I would argue that the relationship between the narrator and her husband is a patriarchal one in which the man makes the decisions and the woman adopts an accepting, subservient role. The first indication we get of the state of their relationship is when the narrator tells us, “Jack laughs at [her], of course, but one expects that in marriage.” This quote tells us that John sees himself as superior to his wife, who is something to be laughed at. We also quickly learn that he does not believe that his wife is sick.
It is a relationship in which John, who is a physician, plays down his wife’s symptoms and tells people that there is nothing really wrong with his wife other than a “temporary nervous depression.” In other words, he disrespects his wife by adopting a professional opinion that her illness and symptoms exist only in her head.
In this marriage, what John says goes, and little attention is paid to his wife’s desires. While she expresses a desire to stay in a room on the ground floor, he refuses, insisting that she take the room with the yellow wallpaper. He controls more and more of her life, denying her requests to see her friends and insisting that she can get better through sheer “will and self control.”
In a nutshell, the relationship between the narrator and her husband is one-sided. The narrator is expected to accept her husband’s word as truth and has no real say over her own circumstances.