You will get your score and the associated meaning, immediately.  But that's not all. You will then get a downloadable PDF that explains it all and a "your next step" guide.
[NOTE: this should take you less than 90 seconds]
Start The Quiz Now!