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Since we are talking about compatibility a lot on one of the other threads, and I thought this might be a good way for me to share my back story which I have been reluctant to share up until now. But first, a segment from Dr. H.,


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Choosing the Right One to Marry Link: http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi5068b_qa.html

While we are on the subject of compatibility, however, there are five criterion that I recommend to those who are looking for a marriage partner. The reason I have picked these five, which are usually not found in most tests of compatibility, is that incompatibility in any of these areas make the Policy of Joint Agreement particularly difficult to implement. As a psychologist, I save marriages by showing spouses how to change their behavior to create a fulfilling marriage. But the categories that I will share with you now are traits that even trained psychologists have great difficulty trying to change. And so when you date, look for compatibility in these areas.

1. Intelligence. You and he should be roughly equivalent in intelligence, within about 15 IQ points. Without having to take an IQ test, you can usually figure that out by comparing grades in school, although men are notorious underachievers in high school. College grades are a better measure of intelligence for both men and women. The quality of your conversation is another good indicator of compatible intelligence. Men who are stimulating to talk to are usually in your league intellectually. But if there is a large gap between you in IQ, both of you will tend to be bored by your conversation. The one with the highest IQ will find the conversation to be superficial, and the one with the lowest IQ won't be able to keep up. There is also a tendency of someone with a higher IQ to disrespect the judgments of the one with the lower IQ, and that's an absolute relationship killer. Respect is essential in marriage regardless of the quality of an opinion. If you both enjoy talking to each other for hours at a time, and you respect each other's ideas, you pass the test.

2. Energy. You should marry someone roughly equivalent to you in energy. If one of you lays around watching TV while the other scurries about and can't sit still, it's probably a bad match. The reason energy is an important determiner of compatibility is that so many of your lifestyle pre-dispositions will depend on your energy. Leisure time activities and sexual interest are particularly sensitive to the amount of energy you have. People high in energy enjoy activities that burn that energy, even after work, while those with low energy levels would find such activities to be exhausting. And regarding sex, the more energy a person has, the more sex he or she tends to need. Since leisure activities and sex are two of the best ways to deposit love units after marriage, incompatibility in these areas can make it very difficult for a couple to stay in love.

3. Social Interest. If one of you is socially outgoing and the other is an introvert, that difference can make the planning of social activities very difficult. The Policy of Joint Agreement dictates that you don't do anything unless you can both agree, and in marriages of extroverts to introverts, their area of mutual social comfort is very narrow. The extrovert will not be able to get to know as many people as he or she would like because the introvert hates meeting new people. And the introvert will be constantly challenged to tread into the terrifying waters of introductions. Yet, I am very much opposed to spouses going their separate ways after marriage (one goes to a party and the other stays home), so the social interest difference require very creative solutions to keep them together yet make their social lives happy for both of them.

4. Cultural Background. Culture determines a host of personal sensitivities. Take Christmas, for example. In the American culture, Christmas is usually a big deal for most people. But imagine growing up in a family where every year Christmas was celebrated with zeal, only to discover after marriage that you cannot celebrate Christmas at all. The Policy of Joint Agreement dictates that you don't do anything unless you can both enthusiastically agree and because the person you married comes from a family that finds Christmas offensive, you do not celebrate it. Even if your spouse were to give you permission to celebrate Christmas, his background will still make such a celebration very uncomfortable to him. From my perspective, The Policy of Joint Agreement would rule Christmas out until a way is found to celebrate it with mutual enthusiasm.
Cultural background does not only dictate sensitivities, but it also dictates certain skills in meeting emotional needs. In some cultures, outward displays of affection are discouraged, and yet you may need that from the person you married. To meet your emotional need, he must not only go against his cultural training, but he must learn to do something that he was never taught.

Sometimes when two people are in love, they feel they can overcome cultural barriers. But that's usually because their relationship has been rather brief. They have not yet had to wrestle with some of the conflicts that culture imposes on them. I counseled one couple who had fallen in love, yet one could only speak Spanish and the other could only speak English. Granted they could eventually learn each other's language, but with that would come a host of cultural differences that might be much more difficult to overcome. Time eventually proved to both of them that their relationship was not meant to be.

5. Values. Moral values usually dictate how we behave. The Policy of Joint Agreement and the Policy of Radical Honesty are moral values that I encourage all married couples to adopt because they create and sustain love. But even when these two important values are agreed to at the time of marriage, conflicts with other moral values can make the creation of a compatible lifestyle very difficult to achieve. Getting back to our Christmas example, it's a cultural difference that makes a spouse unskilled in knowing how to celebrate Christmas. But if you marry an Orthodox Jew, it's more than skill that will be a problem. He will probably be deeply offended by such a celebration. And that offense comes from his moral convictions, not just his cultural background. A discussion of values is always a good idea when on a date, because if you find your values to be very divergent, it will make it difficult for you to agree on a lifestyle that you enthusiastically share.

A question often asked in a compatibility test is "Would you be willing to give up your religion to please your spouse?" It's not really a fair question, because it usually doesn't come to that drastic measure. But the point is important, and I would rephrase the question a little differently. I would ask, "Do you have any beliefs that would prevent you from following the Policy of Joint Agreement?" That is actually more to the point. Is there some belief that is so important to you that you would be willing to let your spouse suffer rather that give it up? If so, you should be certain that your spouse shares the same belief.

The point in all of this is that wide differences in any of these five characteristics of people make it difficult, but not impossible, to create a compatible lifestyle. When dating, if you try to follow the Policy of Joint Agreement (never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement), you will be able to pick up on areas of incompatibility immediately. And if you find yourself fighting a difference in one of these characteristics, it's reasonable to come to the conclusion that it's not worth the effort to try to resolve it. That's when you break up and start in all over again with someone else.




My own marriage was missing compatibility in many of these areas before marriage. We most definitely did NOT have the same energy level, social interest, cultural background, and some (but not all) values, especially with regard to religion. We probably have roughly the same IQ, but we are VERY different when it comes to multiple intellegences.

Harley seems to be saying that relationships that are lacking these fundamental compatibilities will be short-lived. But I am living proof that this is not always the case, and the fallout of this is the reason I found MB. I am a bit discouraged, because not only do I have a reluctant spouse (who is probably a dry drunk, i.e., doesnt drink but isnt emotionally or spiritually sober, and most definitely acts out through other addictive behaviors like porn and video games, which he refuses to see as a problem, much less stop), but we lacked some of these basic elements of compatibility from day one. I also wasnt very physically attracted to him because of some specific body features that might not bother some people but do bother me.

Why did I marry him? I could spend the rest of my life trying to analyze that one! Basically I recognized that he was a good person and I believed that it was superficial of me to refuse him based on some things that I didnt like. I did NOT believe at all in romantic love, because every time I was in love it ended VERY badly (due to my choices). So the lack of romantic love on my part was deliberate because I believed it to be superficial and just a biological trick our minds played on us to propagate the species. And we were very good at communicating without getting into fights (because I was not emotionally attached). Also, I did feel SOME attraction. But I was attracted to the idea of marriage, children, etc. More personally, I was attracted to how I felt when I was with him because I believed I was fixing him. And though I had doubts about marrying him and several people who knew me were critical, he told me he would convert to my religion after we were married, so my biggest doubt was erased.

It was a classic case of the wife getting married in the hopes her husband will change, and the husband getting married in the hopes that his wife DOESN'T change smile Both totally unrealstic expectations that lead to a lot of resentment.

Within 3 months of the marriage I knew I made a huge mistake but had too much pride and fear and denial to do anything about it except emotionally withdraw and resign myself to a life in a loveless marriage. I kept the secret from him, tried to blame him and his habits for all our problems. I thought that having children would cause us both to change (I was right to some extent) and that the changes of parenthood would create compatiblity because it would change our lifestyles.

Despite my struggles to be physically intimate, we planned and conceived our first child, and had two otehr unplanned but very welcomed babies. I am apprently VERY fertile, so now I'm pretty much afraid to have sex at all because birth control failed two times. We DO have sex about once a month when I am certain that I'm not fertile (fertility awareness method), but it's not enough for him and not really enough for me either if I'm honest. But it's painful unless I "zone out" and am not fully present emotionally. Which really sucks. I'm capable of so much more.

After baby #3 I couldnt keep it in anymore, and finally told him the truth. Weve been in counseling with a useless MC, for whom my husband puts his best face on and who does NOTHING to challenge either one of us. I have shown my husband this sight and he thinks the POJA is impossible (because it would mean hed have to give up the things that give his life meaning).

I found Alanon and MB around the same time and have been working the 12 Steps, as well as listening and learning from all the wonderful sharing on this site. I have no idea where God will lead me or the relationship I am in, and I focus on living one day at a time and cultivating gratitude. Especially gratitude for the difficulties that this marriage has. It is these difficulties which have made me face the fact that my life is unmanageable. The difficulties are what got me to personal recovery, have helped break me out of the denial I was living in, especially about my family of origin and deeply held beliefs about myself.

I am VERY grateful to this site because I am learning the skills that I believe are necessary to have a truly united marriage. Ill admit, I struggle with some of what Harley teaches, especially about unconditional love. As a Catholic, I am taught that marriage is indissoluable for any reason, and that a pre-condition prior to marriage (even a reasonable condition such as mutual care) is grounds for annulment. There are several grounds for annulment in the case of my marriage, but I am committed to doing my part and Im open to Gods grace to change things if that is Gods will. It was my own willfulness and denial that got me into this mess, but I woulldn't change it at all because it has brought me closer to God, and has also brought three amazing children into both my life and my husbands life, and I am so grateful to have given him that gift and would never want to deprive him of their presence in his life.

Still, I am unbelievably lonely, although going to alanon meetings and immersing myself in the program is helping that. Im also very involved in my church. But these two things, especially alanon, are very much seen as LBing independent behavior by my husband, who doesnt see the benefit of me going to meetings and spending so much time talking to my sponsor and program friends. He liked the old me he married, who was insecure in her faith and VERY unhealthy in her thinking. We were incompatible to start with, and getting healthier seems to make us even more distant, although I wouldnt give it up. I have heard too many stories of husbands who came to sobriety only after their wives had spent years in alanon and practicing their program. If theres a chance that he will hit bottom and find a usefulness for a spiritual path that is compatible with mine, I owe it to him, the kids, and myself to allow him to find it and join me. Until then I am just doing my best, even when my best really sucks, because practice makes better.

I realize now that agreeing to marry my husband and stuffing my feelings for all these years is perhaps the most unloving and dishonest thing I could ever do to any human being, and I am deeply sad and remorseful. (Please, Bubbles4U, have some compassion with me, because I know you can be brutal with this sort of statement.)Still, I am where I am, living my marriage vows, him living his, the best we can. I have not gotten to the step where I examine harm, or the step where I make amends. But I know this one goes on the list, and I will let God lead me in making amends. Until then the information on this site helps me from adding more things to that list.

Thanks for listening and sharing your stories with me. I hope you will treat my story with kindness, and not just 2x4s!

I don't really want to get inot a discussion about my stich, because in alanon I have been learning not to ask for advice, but to rely on my higher power. I really am NOT asking for advice, though I know some of you will give it. I just think it is time for me to share a little bit more about myself so that you will know where I am coming from. You all have been so wonderful and courageous in sharing your stories and struglles, and I finally have courage to do the same, to the extent I can. BIG electric fence just crossed! Don't be surprised if I duck out for a few days. I sometimes "retreat" after opening up, but it's usually only temporary!

P.S. And no, I am not in a PA or EA smile I do have some boundaries that I won't cross.

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Great post thinkingitthru...

For us, Intelligence and Cultural Background are our incompatability points.

It was very brave of you to share your story. Thank you.

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Originally Posted By: thinkinitthru66
But the categories that I will share with you now are traits that even trained psychologists have great difficulty trying to change. And so when you date, look for compatibility in these areas.

My own marriage was missing compatibility in many of these areas before marriage. We most definitely did NOT have the same energy level, social interest, cultural background, and some (but not all) values, especially with regard to religion. We probably have roughly the same IQ, but we are VERY different when it comes to multiple intellegences.

Harley seems to be saying that relationships that are lacking these fundamental compatibilities will be short-lived. But I am living proof that this is not always the case, and the fallout of this is the reason I found MB.


He didnt say short lived, he said DIFFICULT. Compatibility can be LEARNED, but some areas are much more difficult to overcome than others, which is why you find yourself here. Incompatibility can be overcome, though, if both partners can learn to follow the POJA.

Dr Harley mentioned on his radio show that before he and joyce got married he wrote an essay about his vision of the perfect wife. He described a woman who would be a rugged adventurist who went camping, hiking, scuba diving, hunting, etc. The woman he married was NONE OF THAT. She does not camp, she is prissy and feminine. But he LOVED doing all that. But since he loved Joyce more, he gave all that up and used the POJA to find a compatible lifestyle.

So while there may be difficult issues in learning compatibility, they can be overcome if both partners can use the POJA. You mentioned you were in Alanon. You have probably read that many alcoholics struggle with POJA, but it can be done.


"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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TT, is your husband an active alcoholic?


"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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ML, I'm not sure. It's only in the last few weeks that I've come to think that he could be an alcoholic, and I am working my way through VERY thick denial on my part. My sponsor uses the term "dry drunk."

My husband does NOT drink often. Maybe once or twice a year. But when he does drink, he usually gets pretty wasted. He's not a mean drunk, or even a nasty drunk. He gets a bit silly and sleeps for 2 days.

However, when he was in college (I didn't know him through his college days, though we were aquanited in high school), he says he drank a lot. But a lot of people drink a lot in college, so I never took that to mean anything before.

His dad is an alcoholic. His mom is a classic wife of an alcoholic, and she's been divorced and married several times, in and out of alcholic relationships. I believe her current husband, who is a very sweet man, is also alcoholic. Too much denial there. HER family was filled with alcoholics, as is my FIL's and step-FIL's families. Whether or not my husband is an alcoholic, he most definitely is an adult child of an alcoholic.

I have a hard time cutting through the denail, because most everyone I've ever been close to is a child of an alcoholic. In my own family, my dad is an adult child. He is also probably an alcoholic actively drinking but functioning well. On my mom's side, there are alcoholics in every generation, but her branch of the tree seems to be the "co-alcoholics" rather than the active drinkers.

The pattern runs deep for both of us.

Amazingly, believing my DH to be an alcoholic gives me more compassion for him because I can accept that it is a disease that cannot be controlled. I've been trying to control the symptoms (gaming, porn, emotional withdrawl) and my life has become unmanageable. I'm sure you can imagine without my going into detail. I am ashamed to say it, but I hate the person I am with him because I know it's not me, and I just can't seem to stop myself without major effort. That's why I "keep coming back" both here and alanon.

More later. Gotta get kids ready for school. Hope that starts to answer your question.

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ML, I had mexican for lunch today and thought of you smile

I can see where being from an alcoholic background would make POJA difficult for both me and my spouse. Even though I am not an alcoholic, I myself struggle with POJA. That said, I desperately WANT it!!!! But there are some things I won't compromise on. My religious faith is one, my emotional well-being is another. I would very much like for my husband to join me in those areas of my life, but he is not able to do that with enthusiasm. He comes to church with me and the family, and for that I am grateful. He resents my going to alanon and asks every couple of days how long I intend to go to them. He resents that I sepnd time talking to my sponsor about the things he thinks I "should" talk to him about. I udnerstand how he feels, and I feel bad for him, because I know he feels left out. I told him that he sounds a lot like the stories I hear from spouses of alcoholics who resent AA. He said he needs "alanon-anon" smile I encouraged him to try alanon as well (different meetings) but he has no interest. Apparently his life is not unmanageable enough yet. I'm just grateful that he "allows" me to go to a night meeting now and then, and I try to get to daytime meetings when my schedule allows.

As for the activities HE does, I have no interest at all in getting into online video games. His best friend and his wife do that, and he thinks we should too. But I see that as part of the problem, not the solution.

I wish we could develope some new activities together. I have suggested dancing (in part because I love dancing and it is a huge turn-on for me). I love working outside in the yard, especially as the weather gets nice, but he has allergies and is a rather "sedentary" kind of guy. I'd love for us to read books together and then discuss, but he doesn't read.

Sometimes I don't think he was ever in love with "me". I think he was in love with his idea or vision of me. He has even said that he married me not because I had all the things he wanted in a spouse, but because it seemed like the direction we "should" go in, and he saw that I could "make him a better person." That's not my responsibility! I know that kind of thinking is probably not worth dwelling on. But why else would he be so resistant to POJA? I've been in love before, I know what it feels like, and it most definitely makes me want to jump through hoops for the other person's happiness (as long as I don't have to compromise my faith and basic morals).

OK, done whining now smile

I am sure I've left out important details, but it's hard to know what is or is not significant.

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Viva la Mexicano!! hurray

Originally Posted By: thinkinitthru66
I myself struggle with POJA. That said, I desperately WANT it!!!! But there are some things I won't compromise on. My religious faith is one, my emotional well-being is another. I would very much like for my husband to join me in those areas of my life, but he is not able to do that with enthusiasm.


ok, TTT, this is a very confusing comment. You start off by saying you "desperately want it!!!" about POJA and then proceed to say how you adamantly REFUSE to do the things necessary to achieve that. crazy Doesn't sound like you are too "enthusiastic" about it at all!! If I say i desperately want to go to Cleveland, but by golly, I AM NOT LEAVING TEXAS!! Then that indicates I dont really want to go to Cleveland, I would rather stay in Texas.

And if your husband is not enthusiastic about your going to Alanon during the evenings, then why wouldnt you go to noon meetings? That seems like a simple solution that would benefit you both.

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As for the activities HE does, I have no interest at all in getting into online video games. His best friend and his wife do that, and he thinks we should too. But I see that as part of the problem, not the solution.


The goal is to become each others FAVORITE recreational activity and replace things that only ONE of you likes to do at the expense of the marriage. For example, my H does not like it when I go to AA meetings in the evening, so I simply schedule them for the daytime. That is simple enough.

The main point, TTT, is that when you WANT to do POJA you will find a way, but as you said you are not willing to do the things necessary to achieve that. There is a lot of independent behavior going in your marriage and if you want to improve your marriage and become compatible, a better solution is INTERDEPENDENT BEHAVIOR.

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Sometimes I don't think he was ever in love with "me". I think he was in love with his idea or vision of me.


I suspect he is probably not in love with you either given the comments above. But, that can always change!


"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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"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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IB is definitely a problem on both sides. I'm getting better, but I'm by no means perfect at it. And I do go to daytime meetings . . . there's only one night meeting and my husband seems to be OK with me going out one night a week.

I can see where my statement would be confusing. I want POJA. But my relgious faith IS more important than my marriage. It is the most important thing in my life. My relationship with God trumps my relationship with God, because putting anything else first is idolatry. That said, I very much find my marriage "within" my relationship with God. The two are not mutually exclusive.

I struggle with MB concepts because my faith teaches me to rely on God to meet my needs, not another human being. God may meet my needs through my marriage if my spouse is open to that. If my spouse is not open or unwilling (which is sometimes the case), I pray about it and accept that God gives me everything I need, even if it's not everything I want. He also does not do for me what I can do for myself, and this is where I see MB helping me a great deal. I know I have to do my part, and even if I do it haltingly, I am doing it.

Gotta run, dinner time. smile

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Originally Posted By: thinkinitthru66
I struggle with MB concepts because my faith teaches me to rely on God to meet my needs, not another human being. God may meet my needs through my marriage if my spouse is open to that.



TTT, the needs we discuss in the context of Marriage Builders are to create ROMANTIC LOVE. We are not talking about "needs" in the sense that we need air, water, food, shelter. But needs that when met would create ROMANTIC LOVE in a marriage. You are not trying to create a romantic, sexual relationship with GOD. The goal of Marriage Builders is to create a romantic, productive MARRIAGE, not to replace God.

So yes, we do depend on God and we sure dont put our marriage before God. Did you look really close at the Marriage Builders logo?


"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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GRR!!!!!

I just typed out a long post that didn't make it!

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Actually, I do think that God meets my EN too, through other people like family, friends, and yes, even my spouse smile That is what I meant by saying that I find my marriage within my relationship with God. I do a lot of IB in my relationship with God, too . . . big surprise, huh? Good thing his love is unconditional!

I have been thinking about what you said:

Quote:
The main point, TTT, is that when you WANT to do POJA you will find a way, but as you said you are not willing to do the things necessary to achieve that.


I think you are right. I am probably making a big mistake in pointing to our main difference (religion) and making that the reason why I would reject the whole idea of POJA. I'm not really doing that, but I can definitely see my thiknig that way from time to time.

The better approach would be to try POJA on smaller issues, have mutually satisfying experiences with it, and build on the foundation of success until we are able to deal the bigger issues. Until then, just accept that we do have some differences, that it's okay, because if we were exactly the same then one of us would be unneccesary smile

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I do have a question for you ML. When you and your DH were in the early stages of MB recovery, how did you deal with protecting yourself from your DH's LB?

I know you have posted a lot about the value of criticism, and the value of being radically honest. This is definitely a new belief for me (my mom is a VERY critical person and I vowed never to do to my husband what she did, and I threw the baby out with the bath water!). I am practicing it with as much kindness and grace as I can, although I know sometimes my criticisms are really just masking my desire to pick a fight. I do that less and less, though, and apologize quickly.

Anyway, even when I share my crticisms in the form of a "problem" for us to solve "jointly" through a calm negotiation rehearsed with my sponsor first, it still doesn't necessarily stop the IB. Other than knowing that I did my part, is there anything else that you have done to protect yourself from the LB behavior if you've ever run into this challenge in your own marriage back when it was harder work?

A great example of this is the gaming. I've made my position known (granted, it was pre-MB and probably done in a way that was somewhat, OK, very disrespectful!). Still, the complaint was lodged, and he knows how I feel. He spends most of his gaming time when I'm in bed, but it keeps him up very late at night, which means he wakes up very late in the morning, at a time when I could really use the company while tending the children. Frankly, I'm lonely in the morning. He's very aware of the problem and how it is affecting me, and he even says he's sorry, but that he just can't change his sleeping habits. The time that is most lonely for me is the weekends, because it's out of the normal school morning routine and he tends to sleep even later because he's not getting up for work.

I really want to lead by example. I also really DON'T want to be self-righteous about it. And given that he's reluctant to change, I know it will take time as I begin to put everything into practice. Have you ever found yourself in this sort of struggle, and if so, what did you do?

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Quote:
The better approach would be to try POJA on smaller issues, have mutually satisfying experiences with it, and build on the foundation of success until we are able to deal the bigger issues. Until then, just accept that we do have some differences, that it's okay, because if we were exactly the same then one of us would be unnecessary


Exactly! That is how Dr Harley taught us how to do it in his lessons. We started small and then branched out eventually to the big things. He suggested learning to POJA in the grocery store. Nothing goes in the basket until both are ENTHUSIASTIC about that item.

Our first attempts were a disaster, but once we got that down, it became easier and easier. We applied those skills to all other areas of our lives. Here is how bad our first attempts were in this post to Dr Harley over on the MB weekend forum [keep in mind I was the IB QUEEN!:

Hi Dr. Harley, we are struggling with the implementation of POJA. I knew this would be a problem for me because of my penchant for independent behavior. [I scored a 20 on your test and DH scored a 5] But he seems to continually engage in angry outbursts. Over micky mouse stuff, usually related to money, even though we make a good living and are financially comfortable.

Can you look at this dialogue, which happened in the grocery store today, and tell me how this should be done? This is the 2nd week in a row he has exploded in the grocery store. You had mentioned learning POJA skills in the grocery store and it is not going well!

MEL: does a salad sound good to you for dinner?
DH: that's fine
We approach the produce section and DH picks up a head of lettuce
MEL: I had planned on getting kale, romaine or spinach because there is no nutritional value in lettuce
DH: says nothing
MEL: grabs a bag of shredded romaine lettuce
DH: I REFUSE TO PAY THAT MUCH FOR A BAG OF LETTUCE!!! [it is $2.99 whereas the head of lettuce is $.89] PUT IT BACK!!
MEL, horrified and embarrassed at this outburst, tries to ignore him because she can't believe he is acting so disrespectfully over $2.99
DH follows her and says again: "MEL, PUT THAT BACK!! I REFUSE!!"

I take the salad dressing I am carrying, drop it into the cart and say "that's it, I am done" and leave the store. He follows me out to the car with "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you can go back in and get the groceries. I will stay out here and leave you alone."

We had a similar scene the week before where he went into a rage over tortillas. I tossed 2 packages into the cart and then decided to add another. [we had company coming] He pitched a fit and demanded I put back the 3rd package.

Dr. Harley, just so you know, I am 50 years old, have a successful career, and am financially comfortable, and can damn well afford tortillas and romaine lettuce.

Every time he has one of these meltdowns over micky mouse stuff, I can hardly stand him for a week. What do you suggest?


"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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Originally Posted By: thinkinitthru66
I really want to lead by example. I also really DON'T want to be self-righteous about it. And given that he's reluctant to change, I know it will take time as I begin to put everything into practice. Have you ever found yourself in this sort of struggle, and if so, what did you do?


The greatest motivator for change in my marriage has been to be radically honest with my H about his lovebusters. I lovingly, but firmly told him that his behavior was causing me to fall out of love.

But here is the kicker. It mattered to him because he was IN LOVE WITH ME. And why was he in love with me? Because I had been meeting his needs, avoiding lovebusters and most importantly, spending 15+ hours of Undivided Attention with him a week. He was not detached when I told him this so he was more than willing to make changes.


"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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Dr Harley's response to my post:

MelodyLane: There are two separate issues that should be addressed in your marriage: angry outbursts and independent behavior. The more important of the two is the angry outbursts.

The trigger for your husband's angry outburst is your independent behavior. It's the reason for his angry outburst, but it's no excuse. Your husband should attend anger management training until he can control his anger under all circumstances, regardless of how frustrating they may be to him. My position on this issue is repeated throughout my books, articles and radio show. Anger solves no problems -- they create new ones.

But even if your husband had controlled his temper, your purchase of salad should have followed the conditions of the POJA. After rejecting the head of lettuce, you should have asked him how he felt about buying Romaine lettuce, and if he felt it was too expensive, you should have tried to negotiate with him regarding alternatives. Once you reach an enthusiastic agreement regarding the type of lettuce you use in your salad, and the price you pay for it, that agreement will probably stand in future purchases.

Your husband should learn to avoid angry outbursts under all conditions, even when you violate the POJA. But you should also work toward asking him how he feels about the decisions you make before you make them. I understand that you may feel you did ask him, but you should not take his silence as an answer. Look for enthusiasm.

As to whether or not you can afford Romaine lettuce, from my perspective it's an irrelevant issue. The fact that your husband doesn't want to pay that much for lettuce is reason enough to put the purchase on hold until you can arrive at an enthusiastic agreement. His reasons are largely emotional, but even so, they should be factored into every final decision. The harder you try to find a mutually enthusiastic agreement, the better you will get at it. And as in the case of finding a salad combination that meets both of your quality and price sensitivities, every enthusiastic agreement will form the basis for future decisions that help you grow in compatibility.

Best wishes
Willard F. Harley, Jr.

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"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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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Quote:
The better approach would be to try POJA on smaller issues, have mutually satisfying experiences with it, and build on the foundation of success until we are able to deal the bigger issues. Until then, just accept that we do have some differences, that it's okay, because if we were exactly the same then one of us would be unnecessary


Exactly! That is how Dr Harley taught us how to do it in his lessons. We started small and then branched out eventually to the big things. He suggested learning to POJA in the grocery store. Nothing goes in the basket until both are ENTHUSIASTIC about that item.

Our first attempts were a disaster, but once we got that down, it became easier and easier. We applied those skills to all other areas of our lives. Here is how bad our first attempts were in this post to Dr Harley over on the MB weekend forum [keep in mind I was the IB QUEEN!:

Hi Dr. Harley, we are struggling with the implementation of POJA. I knew this would be a problem for me because of my penchant for independent behavior. [I scored a 20 on your test and DH scored a 5] But he seems to continually engage in angry outbursts. Over micky mouse stuff, usually related to money, even though we make a good living and are financially comfortable.

Can you look at this dialogue, which happened in the grocery store today, and tell me how this should be done? This is the 2nd week in a row he has exploded in the grocery store. You had mentioned learning POJA skills in the grocery store and it is not going well!

MEL: does a salad sound good to you for dinner?
DH: that's fine
We approach the produce section and DH picks up a head of lettuce
MEL: I had planned on getting kale, romaine or spinach because there is no nutritional value in lettuce
DH: says nothing
MEL: grabs a bag of shredded romaine lettuce
DH: I REFUSE TO PAY THAT MUCH FOR A BAG OF LETTUCE!!! [it is $2.99 whereas the head of lettuce is $.89] PUT IT BACK!!
MEL, horrified and embarrassed at this outburst, tries to ignore him because she can't believe he is acting so disrespectfully over $2.99
DH follows her and says again: "MEL, PUT THAT BACK!! I REFUSE!!"

I take the salad dressing I am carrying, drop it into the cart and say "that's it, I am done" and leave the store. He follows me out to the car with "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you can go back in and get the groceries. I will stay out here and leave you alone."

We had a similar scene the week before where he went into a rage over tortillas. I tossed 2 packages into the cart and then decided to add another. [we had company coming] He pitched a fit and demanded I put back the 3rd package.

Dr. Harley, just so you know, I am 50 years old, have a successful career, and am financially comfortable, and can damn well afford tortillas and romaine lettuce.

Every time he has one of these meltdowns over micky mouse stuff, I can hardly stand him for a week. What do you suggest?


I'm feeling a lot better about my marriage. Thanks for sharing smile LOL

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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
But here is the kicker. It mattered to him because he was IN LOVE WITH ME. And why was he in love with me? Because I had been meeting his needs, avoiding lovebusters and most importantly, spending 15+ hours of Undivided Attention with him a week. He was not detached when I told him this so he was more than willing to make changes.


I definitely see the value of being "in love" before pointing out the "problems." So does Harley suggest avoiding pointing out LB to a withdrawn spouse? In the mean time, does he offer any suggestions for protecting oneself from LB behavior while doing Plan A?

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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
And as in the case of finding a salad combination that meets both of your quality and price sensitivities, every enthusiastic agreement will form the basis for future decisions that help you grow in compatibility.

Best wishes
Willard F. Harley, Jr.



I'm not sure why this cracks me up so much! Mutually agreeable salad combinations! Does your DH enthusiastically eat Romaine now?

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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Quote:
The better approach would be to try POJA on smaller issues, have mutually satisfying experiences with it, and build on the foundation of success until we are able to deal the bigger issues. Until then, just accept that we do have some differences, that it's okay, because if we were exactly the same then one of us would be unnecessary


Exactly! That is how Dr Harley taught us how to do it in his lessons. We started small and then branched out eventually to the big things. He suggested learning to POJA in the grocery store. Nothing goes in the basket until both are ENTHUSIASTIC about that item.

Our first attempts were a disaster, but once we got that down, it became easier and easier. We applied those skills to all other areas of our lives. Here is how bad our first attempts were in this post to Dr Harley over on the MB weekend forum [keep in mind I was the IB QUEEN!:

Hi Dr. Harley, we are struggling with the implementation of POJA. I knew this would be a problem for me because of my penchant for independent behavior. [I scored a 20 on your test and DH scored a 5] But he seems to continually engage in angry outbursts. Over micky mouse stuff, usually related to money, even though we make a good living and are financially comfortable.

Can you look at this dialogue, which happened in the grocery store today, and tell me how this should be done? This is the 2nd week in a row he has exploded in the grocery store. You had mentioned learning POJA skills in the grocery store and it is not going well!

MEL: does a salad sound good to you for dinner?
DH: that's fine
We approach the produce section and DH picks up a head of lettuce
MEL: I had planned on getting kale, romaine or spinach because there is no nutritional value in lettuce
DH: says nothing
MEL: grabs a bag of shredded romaine lettuce
DH: I REFUSE TO PAY THAT MUCH FOR A BAG OF LETTUCE!!! [it is $2.99 whereas the head of lettuce is $.89] PUT IT BACK!!
MEL, horrified and embarrassed at this outburst, tries to ignore him because she can't believe he is acting so disrespectfully over $2.99
DH follows her and says again: "MEL, PUT THAT BACK!! I REFUSE!!"

I take the salad dressing I am carrying, drop it into the cart and say "that's it, I am done" and leave the store. He follows me out to the car with "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you can go back in and get the groceries. I will stay out here and leave you alone."

We had a similar scene the week before where he went into a rage over tortillas. I tossed 2 packages into the cart and then decided to add another. [we had company coming] He pitched a fit and demanded I put back the 3rd package.

Dr. Harley, just so you know, I am 50 years old, have a successful career, and am financially comfortable, and can damn well afford tortillas and romaine lettuce.

Every time he has one of these meltdowns over micky mouse stuff, I can hardly stand him for a week. What do you suggest?


Wow...

My DH has exhibitted behavior like this in public very infrequently. I mean I think it has happened 2 or 3 times for the 12 years we've known each other. BUT what he has done was make ugly faces at me in public to show that he was displeased about something I said or did. Without knowing anything about MB or LBs, I told him how it made me feel and asked him to stop. He explained that his folks did not mind having arguments & things like that in public, but stop he did.

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