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bp, that sure was an attention-getting letter! I'm 38, got married really young, at 21, and only made 15 years in 2010, so your dates got my attention, too. Celebrated 18 years in 1/1009, does that mean you got married when you were 15 and 17? That would explain a lot, young people can fight, BTDT! Like two puppies fighting over getting to be the winning puppy.

Anyway, about the letter. I love Dr. H's writing style, he writes in a way that takes all the blame out. So I can hear it instead of feeling defensive. Do you like that about his writing style too? How about we apply that to your letter, translate it to just sharing your Openness and Honesty. Because you two have the same goals, right, and two heads are better than one? I wish I was married and had a loving spouse to work stuff through with. Ah, well, such is life.

From husband to Wife,
Regarding the situation with our nephew, we each have our own perception of what happened and our own judgments about what was correct behavior and what was unacceptable.


Wow honey, it amazes me how the two of us see the same situation so differently! But I am enjoying learning to see the world from your eyes, and sharing my world with you. I love how close we feel to each other.

You are correct that men don�t have the same nurturing attitudes that women have which sets the stage for us to disagree from the start because of gender. But it doesn�t mean I don�t care about him or that I have a cold heart. It�s just not identical to yours and it means I won�t take the same actions as you would. So I would appreciate if you can stop expecting me to do things as you would do and instead communicate your feelings.

I did talk to you when children came in with the announcement. You thought I was being selfish by asking you to do it.


I know what the children were asking for was a big deal to you. That must be frustrating, when want things a certain way for the kids, and want me to make that so, and I don't see the value in it. [See, I didn't follow it with a "but." I just described how I saw it and let it be. It doesn't matter who was right or whatever.]

instead of taking all the responsibility upon yourself and then being upset with me for not fulfilling your expectations, you could have said
A) �I know this game is important to you so I will see what is wrong outside. �
B) �I�m busy in the kitchen right now, could you check it out?�
C) �Can you help me check on him?�

I need you to focus on the behaviors you want to see with clear communication. If you want help, then make a respectful request.


It drives me nuts when you don't tell me what you want, and then expect me to know. I don't know, but I want to understand you. We're a team, just ask me for what you need, and if I don't want to do it I'll tell you so you can decide what to do from there.


I understand you think I acted unloving. But can you also see it from my point of view? If you would have been watching the season finale of your favorite tv show I would have happily responded to situations with children without even needing a request from you.

If you were overwhelmed with things in the kitchen all you had to do was say �No I can�t right now� and I would have gone outside.

I can understand there are two sides, that both people can be right in a given situation, based on their perception of what happened. I think I made an honest request for your help, you think I didn't respond appropriately.

You are right we are having this constant tension that seems to stem from �If you cared, you would do x.�

Instead can we try, �I know you don�t see it the same as me but if you could do x that would help.�

The first way is an insult to me. The second way acknowledges we are different and communicates your needs.


And now you're all mad. I know it shouldn't bother me, that everyone feels mad sometimes. But it is bugging me. How about we relax over a cup of tea or something, and settle down. Can I have a hug? [Can I have a hug fixes all kinds of issues ;)]

What do you think?


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NeD,
Thanks for reminding me of my good fortune! I appreciate your time and helpful tone. **edit**

I have not sent such letter to my DW. Its obvious how it will come across. So I am trying to talk with her about how she could have helped me act in that situation. I already apologized for acting unloving. My real beef is a constant judgment my wife makes that I must not care because I did x.

Instead of communicating to me during the moment she judges, then brings it up later how disappointed she is with me. The other weekend we took the family skiing for the day, got a hotel, pool time, hot tub, played with grandbaby, 10pm pizza dinner, etc. Her last comment to me that day before bed was "I'm upset you were not more engaged with our family." This was a 11:30 at night.

I was shocked to say the least. What else can a husband do if an all day and night family event isn't enough engagement? For all of our years together I have been unable to establish my boundaries. When it comes to family, my wife has no boundaries. Same as her mother. To illustrate, her parents once brought home a dog from another state and dropped it on our doorstep.

Last edited by MBLBanker; 03/21/12 10:09 AM. Reason: TOS: disrespectful; disparaging other posters

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Have you read the book love busters? Or his needs her needs? How about His needs her needs for parents? (which is a really good one .. touches base on inlaws REALLY well)

They make great UA time ... reading them outloud together after kids are in bed while you cuddle up together. Provides oppertunity to discuss different marital approaches using the MB tools in a much clearer format than what you can find on the site.

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bp man I'm glad to be here, seeing folks change their situations over time. As you all make new patterns, the old woulds will heal and be forgotten. So I wouldn't worry so much about last weekend. Does your W respond to humor? Your W sounds like really super hard on herself, not allowing herself to ask for help. Am I right that she feels guilty that she can't be everything for your kids, so she lashes out at you to assuage her guilt?

The respectful persuasion article shows a great way to introduce new ideas. Like how much it benefits the kids how mothers and fathers parent differently. If they had two parents both with a involved style or a laid back style, it would be a bad combination. Instead together your kids get the best of both worlds, get both protection and the opportunity to develop autonomy. It doesn't get any better than that. In addition to respectful persuasion, you can set the example in love. Like letting her know when you fall short of your own expectations, and how you let it sink back into perspective and enjoy the rest of the day. What do you think?


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NED,
It would be great if she responded to humor, but alas, not so much. I don't think she is "super hard" on herself or feeling guilty. The real problem imho is she cannot say no, to anything. Her parents finally retired, went to Florida for a month so she agreed to watch 3 more cats for her parents, besides our own 2 dogs and cat. She just adds more stress on top of her already 50+ hours of work instead of saying no. Yet she won't even discuss options for animal care with me or possibly addressing this burden with her parents. How much you bet I end up getting blamed for acting "uncaring" towards an animal next week? I can't even scold our dog (a stray that SHE adopted without my input) for pooping in the house, which he does daily!

Can you provide a link to the Respectful Persuasion article, I couldn't seem to find it.

As far as suffering a set back and then bouncing back to enjoy the rest of the day... The incident regarding my nephew last Saturday was our only topic of "conversation" again last night, for another hour, a previous morning she cried through because she was so distraught over my behavior and all week of no loving interactions between us due to it all. To say that her emotions overwhelm her would be an understatement.

I can't remember the last time she smiled or was really happy. I feel like we have the chicken and egg conundrum. She wants my "heart to be in it" and says I need to change, and I feel my heart isn't in it because she is so rarely positive about anything.

She is starting to appreciate the fact that we each bring different things to the childrens' upbringing but that doesn't seem to be helping her accept me. Instead the judgments continue that if I do X I must not care. Nothing seems to click in her brain that I thought about the situation differently so I acted differently. Just that I didn't meet her expectations.

Everyone here was saying just apologize - done- even to my brother-in-law about it. So I am not trying to avoid taking responsibility. But what I am trying to do is get her to realize that she can still be nice to me while rushing to action. Somehow she has this impression that it was too much of an emergency for us to take a moment to communicate nicely as in "Spouse can you help me?" I commented that during an emergency is when we need to communicate the most! That was a lead balloon.


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Any good reason that you couldn't do the online program or home study program, and have your wife on board?

Have you sold this program as something that she can benefit from, or have you solely wielded as a weapon to get your way?

You see, I tend to agree that your wife has some disrespectful stances towards you... but you are just as disrespectful.

An objective, professional observer and adviser who has access to both sides - and will do so objectively - will be something that SHE will respond to better, not to mention, you need it, too.


"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." - Michael Shermer

"Fair speech may hide a foul heart." - Samwise Gamgee LOTR
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BigPicture -

I'm late to the party, forgive me if I misunderstand any of the circumstances and accidentally get something wrong here.

Piecing the story together as I remember it:
You had plans to watch this basketball game and invited your Father over. This was scheduled in advance and had your wife's blessing.

During the game, one of your kids ran into the house to say "nephew" is hurt!

You turned to wife and said "Honey, do you mind handling that?" - and she did.

Is that roughly correct?

You seem to think that the fact that you said "Honey, do you mind handling that" - and that she then handled it indicates that this was a negotiated outcome. I think that is where the issue lies as that was not a negotiation.

From Wife's point of view, I'm guessing this was a CRISIS moment (capitalized to emphasize, not to shout). In her mind, I am thinking she was thinking 'crisis, no time to talk, no time to complain, no time to discuss - must check on nephew asap to see if he is ok'

From her point of view, there was a crisis and you not only did nothing; you placed the burden of responsibility on her without her consent (though it appears obvious that she'd have run out to check on Nephew even if you were running out to check on nephew as well).

So, this was not a negotiation (I'm no lovebuster expert, but it seems more like a selfish demand by you than a poja's resolution).

In my life, I have behaved exactly as you've behaved in this specific circumstance many times. Many, many times. All I can say, for me personally (this may not apply to you) is that as I 'woke up', got more plugged in with my family and began to see my wife's needs and feelings as equally important to mine; I now look back and can only see my past actions as selfish and disconnected.

One thing that was lacking (if I recall correctly) from your text conversation was that when your wife was accusing you of being heartless and not really caring if nephew was ok - you never once said (again, that I remember) "Hold on a second, I love nephew and care for him a great deal!"

Sorry for the novel!

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HHH,
We are currently reading Fighting For Your Marriage so there isn't time in her schedule to implement more. She is already way behind at work and is putting in lots of overtime.

Last night during the latest dressing down she gave me, she let me know in no uncertain terms that she believes her Dad and her two brothers would 'never' act like I did in the moment, like they have never made mistakes or acted rudely in their lives. We know that isn't true.

Another example, Last Saturday we went out to a bar for St. Pattys, where of course her brothers and their group of friends were. This group of guys still act like they are in college even though they are all over 35 now. One of them thinks its funny to "slap" me in my privates. Another one whom I approached to engage in friendly conversation with shoved a sandwich in my mouth. fun bunch let me tell you.

After the evening was over my wife told me how disappointed she was with how I acted!


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TDB,
Thanks for the input and time to read all this stuff.

Its obviously hard to convey what daily life is like and people have this impression I "don't get it" when it comes to her feelings but I do. I survived her affair and that crisis moved my heart and soul to understand how I was missing the boat. It was a real change in me. And that adds to my frustrations because I am home every night helping my family, chores, homework, kp duty, etc etc. I don't go out drinking, I don't have guys night poker, I ride my bike to work so I don't need to workout separately, I don't do much except attend her social calendar, most of which is spent with her extended family, and support my family and household needs.

In conversation I have emphasized how much I care for nephew. My brother in law and I have spent much time together and he knows I care for his children as they are over frequently to play with my 10 yr old. There isn't a pattern of me neglecting people or animals. 10 years ago maybe, not today.


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Well, BP...

If your wife is such a horrible spouse who Love Busts you so constantly, who is so terrible at meeting your needs...


Then why not just divorce?

From the story you are selling about your wife, that's the only solution I can find.



However, the reality is much different than what you are selling - what you are reflecting is just as bad as what she is doing... and it's why you are stuck in this pattern.

The second pattern you have is making a lot of excuses while you whine, while doing a lot of nothing (and/or nothing helpful) about it.


I strongly suggest you quit making excuses and enroll in either the online program or the home study course both of which come with phone support.


Why? Because all you are doing here is spinning your wheels and giving weak, bullcrap excuses as to why you do eveyrthing right and she's all wrong.


I'd be interested to see if you were so dismissive about advice that you paid to recieve.


Give me one good reason why posters should voluntarily give you their time, which could be spent with people who will accept the help they are given, or with their families, while you blog about how freaking horrible your wife is and how you never do anything wrong... and continue to dismiss the solid Marriage Builders advice you are being given?

How are YOU going to improve your marriage? YOU are here, your wife is not. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TODAY?


"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." - Michael Shermer

"Fair speech may hide a foul heart." - Samwise Gamgee LOTR
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HHH,
What am I doing?

We just fired our marriage counselor because at $130/hour we expected him to say more than 10 words. In four sessions the only advice we got was "Keep you anger levels below a 5."

I was reading an article recently which nailed modern counseling on the head, that therapy is about getting your feelings out to an empathetic listener whereas in the past it was more about telling people what they should do or change.

She just finished 7 Habits of Effective Families. We are reading Fighting For Your Marriage. I am trying to introduce POJA. We have been listening to Chip Ingraham on Marriage. I filled out my EN and LB questionnaires, she only did the LBers.

She listened to HNHN again on audio book. Oh yeah I am reading Sacred Love too.

What else can we do?


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Well, one thought is this;

Your approach thus far has prepared you both the be a "jack of all trades, master of none."

You are reading all these different books that are different authors and different approaches.

It would be best for you to sit down and focus on ONE approach, and learn to apply that MASTERFULLY.

Admittedly, I have a bias towards Marriage Builders. It's worked for me and for my peers here, and the proof is in the pudding there; if this program is applied correctly, IT WORKS!

If your wife only filled out the Love Busters questionnaire, then focus on what she gave you and eliminate those love busters.

You, sir, must take the lead and sell this program as THE ONE which will improve your marriage.

You sell it by meeting her needs the best you can, and by eliminating your own love busters. Introduce Radical Honesty; if these family activities are destroying your love for her, TELL HER, sir. TELL HER.

"Dear, I hate these outings. Because I hate doing them, and I do them to make you happy, it actually destroys my love for you. I cannot participate in the activities to make you happy when they make me miserable - and I will no longer expect that you partake in activities that you do not like. Not only that, I will no longer participate in activities that you do not like."


You have to be the light and the example. Show her how this benefits HER first, and let her follow your lead.

Put the other books aside and buy Love Busters.

Once you have a solid MB foundation for your thinking, those other books may be useful (so long as you keep them within the framework of Marriage Builders). Until then, they are just going to make a mess of things.


"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." - Michael Shermer

"Fair speech may hide a foul heart." - Samwise Gamgee LOTR
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Originally Posted by bigpicture
She listened to HNHN again on audio book. Oh yeah I am reading Sacred Love too.

What else can we do?

Why don't you stick to the one program that really does work? MB is the only program, I am aware of, whose goal is to restore the romantic love and really does work. And it doesn't work if you piecemeal it. It works every time if you do use it. You have been floundering around with this for years now, why not just stick to one thing that really WORKS? Harley has a demonstrated record of success with proven results. Here is his answer when asked on this forum if his program works:

Originally Posted by Dr Harley
When I found that the model I've developed had helped over 90% of those I was counseling, I gave up my career as a college professor and started counseling full-time. At the time, I didn't assume that it would save all of the marriages it seemed to help, because I felt there were factors beyond a couple's control. But after 35 years of experience with this model, I'm not convinced that it works with 100% of couples who follow it. I've yet to witness one couple out of the tens of thousands I've seen, that did not experience a healthy and happy marriage by following this model. Personally, I feel it's the only answer to the question, how can a couple have a great marriage for life?

But it's very difficult to prove that one model of marital satisfaction is superior to another. The ultimate test is to randomly assign couples to various models and to measure their marital satisfaction after the provisions of each model have been implemented.

The training of therapists is a huge problem: How can we be sure that the therapist assigned to each model was properly trained? And there's also the problem of representation and random assignment: Does the group of volunteer couples represent the population at large? And is the assignment to treatment groups really random? There's also the ethical problem of assigning couples to a control group where they receive no effective treatment. When they divorce, does the researcher bear any responsibility? Finally, if someone who has a stake in the outcome does the research, it usually shows that their approach is best. Shouldn't studies of alternative models of marital satisfaction be conducted by those neutral to the outcome?

My own personal experience led me to the model I've been using for the past 35 years. But that's not proof of it's superiority over other models. What I need is objective studies conducted by those who have no bias that compare this model to others. That's hard to find even among those who have published hundreds of articles on martial therapy.

But I can direct you to three studies that support my enthusiasm. They all deal with my book, His Needs, Her Needs, the popular application of my model, and the effect it has on couples that read it.

The readers of Marriage Partnership Magazine were asked which self-help book on marriage helped their marriages the most. In that survey, His Needs, Her Needs came out on top. I didn't know that the survey was even being conducted, so when I called the editor after the results came in, I was curious to know more. He told me that it not only was the top choice, but it was far ahead of second place (Ron R. Lee. Best Books for a Better Marriage: Reader's Survey . Marriage Partnership Magazine, Spring 1998).

In a national survey that I sponsored, people were asked if any self-help book on marriage solved their marital problems. Out of 57 books that were read, only three were reported to have actually solved marital problems. The three were the Bible, James Dobson's Love for a Lifetime, and His Needs, Her Needs (Lynn Hanacek Gravel. Americans and Marriage: National Survey of US Adults. Barna Research Group, 2001).

Finally, five out of six couples that read His Needs Her Needs were found to experience significant improvement in marital satisfaction (Julie D. Braswell. The Impact of Reading a Self-Help Book on the Topic of Gender Differences on One's Perceived Quality of Marriage. Doctoral Dissertation, 1998, Azusa Pacific University.

Granted, these findings are not conclusive evidence that the model I use is superior to every other model of marital satisfaction. But when you find one that works for every couple that actually follows it, you have to be impressed. And coming as I did from almost zero effectiveness to almost complete success, I can't begin to tell you how convinced I am that it's the solution to a very difficult problem we face in our society.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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The setting: Recall the dog that "we" adopted, she had been kenneling him to prevent poop in the house. We were out to dinner last night, she didn't kennel the dog for whatever reason, he [censored] (and I use that word expressively because it was 4-5 piles of crap on the newest carpet in the house)...My reaction was to help, help with disgusting chore... whatever, Fast forward to this morning, Nice morning, we fell asleep on our awesome couches, she brought me coffee YAH, pleases and thankyous all around, pleasant, tv together, POJA'd doing laundry next, I bring cold wrinkled laundry from dryer up to bedroom, FAIL.

Here is what I can understand. Her expectation was to use the dryer to un-wrinkle clothes. When she expressed this preference I said OK, I will re-dry the shirts after I sort out the socks that don't need to be "re-dryed to un-wrinkle" them. I proceeded to do so, and more laundry, and I stayed engaged with her the whole time, trying to discuss, not LB, not get angry, just laundry NO BIG DEAL

For the next 30 minutes nothing I could say or do would be the end of it. First she is upset that I don't respect her opinion to second I won't accept her way as possibly more efficient so she is mad. All while I am DOING laundry. She left the house without saying goodbye, told me how I acted so uncaring and felt unloved.

Help, I don't have this power over her.0 That I could be the source of all these emotional drains.



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Have you considered using the MB program? When do-it-yourself doesn't work, how about trying something that has worked for others?


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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Originally Posted by bigpicture
The setting: Recall the dog that "we" adopted, she had been kenneling him to prevent poop in the house. We were out to dinner last night, she didn't kennel the dog for whatever reason, he [censored] (and I use that word expressively because it was 4-5 piles of crap on the newest carpet in the house)...My reaction was to help, help with disgusting chore... whatever, Fast forward to this morning, Nice morning, we fell asleep on our awesome couches, she brought me coffee YAH, pleases and thankyous all around, pleasant, tv together, POJA'd doing laundry next, I bring cold wrinkled laundry from dryer up to bedroom, FAIL.

Here is what I can understand. Her expectation was to use the dryer to un-wrinkle clothes. When she expressed this preference I said OK, I will re-dry the shirts after I sort out the socks that don't need to be "re-dryed to un-wrinkle" them. I proceeded to do so, and more laundry, and I stayed engaged with her the whole time, trying to discuss, not LB, not get angry, just laundry NO BIG DEAL

For the next 30 minutes nothing I could say or do would be the end of it. First she is upset that I don't respect her opinion to second I won't accept her way as possibly more efficient so she is mad. All while I am DOING laundry. She left the house without saying goodbye, told me how I acted so uncaring and felt unloved.

Help, I don't have this power over her.0 That I could be the source of all these emotional drains.

The problem, BP, is that you constantly engage in Disresepctful Judgements when your wife tries to communicate her feelings to you ("you don't respect her opinion");

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In the final analysis, disrespectful judgments represent an effort to force our spouses to give us what we want in marriage, but it's often cleverly disguised. Instead of making an outright demand, we present our problem as if it were really our spouse's personal shortcoming. We try to "straighten out" our spouse in an effort to get our way.

At the time we rationalize our disrespect by convincing ourselves that we're doing our spouses a big favor, to lift them from the darkness of their confusion into the light of our superior perspective. If they would only follow our advice, we tell ourselves, they could avoid many of life's pitfalls-and we would also get what we want.

A disrespectful judgment occurs whenever one spouse tries to impose a system of values and beliefs on the other. When a husband tries to force his point of view on his wife, he's just asking for trouble. When a wife assumes that her own views are right and her husband is woefully misguided -- and tells him so -- she enters a minefield.

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3402_disrespect.html


If your wife tells you how she feels about something, your job is to listen. Not to argue. Not to justify. Not to "explain."

She thinks and feels what she thinks and feels - and your job is to try to reach a point of Enthusastic Agreement in solving the problem.

Nothing else.


If you cannot reach Enthusastic Agreement without arguing, then the conversation must end until you can again discuss it without being unpleasant.

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3350_guide.html


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"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." - Michael Shermer

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BP, It seems to me you don't like being told what to do (I don't like it either.)

Quote
Here is what I can understand. Her expectation was to use the dryer to un-wrinkle clothes. When she expressed this preference I said OK, I will re-dry the shirts after I sort out the socks that don't need to be "re-dryed to un-wrinkle" them. I proceeded to do so, and more laundry, and I stayed engaged with her the whole time, trying to discuss, not LB, not get angry, just laundry NO BIG DEAL

What exactly were you discussing? The laundry? What ever for? Do you think laundry talk will deposit conversation EN's in your wife's LB?

If it was no big deal, why didn't you just take all of the clothes (socks included) back to the drier?

What if when she told you she wanted to redry the clothes b/c it was the easiest way to get the wrinkles out, and you simply made her idea your idea? Her desire, your desire? Switch it around in your mind and pretend that it was your idea.






















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Originally Posted by bigpicture
HHH,
We are currently reading Fighting For Your Marriage so there isn't time in her schedule to implement more. She is already way behind at work and is putting in lots of overtime.

Like you told us in March, you didn't have time to read Lovebusters or get into the MB program because you were busy reading "Fighting for your Marriage."


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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