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There is a thread over on SAA on this and I thought some here might find this useful too.

Originally Posted By: Dr Harley in Effective Marriage Counseling

"When I see a couple for the first time, I let them know that my program will require a minimum of fifteen hours a week of their time. If they can't dedicate that much time while I'm counseling them, I suggest they find another counselor because my plan won't work without it."


Quote:
But fifteen hours a week is usually not nearly enough time for couples that are not yet in love. To help them jump-start their relationship, I usually suggest twenty-five or thirty hours a week of undivided attention until they are both in love with each other again.
Policy of Undivided Attention



I am reading Dr Harleys new book Effective Marriage Counseling and in it, he says the above. He won't even SEE a couple unless they commit to the 15 hrs per week because he says the program won't work without it!

I am discovering this is very true. My H and I used to spend 20+ hrs a week together and in the past year that has slacked off tremendously. I can tell the difference. We discussed this recently and are actually now sitting down scheduling our UA time.

In the book, Dr Harley also says that the fastest way to fall in love is to schedule 15 hours of UA per week to meet the top needs of Affection, Sexual fulfillment, Rec Companionship and conversation. Those are the needs that get the biggest bang for the buck. I think Mark typed out this part. I will go look for it.


"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

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Check cwmi's thread last week I think


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Mark wrote this excellent post [thanks Mark! ]:

If I said the SF trumps all other consider5ations, that was not quite what I intended. But there are 4 intimate emotional needs. These are, SF, Affection, RC and Conversation. These are the ones that inevitably make the largest Love Bank deposits and the ones Dr Harley says that he focuses the majority of attention on.

Again, this is what Dr Harley says in his new book, Effective Marriage Counseling:
Quote:
So when I try to help a couple restore their love for each other, in spite of what they report in the Emotional Needs Questionnaire, I focus most of my attention on the four intimate emotional needs.
Not my words, but the doctor's.

These four create intimacy. When we think our relationship is romantic, these are the ones we consider and not things like DS or FS. We don't fall in love with someone because they earn a lot of money. The four INTIMATE emotional needs make a serious contribution to everyone's love bank.


So it isn't a case of sex being the overriding EN that trumps all else, but that the four intimate emotional needs, taken together are the fastest way to make serious Love Bank deposits and should be the things concentrated on during the time couples spend together, in other words, their UA time as we call it around here.

What this does is to meet these ENs which are more difficult if not impossible to meet in any other way and ensure that they are being met. Seldom does a person fall in love with someone based entirely on how he or she looks or based on the fact that they keep a tidy house. It is the INTIMATE emotional needs that we would call an affair if they are being met outside of the marriage. No one would bat an eye at having a maid clean the floor while you're at work two days per week. But if that maid spent hours golfing with a guy, we'd all see the problem at once.

Also from the book
Quote:
:Less lovemaking and recreational companionship from the wife leads to even less conversation and aff4ection by him. The downward spiral continues until there is little or no affection, conversation, recreational companionship or sexual fulfillment. When these needs are not being met, the feeling of love evaporates and a romantic relationship ceases to exist.


And
Quote:
::I have yet to witness a single failure (to restore the feeling of love)* when I've been able to motivate a couple to meet these four emotional needs for each other.*(My addition to clarify the subject of the paragraph rather than typing the entire page from the book)


He concludes the section which is in the chapter on the Policy of Undivided Attention with this:
Quote:
As we go back to my definition of a romantic relationship, remember that it consists of two parts: two people in love (par1) who meet each other's emotional needs for intimacy (part 2). Since meeting the needs for intimacy is the quickest and most effective way to restore love, it makes sense to begin with that goal when counseling a couple. Once a couple actually meets those needs for each other, it's only a matter of time before enough Love Bank deposits are made to trigger romantic love. When this happens, meeting intimate emotional needs becomes almost effortless, making ever increasing Love Bank deposits. This is the reason that the very (the doctor's emphasis, not mine) quickest and most effective way for a couple to make Love Bank deposits is to be in a romantic relationship.


I'm not suggesting at all that any other EN is unimportant or even less important than these four. But the doctor feels so strongly that they are the fastest way to make Love Bank deposits that they are the ones he tells other counselors to focus on getting couples to meet for each other.

Also realize that this is the section on the Policy of Undivided Attention. If you asked the question, "What should we do during our UA time?" the answer would be, "Meet the ENs of Recreational Companionship, Conversation, Affection and Sexual Fulfillment." This does not vary based on the results of the ENQ since these are the four intimate emotional needs that cannot be met at other times or with a lot of people around and should not be met by any other person in our lives. What specifically we do together to meet those four ENs during our UA time can vary from couple to couple. This is where the REI form comes into play and where improved communication between us might result in higher quality UA time for both of us, but the reason for the time is, according to Dr Harley, to meet the four INTIMATE emotional needs and not simply to have fun or to meet other ENs that do not leead to and at the same time result from intimacy.

I can meet my wife's EN for FS by going to work. I can improve on it by working overtime. I cannot meet her EN of Conversation and she cannot meet my EN of SF when we are not together. The time together needs to be channeled into meeting these four.

Think about that for a minute. Which ENs can be met without spending time together? Honesty can to some degree. FS can. DS might be. FC can be met with the whole family in the room and in fact only when that is true. FS requires that I go to work to earn money. Physical attractiveness can happen when we are leaving for work in the morning, when we go out with friends, when we fgo to church...

Intimate Conversation, Affection, Recreational Companionship and Sexual Fulfillment all require that we be together, that we are paying attention to each other and that other people are not making demands on our time. The best of all four happen when we are alone together in seclusion and no one else is with us. You simply cannot have intimacy without the intimate emotional needs being met. And they need to be met when we are together without a lot of people and distractions around us and that is our UA time and the needs to focus on during our UA therefor become the four Intimate Emotional Needs of Conversation, Recreational Companionship, Affection and Sexual Fulfillment.

The doctor points to affairs where the affair partner is less attractive than the spouse or where the affair partner doesn't have anything to do with good housekeeping skills. He talks about how people fall in love in spite of failure to meet the other ENs very well. Affairs are all about lies but the feelings can be so intense that people are ready to destroy two families in an effort to be together. They didn't reach that point by being good housekeepers and financial gurus. People fall in love because their intimate Emotional Needs are being met. The other ENs need to be taken care of. They become less important if the four intimate ENs are being met. But the others are the sauces and condiments of the relationship. The meat and potatoes are the 4 intimate ENs.

No matter what the most important are for anyone, these are the four to focus on for our UA time, since they can only be met during UA time and should not be met by anyone else. If we don't meet them during UA time, when do we meet them?

Make more sense now?

Mark


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Why, NED? How does it relate to UA?

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Originally Posted By: NewEveryDay
Check cwmi's thread last week I think


found it, Ned, Thanks!


"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

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I posted before she found Mark's quote, that's where I thought I remembered it was.


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Originally Posted By: OurHouse
Why, NED? How does it relate to UA?


OH, she was responding to my question in the last line of that post. Mark had written the post above which perfectly explains how the time is to be used.


"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

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Yep, great post by Mark, again! He writes novels. smile

Now if my H would actually buy into this, we'd really have something wonderful.


Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Originally Posted By: OurHouse
Why, NED? How does it relate to UA?


OH, she was responding to my question in the last line of that post. Mark had written the post above which perfectly explains how the time is to be used.


Thanks ML. I do remember Mark's post..very well written. I thought NED was referring to something CWMI had said about it and couldn't make the connection.

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bump


"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

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Another must read by MARK [I taught him everything he knows.. okok, I lied grin!] Great post, Mark!

"UA time, or more accurately, UA time spent meeting the four intimate ENs, is THE key to making all of this stuff work.

Lack of UA time leads to lack of ENs being met which leads to our Taker stepping up seeking that our needs be satisfied which strains our ability to limit Love Busters which stops the whole process from accomplishing what we wanted when we began, a feeling of being in love with each other.

When a couple spends time together meeting the needs of recreational companionship, intimate conversation, affection and sexual fulfillment, they are able to rapidly fill their accounts in each other's Love Bank. When the trend is toward a state of Intimacy, dwelling on past failures becomes less meaningful and as long as the trend continues, things get better over time.

The opposite though is also true. When no progress is being made and when our Love Banks are not getting enough deposits and our needs are going unmet then the things of the past become more meaningful to us as they are the recent past actions that predict to us the future more than our logical understanding of things.

This comes back to the problem of any memory with a high emotional content being easily recalled and once recalled all the emotions of the original event or episode shows up like clockwork within a couple of minutes of thinking about the event details.

So when we are laying down new memories that trend toward making us happy, feeling loved, etc and we feel emotionally fulfilled, contented and cared for our emotions are based on those feelings. Even when we briefly think of the past hurts, the pain associated with betrayal and those kinds of memories, we quickly replace those thoughts with the present good things that are happening or happened more recently and our emotions recover very quickly and we don't lose much in the way of feeling happy and contented.

But when we are NOT laying down new and better memories and are in fact not really spending enough time together to do those things, we tend to let our minds wander back to the memories of the betrayal and unless we make a conscious decision to change what we are thinking about before the emotions come flooding back, those negative emotions are going to predominate our waking thoughts.

Some people are able to do this better than others it seems. This is true of any traumatic event in our lives from a horrific traffic accident, to being abused by an adult when we were a child to being burned badly in a fire. (Much research has been done as it applies to burn victims learning to process memory triggers by making a decision when triggered to change what is being thought to something more pleasant and enjoyable and so short circuit the flood of emotions associated with being burned)

What takes place in cases of betrayal is that the person who betrayed us triggers the emotional response. The betrayal causes that person to become a directed stimulus, that is, not the direct cause of the emotional response but the thing that is always present when that emotional response takes place thereby becoming the thing that can trigger the response. So the person who caused us pain in the past becomes a trigger that causes us to experience that very same pain simply by being who they are. Any time we think about that person we feel the same pain all over again. Any Love Bank deposits made recently are wiped out, our Taker steps in to protect us and we spiral downward wondering where the bottom might be.

But when we spend time together actually meeting our spouse's ENs, and when our UA time is spent meeting the 4 INEs which cannot really be met win any other way outside of UA time, those more recent memories begin to give us something that begins to establish our spouse as the directed stimulus that gives us good emotional responses and so we spend more time being triggered into happiness than into depression, sadness and pain.

In simple terms, when our spouse is present when we are happy we begin to be happy whenever our spouse is present. If our spouse has done something so horrendous that his or her mere presence causes us to experience the pain all over again then unless new memories are laid down over top of those memories of being hurt he or she will forever remain our source not of happiness and well being but of unhappiness and fear.

In other words, the WS has to do so much to make up for the pain caused by the affair that it overwhelms the emotions of the BS and they begin to let the feelings of now outweigh the horror of the past.

I will also say that I think this is much easier in marriages that were actually pretty good for the most part before the affair and in the ones that were pretty dysfunctional before the affair the dysfunction becomes magnified afterward and must be dealt with as part of the healing process.

Couples also often forget that their are three parts or periods of recovery that cannot be bypassed and each one must be dealt with in order to recover and restore the relationship.

The first step is a time of individual healing for both BS and WS. They each have different demons to deal with and they cannot really help each other very much in the process. The best they can do is to be there to support each other through this step. Individual counseling can help with this step more than couples therapy.

The second part of the process is healing as a couple. This is where the most time is normally spent. This is when huge amounts of UA time pays huge dividends in the relationship. This is where past hurts and resentments are left behind by both spouses and they begin to work together again as a team, or in many cases, to do so for the first time in their marriage. This is the time when marriage counseling can actually be of a help as long as the therapist focuses on the issues of the couple and not the individual issues of the spouses. This is when we learn about PORH, POJA and UA time becomes less forced.

The final step in the process is to forge a new relationship that addresses the problems that were present in the way the marriage was before the betrayal. Now we start to use the things we learned in counseling to actually prevent us from hurting each other and so can actually start doing the things we learned in the previous step. We start to use POJA to prevent our spouse being hurt and use PORH to make sure our own emotional state is not fostering resentment.

Before a couple can become whole, each partner in the marriage must be a whole person. When two people are broken and so just happen to fit together because where one is missing pieces the other completes the puzzle neither can really function as the spouse of the other. They are each relying entirely on the other for completion. Its like finding two broken bottles and trying to fit the two biggest broken pieces together. Even if you get a fit you don't have a viable container.

But when each bottle is whole then either one can be viable by itself. And then the two can come together to become a couple rather than each having to be fixed or completed by some aspect of the other.

What happens in betrayal is that both partners are smashed to pieces. The longer the betrayal lasts, especially after discovery, the longer the healing takes and the less likely that all the pieces can be put back together. The affair acts like a hammer smashing things into ever smaller and smaller bits until in some cases melting the whole thing down and starting over to make something new out of the debris is the only possible solution. Even these couples might eventually be able to become one again, but the individual healing time can take so long that they might simply give up long before it can happen.

But when each person is working on their own issues, fixing their own brokenness, healing their own ravaged emotions then very soon after the process starts a couple can start to move forward as a team and can begin to be one of the two and make marriage as it should have been all along.

In a dysfunctional relationship, the fit is dependent on the brokenness of each other. We each get from the other what we need to complete ourselves and so when it is missing we become unable to function as an individual. Our identity is shaped by our brokenness in such a way that we seek completeness rather than fulfillment from others. So we never really reach that two becoming one status since neither of is is a whole person to begin with.

If I am half and she is half then together we must each remain stagnant to avoid changing the fit. We can't grow or change or improve because as soon as one of us does that we don't line up anymore.

What really happens in most marriages based on this method of fitting together is that one is less than half and the other tries to be more than half. This ends up being the marriage between two Renters and seldom will it lead to marital bliss unless both partners learn how to fix their own half of the whole which as it applies to marriage means that each must first become complete in and of themselves. For two to become one, each of the two must be whole unto themselves."

[\lecture]
Mark

here


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Originally Posted By: Mark
Before a couple can become whole, each partner in the marriage must be a whole person. When two people are broken and so just happen to fit together because where one is missing pieces the other completes the puzzle neither can really function as the spouse of the other. They are each relying entirely on the other for completion. Its like finding two broken bottles and trying to fit the two biggest broken pieces together. Even if you get a fit you don't have a viable container.

But when each bottle is whole then either one can be viable by itself. And then the two can come together to become a couple rather than each having to be fixed or completed by some aspect of the other.

What happens in betrayal is that both partners are smashed to pieces. The longer the betrayal lasts, especially after discovery, the longer the healing takes and the less likely that all the pieces can be put back together. The affair acts like a hammer smashing things into ever smaller and smaller bits until in some cases melting the whole thing down and starting over to make something new out of the debris is the only possible solution. Even these couples might eventually be able to become one again, but the individual healing time can take so long that they might simply give up long before it can happen.

But when each person is working on their own issues, fixing their own brokenness, healing their own ravaged emotions then very soon after the process starts a couple can start to move forward as a team and can begin to be one of the two and make marriage as it should have been all along.

In a dysfunctional relationship, the fit is dependent on the brokenness of each other. We each get from the other what we need to complete ourselves and so when it is missing we become unable to function as an individual. Our identity is shaped by our brokenness in such a way that we seek completeness rather than fulfillment from others. So we never really reach that two becoming one status since neither of is is a whole person to begin with.

If I am half and she is half then together we must each remain stagnant to avoid changing the fit. We can't grow or change or improve because as soon as one of us does that we don't line up anymore.

What really happens in most marriages based on this method of fitting together is that one is less than half and the other tries to be more than half. This ends up being the marriage between two Renters and seldom will it lead to marital bliss unless both partners learn how to fix their own half of the whole which as it applies to marriage means that each must first become complete in and of themselves. For two to become one, each of the two must be whole unto themselves.


Minus the affair part, I have never seen a more perfect analogy for my own marriage. I bolded the parts that seem especially significan to my reading. Without going into a whole lot of detail, I was an emotional mess when I met my spouse, and he seemed like the opposite of what I HAD been dating up to that point, so I decided he must be the one. Even though I knew I was not in any place to be in a committed relationship, much less marriage.

Im now at a place where I want to become a whole person. My husband thinks he is already a whole person and doesnt want to do any more individual counseling because its never done any good before (hes been in counseling a good portion of his life). He thinks hes fine the way he is.

Thank you ML for quoting this passage from Mark. I think I will share this section with my spouse and see what the response is.

How does UA help in the case of a relationship with a "renter"? I would even go so far as to say that both myself and my spouse are renters, although I am actively trying to move beyond that. You've got my buy-in, the habits just aren't formed and working like clockwork yet smile

(Of course, that's only because ML is such a great salesperson!)

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Men marry women hoping that they will never change.

Women marry men hoping that they can get them to change.

They both end up disappointed.

Think,

What if you just get whole all on your own? You don't have to be alone to work on just yourself.Fix your side of the relationship and the whole improves based on only what you are able to fix.

Around here we think of ENs, Love Busters and all the rest of the pieces as individual parts of the program. In part that comes from only being able to learn one part at a time, but as we start to put all the pieces together and provide Care, Protection, Time and Honesty for our spouse, then our spouse can make a decision to either join us on the journey or to abandon the relationship.

He might also simply take the improved version of you and decide that he still doesn't want to invest in improving his half and that is where boundaries come into play. But before you can draw a line in the sand, you have to be sure that the sand isn't shifting or that it will support your weight and isn't quicksand.

So by meeting his ENs, avoiding Love Busters yourself, using POJA to make your own decisions even if he doesn't use it in return, and becoming a totally honest person both as it relates to your activities and emotionally, then he will either get on board or not. If you don't do those things then you can't expect him to do them at all.

It really goes back to the principal that Jesus taught that before we can expect to eliminate the speck from another person's eye, we must first be certain that our own vision is not impaired by a log that is sticking out of our own eye. We all have things that we should be doing better and in marriage the growth needs to be to the benefit of the marriage.

Dr Harley has said that whenever we attempt to resolve any conflict in marriage the goal should be to preserve our love for each other over and above finding resolution. Each of us only has control over what we will do ourselves and we can have no control over the actions of our spouse. Any time that we seek to do anything that our spouse is not on board with and we cannot gain his or her enthusiastic agreement, then in order to feed the marriage rather than to take away from it, we must be certain that we don't take that path no matter how badly we want to do it.

It is easy to say that things would be better if our spouse would just ____ (fill in the blank) but what we are really saying is that we would be happy if only he or she would do what we want and that is the Taker in us talking and our Taker doesn't care if he or she is happy only that we are happy.

What Im trying to say here is that if we make ourselves the best that we can be and we make the improvements that make us who we were meant to be and if we become a whole, healthy individual then our spouse has only two options available. He or she can either adapt or change themselves or they can continue in their brokenness. If they choose to do the first, then they two can become whole and healthy. If they choose to do that latter, then we can decide then if what we will do in response is to remain in the relationship or separate until such time as they decide to work on their own problems and issues.

This really becomes one of those Plan B situations. It doesnt have to lead to divorce and doesnt even have to be one in which we stop all contact. It can be a separation for the purpose of demonstrating our unwillingness to live that way any longer and our willingness to live alone rather than remain in the dysfunctional relationship.

But until we have grown so much that we can no longer remain, we can just keep doing what WE need to do to become whole and healthy and see if it triggers the same in our spouse. There is always time to end the relationship but only one chance to try to fix it in most cases.

Mark

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Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Men marry women hoping that they will never change.

Women marry men hoping that they can get them to change.

They both end up disappointed.


Did you read the thread I started sharing my own story? I think I used that story almost exactly smile

Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Think,

What if you just get whole all on your own? You don't have to be alone to work on just yourself. Fix your side of the relationship and the whole improves based on only what you are able to fix.


Thats what I have been doing for my entire marriage. To be fair, my husband has also gone through brief phases of working on himself and is thus a much more mature human being to be around than when we first got married. Ive only been using my alanon tools and now MB tools for a very short time, though. It took MANY years for me to get to the point of actually being honest with him about my feelings, and it is still very hard, and I fall off the wagon and go along to get along sometimes, though. I have to remind myself that even a few months ago I couldn't even identify and name my feelings, much less be honest about them with another person, especially my spouse! BIG progress there!

What is hardest for me is that I dont believe that he is honest. Im not saying that my husband is in the habit of consciously lying. I mean the more subtle denial of his own feelings. He also goes along to get along. Part of the reason I married him is because we hardly ever had a fight, and when we did, he obviously saw the merit of my argument and backed down (ha!). Actually, he was being a doormat and avoiding conflict, making temporary changes to keep me happy. We got along so it made sense for us to get married, right? Now I treasure the good hard discussions where both of us honestly express our point of view, because at least we are being real. That is where intimacy and closeness happen for me. He doesnt want to go there, though, and he will do anything to keep me happy so that we dont have to go there. But as his resentment builds up, every couple of months he explodes and we have a really damaging fight that removes the whole dang BOTTOM of my love bucket! Luckily I AM learning to set some boundaries with this now, sometimes by physically removing myself and stating that when hes ready to express his anger in a more respectful way, I am available to listen without judgment. I think it will take a LOT more of practicing with this boundary before I see some change in him, but I do think I will see it here eventually.

Originally Posted By: Mark1952
He might also simply take the improved version of you and decide that he still doesn't want to invest in improving his half and that is where boundaries come into play. But before you can draw a line in the sand, you have to be sure that the sand isn't shifting or that it will support your weight and isn't quicksand.


I like your analogy, but Im not really sure what it means. Can you give an example?

Originally Posted By: Mark1952
So by meeting his ENs, avoiding Love Busters yourself, using POJA to make your own decisions even if he doesn't use it in return, and becoming a totally honest person both as it relates to your activities and emotionally, then he will either get on board or not. If you don't do those things then you can't expect him to do them at all.


This is my current game plan. Do my best and succeed, or do my best, fail, learn, and keep at it.

The vows I chose to say at our wedding started, I promise to be true to you . . . It was a come to Jesus moment when I realized that by going along to get along I was actually NOT keeping the vow I said.

Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Dr Harley has said that whenever we attempt to resolve any conflict in marriage the goal should be to preserve our love for each other over and above finding resolution. Each of us only has control over what we will do ourselves and we can have no control over the actions of our spouse. Any time that we seek to do anything that our spouse is not on board with and we cannot gain his or her enthusiastic agreement, then in order to feed the marriage rather than to take away from it, we must be certain that we don't take that path no matter how badly we want to do it.


We have a phrase in alanon that expresses this sentiment, in more general terms: I can be right, or I can be happy. I shared this with my husband (not in the context of marriage, just general) and he said he would rather be right smile LOL! If Im honest, that was my first reaction to this idea too! (IB is a BIG problem in our house, can you tell?) But I am beginning to see the wisdom in this, and Im able to practice this principle in other relationships and find that happiness is indeed more satisfying that being right. In fact, I already KNOW that Im right anyway, so why bother trying to convince the other person! (hehehehe) I try to find humor in our differences as much as I can. Sometimes Im able to, other times I get stuck in a pity party smile

Originally Posted By: Mark1952
It is easy to say that things would be better if our spouse would just ____ (fill in the blank) but what we are really saying is that we would be happy if only he or she would do what we want and that is the Taker in us talking and our Taker doesn't care if he or she is happy only that we are happy.


We have another phrase in alanon . . . that we can find contentment and even happiness whether the alcoholic is drinking or not. I went into alanon not because of an active drinker, but because of the generational effects of the family disease of alcoholism in my parents families and my husbands families on my life. (Only after two years in the program am I able to admit that there ARE active drinkers in my life, and I might be married to one of them . . . still not ready to admit that though.) So I take that phrase to mean that hanging my happiness on the fill in the blank and making happiness dependant on the actions of another person (whether it be my spouse, parents, friends, kids, etc.) isnt even the Taker in me talking. Its the denial in me talking. Happiness is MY responsibility; he can choose to be a part of that, or not. Im not sure how well this jives with MB, but it definitely seems to be something Im learning in my other program.

Originally Posted By: Mark1952
What Im trying to say here is that if we make ourselves the best that we can be and we make the improvements that make us who we were meant to be and if we become a whole, healthy individual then our spouse has only two options available. He or she can either adapt or change themselves or they can continue in their brokenness. If they choose to do the first, then they two can become whole and healthy. If they choose to do that latter, then we can decide then if what we will do in response is to remain in the relationship or separate until such time as they decide to work on their own problems and issues.


Seeing that past behavior is usually a pretty good predictor of future behavior, I am pretty sure that is where I am headed, although anything can happen. As Ive said, Ive been working on my side of the street for a LONG time now, and it has lead to me and my spouse growing VERY far apart in many ways. But I think that is in part due to my onw self-righteousness at times, and also my IB, which triggers his IB, which triggers MY IB, ad nauseum. He wants me to be like the old me that he dated. I think our interactions are MUCH MUCH healthier than they were when we first dated, or when we got married, and even much better than even a year ago because of the boundaries I am setting for myself. But at the same time, our current interactions, while healthier, do not seem to be increasing our romantic love for each other. My CARING love for my spouse has increased a lot, though. I used to tolerate a lot of MY OWN disrespectful behavior toward my spouse, and once I saw it for what it was, my whole way of relating to him changed. His way of relating to me has not changed, though. At least not yet.

Originally Posted By: Mark1952
This really becomes one of those Plan B situations. It doesnt have to lead to divorce and doesnt even have to be one in which we stop all contact. It can be a separation for the purpose of demonstrating our unwillingness to live that way any longer and our willingness to live alone rather than remain in the dysfunctional relationship.

But until we have grown so much that we can no longer remain, we can just keep doing what WE need to do to become whole and healthy and see if it triggers the same in our spouse. There is always time to end the relationship but only one chance to try to fix it in most cases.


I cant even imagine what Plan B would look like in my situation. Hes the breadwinner, and I cant imagine separating him from our kids. This is where I turn it over to God. I also know that I am not there yet. I made a promise that I would not make any major decisions until Id worked all 12 steps in my alanon program, and Im taking my thoughtful time with that. Until then, I also get lots of opportunity to practice using MB tools also. Whatever decision must be made, when the time comes I will know that Ive done my best. Im a huge Alanis Morrisette fan, and she has a song that goes, The only way out is through, the only way well get better.

Thanks for your response, by the way. Lots of good stuff to think about for all of us.

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Ok, enough about me . . . . I would love to see more comments on the original topic of UA, and apologize for the detour smile

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thinkin, I didn't make a promise, but I also decided not to make the "stay or go" decision until I completed my 12 steps. In retrospect, that was the right decision for me, like how Dr. Harley talks about Ellen taking a year to "get her ducks in a row" in one of the When to Call it Quits newsletters. One thing I do want to say to you about promises, though, is that MB gives you the idea of joint agreement, which is in part not to do things that you are not enthusiastic about. IOW if you become no longer enthusiastic to complete your 12 steps first, that's okay, too. In Paths to Recovery in the Step 6 chapter one woman describes her decision to leave her marriage at that step. What I am asking you is to consider shifting your perspective of staying because you made a promise, to staying because you are making a choice. A choice you can remake as you get more information. What do you think?


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Just remember that your 12 steps are your steps to take and do not apply to anyone else, even your husband.

My sand analogy BTW is trying to say that you have to be sure that YOU are on solid ground before you can issue an ultimatum to someone else. If you are claiming your position is right, it has to be exactly right and not just almost right or better than another person's positions.

Or in a more violent mode...

Before you pick the hill to die on, make sure that you have chosen the right hill.

Mark

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Originally Posted By: NewEveryDay
thinkin, I didn't make a promise, but I also decided not to make the "stay or go" decision until I completed my 12 steps. In retrospect, that was the right decision for me, like how Dr. Harley talks about Ellen taking a year to "get her ducks in a row" in one of the When to Call it Quits newsletters. One thing I do want to say to you about promises, though, is that MB gives you the idea of joint agreement, which is in part not to do things that you are not enthusiastic about. IOW if you become no longer enthusiastic to complete your 12 steps first, that's okay, too. In Paths to Recovery in the Step 6 chapter one woman describes her decision to leave her marriage at that step. What I am asking you is to consider shifting your perspective of staying because you made a promise, to staying because you are making a choice. A choice you can remake as you get more information. What do you think?


Wow. You can't even imagine the burden that lifted from my shoulders as I read that. It makes perfect sense. And I suck at promises anyway.

BTW, I love your screen name. It has been a very powerful message to me that every morning I wake up, I get to make the choice again. I don't mke tomorrow's choice, or next month's choice, or next year's. Just today's. And if I screwed up yesterday, that's ok, because today I can choose differently. Or not smile

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Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Just remember that your 12 steps are your steps to take and do not apply to anyone else, even your husband.

My sand analogy BTW is trying to say that you have to be sure that YOU are on solid ground before you can issue an ultimatum to someone else. If you are claiming your position is right, it has to be exactly right and not just almost right or better than another person's positions.

Or in a more violent mode...

Before you pick the hill to die on, make sure that you have chosen the right hill.

Mark


Gotcah. Having done the ultimatum thing when I was NOT on solid ground, I definitely know what you are talking about smile I have picked the wrong hill to die on in many a relationship, and die I did smile

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thinkin, I'm glad it helped smile


Me 40, OD 18 and YD 13
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