Faith,  Marriage

The Submissive Wife Talk

Anyone else watch the most recent ‘This is Us’ episode and have the “submissive wife” conversation? 

I know I did! Every week I walk over to my sister’s house (she lives across the street) and we watch ‘This is Us’ and then talk about “all the things.”

And if you aren’t caught up on the latest ‘This is Us’ episode, you might want to stop. If you don’t know who Randall and Beth Pearson are or what ‘This is Us’’s a TV show in which they are main characters.

Ah, Randall and Beth. Is there any couple that better embodies the balance that exists between martial bliss and marital discord in most healthy marriages? Not matter how hard you try, you cannot seem to have complete martial bliss without a little marital discord, right? 

And in Randall and Beth’s case, the ebb and flow of their marriage woes tend to make us married people nod our heads, because their issues are so very real life. Neither husband or wife is officially “bad,” but nor are they official “off the hook” in their actions either.

Let me explain what I mean. 

Randall is the overthinking, adoring, completely committed father and husband who bends over backwards to make sure that his tribe have everything they could ever think about. Beth is the strong, self-sacrificing, no-nonsense mom and wife who keeps the entire family grounded. Each personality has their flaws; they each have their perks.

In the latest episode we see the backstory of Randall and Beth’s relationship. He proposed one million times, she said ‘wait’ one million times*. The storyline tells us that Beth waited to say ‘yes’ until she felt secure she wouldn’t “lose herself in Randall” because of Randall’s “all consuming-ness.” After a heartfelt convo with Rebecca (Randall’s mom played by Mandy Moore), Beth realizes that she’s ready, takes him to her favorite restaurant and says ‘yes’ to his proposal.

*We will strike from the record any conversation about how they were shacking up for 7 years without being married, which I oppose but isn’t the point of this blog.

From there ensues all the flashback memories of times in their marriage when Beth felt steamrolled by Randall’s intense personality.

Let me stop there.

Steamrolled. This is the word that Beth uses. This is what the writer’s have painstakingly try to convince us of for the past few episodes leading up to this one. We’ve started seeing more of what makes Beth…well, Beth. We know she loves dancing and that after her father’s death, her mother made her quit. As wives, we’ve felt her pain of wanting to pursue a dream at what feels like the wrong time in our husband’s lives. I wrote an entire novel on the conflict that exists when two of our own dreams collide. Personally, for me the struggle is very real. I want to be a famous writer AND I have seven kids, a house and a husband. I want both these things, but sometimes it can feel mutually exclusive.

And for the sake of the ‘This is Us’ writers and creativity, I’ll bend a little for Beth and Randall’s current conflict, but I’m not buying Beth’s “woes” hook line and sinker because for three seasons we’ve seen Randall say “yes and amen” to every single one of Beth’s demands. Outside of Jack Pearson, Randall is the epitome of the perfect husband (as perfect as we can get in this broken world, I mean).

Beth is pretty amazing too. She’s picked up the slack when Randall had one of his panic attacks that made him temporarily blind. She’s said ‘yes’ to nearly all his crazy ideas, like buying an entire building just to see it renovated for the low-income residents there. It wasn’t until Season 2 when we started seeing her stand her ground when Randall decided to run for city council and it was taking a toll on the well-being of their tight family unit.

And this is where the submissive wife conversation starts.


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