the old ball and chain

The old ball and chain is a jocular phrase used to describe someones spouse, or somebody as being somewhat of a burden to them, such as in the case of a job. However while it can be used in various other situations, someone typically says this person is their ball and chain when it is their spouse; usually the wife. For many years, a wife has been the stereotype for nagging and telling the husband what to do, making them a ball and chain.