Marriage. Ownership or partnership?

As a woman, how do you view your husband?

As something you own or as your partner?

I was married for 24 years.  I became officially divorced on April 24, 2015, after over 4 years of being separated.   I now live with a new partner and I don’t ever want to marry him.

Some time ago I had a conversation with a girlfriend who has been married for a little over 10 years.  She shared with me her perspective on her marriage. She said she knew she was a bit odd but if she was really honest with herself she said she felt that being married gave her ownership of her husband.  That because of being married she felt she now had the right to tell him what to do and when.  It was like a light bulb went on for me, YES!!! I had felt the same way when I was married!!  I had never realized it until she mentioned it but yes I did recall feeling like that during my married years as well.

Flash forward to current date and my new partner. We live together but have agreed that neither of us wants to get married again. Been there done that.  For me I know deep down that if I was married to him things would change, they did when I got married the first time. There was a distinct shift in the relationship, it just felt different afterwards.  I was different.

In my current relationship I am working hard to be cognizant of not dominating my partner, keeping my independence, letting him make his own decisions, especially because now we keep our money separate. (For me that makes a difference.) I try very hard to keep us as two separate individuals in a partnership.  

So why did my girlfriend and I feel different after we were married?

Back in the not so distant past and in many countries around the world, married women are still deemed as property by their husbands.  Possessions that need to do as they are told and not argue.  Often times leading to very dire and sad consequences. So why then is it so foreign to think that married North American women might treat their husbands as something they own?

I’m not condoning the perspective, but I am saying it was certainly an awakening for me to realize that that was how I was behaving.

So, I’m curious, if you are or have been married sit with yourself and really think about the question.  Look back at your actions and patterns when in a relationship, have you ever felt this way?  Felt a sense of ownership?

Do you have a strong opinion on this? Leave a comment, let’s start a discussion.  I would love to hear some other perspectives.  



Marriage. Ownership or partnership?

I think each relationship is different--where as you were able to dominate one partner, you will not be able to dominate another--married or not.

I think it would make a person feel better to keep their money separate--but I don't think it is always doable in the long run, unless both people are wealthy. When my husband and I first moved in together, before we were married, our money was separate--I paid for my misc. expenses, my car expenses, and I saved for our first big holiday--my then boyfriend paid the rest, but once we wanted to buy big ticket items like a house that needed renovations and furniture, we no longer were able to keep our money separate. it took every cent for a few years--and that was okay as we were working together for a common goal-- it was truly a partnership. It worked for us. 4 years later, we decided to have a child and get married. 34 years later, we are still married. We only have one car now, so all our appointments and activities are on the calendar--In order to make things work, we try to be considerate and consult each other. We pursue our own interests-but have many of the same interests. I am happy to have my alone time when he is out doing an activity with a buddy. I am happy to say I still consider our marriage & relationship to be a partnership. I think it totally depends on the personalities of the people in the relationship, if it's a partnership or not. I don't think being married means you automatically feel you own another person.

Thanks for taking the time to

Thanks for taking the time to respond Dianne!!

I do agree, in my marriage I was able to dominate my partner, hence the feeling of ownership. Now in a new relationship, not being married and with this knowledge, I work hard not to. Plus the fact he would never let me!!! 

I also agree with your money perspective but had a similar issue in my marriage when we did not earn the same amount. 

Always appreciate your feedback, thanks!!


never marry!

Never felt that I had ownership of a (common law) spouse, but had at one time hoped that he would like to marry me. That was a 20+ year one sided, and emotionally painful relationship, and in looking back, can see that I was really naive about how different two people can be when it comes to emotional intimacy, and how denial can slow the progression of personal growth. Thank goodness we never did "tie the knot".
Becoming my own person, and standing up for myself as well as accepting/embracing myself as well as his weaknesses was a long slow process, hampered by constantly failed attempts to be the spouse I thought he wanted me to be. Fortunately, now, having found someone I can love and respect who accepts me for who I am, I can see how dysfunctional that relationship was, and can benefit from what I have learned about myself and go about being a real partner in every sense of the word...whether or not that ever leads to conventional marriage no longer matters.

Dorian I love your

Dorian I love your vulnerability here and your courage to share your learning, thank you!!!

Hindsight is always so valuable, though often painful. 

And I love your comment about, "whether it leads to conventional marriage or not, it no longer matters." I am in agreement with you on that perspective. I think the idea of marriage is certainly changing in our world, time will tell whether future generations will continue to embrace it or toss it out, as many traditions often come to an end over time. 

Thanks for reading!!



Owning your spouse

Does your girlfriend really feel that she "owns" her husband, or does she feel that she owns the relationship? The difference sounds subtle, yet I can't help thinking it may be closer to the truth. Even so, once we feel we own something, I think we stop seeing it as a journey or process. For myself, commitment and accountability are part of the 'pact'. And for me, it is a pact, even more than a partnership.

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