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I was asked elsewhere to start a new thread. So here it is!

I took a long break from the boards mainly because they had been causing triggers. Part of posting again is me experimenting to ensure I don't end up back in that place again.

Any questions? Ask away!


Doormat_No_More
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DnM, how long since the D-day?


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Originally Posted By: Doormat_No_More
No worries on the threadjack. Here's an example of our 15 hours a week, from this week's activities combined a bit with last week's. Note these are things WE enjoy from our lists of activities we like together. There is room in UA for activities you do in the same physical location that give you shared experiences without it involving a lot of constant physical affection...

Sunday: Read books together snuggled in bed for 2 hours, talked about what we were reading for another hour. 3 hours.

Monday: Cooked breakfast together (30 minutes). Family night that night, so no specific together-time.

Tuesday: Cooked breakfast together (30 minutes). I came home from work for lunch. We made love then had lunch together, then I worked from home for the afternoon. 90 minutes, but working from home I take frequent breaks too and we chatted in the kitchen several times even while I was working on my laptop.

Wednesday: Cooked breakfast together (30 minutes). Texted frequently throughout the day. Drove home for lunch, ate lunch together (45 minutes). Leftovers were yummy. Traded massages & made love 9PM to 11:30PM (2.5 hours).

Thursday: Cooked breakfast together (30 minutes). Started some research on the "common core" education thing, as I know very little about it. Took a lunch break from work and researched it together, her on the iPad, me on my laptop, next to one another, and talked about it for an hour over lunch. (1 hour, plus a bit here & there). Went to Home Depot together after dinner, bought a new refrigerator. Very exciting. (2 hours)

Friday: Cooked breakfast together (30 minutes). Got together with some friends to grab some Pho. Played games, stayed up late and ate food we shouldn't have (3 hours)

Saturday: Scheduled date night. Dinner, movie, snuggle time, etc. (4 hours)

Final tally: Right about 20 hours a week. And this is pretty typical for us; some weeks it's a lot more, some weeks a little less.

You need to find a plan that works for YOU. Dr. Harley's usual recommendation is to go on four four-hour dates per week. What we find works for us it to find reasons to spend time together doing things we enjoy: shopping, visiting, eating, cooking, a few hobbies, etc.

The end result is LOTS of time spent together doing things we enjoy. It may not be what YOU enjoy (for instance, cooking breakfast? Not on many people's radars, but we enjoy it), but it is what WE enjoy. When we started, we specifically scheduled our lunches together... these days, we just know what nights of the week we'll be free from other obligations, and spend them together doing stuff we enjoy.


I'll just reply to you here so as not to clutter up the other thread. I think what you guys are doing during the week sounds great. I really don't want my post to come off as a critique or criticism or anything like that. I'm just trying to get a better understanding of what you are doing since it seems to be working well.

That said, these things don't sound strictly like UA time to me:

1. Got together with some friends to grab some Pho. Played games, stayed up late and ate food we shouldn't have (3 hours)

Unless you mean you went back home alone for three hours. Time with friends doesn't count?

2. Read books together snuggled in bed for 2 hours, talked about what we were reading for another hour. (3 hours)

OK I can see how the hour talking about what you read could be counted, but reading books in the same room (even snuggling) doesn't sound like undivided attention.

LOTS of time spent together doing things we enjoy

But just spending time together isn't necessarily "UA" time?

Originally Posted By: Doormat_No_More
Dr. Harley's usual recommendation is to go on four four-hour dates per week.


I guess that was kind of my point. You guys don't do that.

Last edited by FightTheFight; 11/08/13 03:12 PM.

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FTF, you are correct, just being together does not count as UA time unless you are giving each other undivided attention. For example watching a movie or sitting side by side on computers does not count because your attention is not on each other. Time spent with other people is not UA time either. That time should be deducted. UA time should be spent in 2 to 4 hour blocks. We don't count anything under 2 hours because it is really not effective.

UA time spent at home is typically useless with couples who are not in love because there are a multitude of things they enjoy doing so much more at home. They tend to be easily distracted by anything. I do know 2-3 couples who are in love who spend the bulk of their UA at home, but they are the rarities.

The POUA is so critical to the development of romantic love that it is important to avoid cutting corners. Most people absolutely refuse to do it and never fall in love as a result.


"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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Yeah, my sense is that lots of what you describe, DNM, doesn't count as true UA time as understood here.

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Isn't success the ultimate measure, though? If it is working for them, its hard to argue with.

Is it possible to think you are in love, and not be?


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Originally Posted By: NeeraZycantel
Isn't success the ultimate measure, though? If it is working for them, its hard to argue with.


Well that's what I was wondering. DNM, are you in love with each other?


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Originally Posted By: Doormat_No_More
I was asked elsewhere to start a new thread. So here it is!

I took a long break from the boards mainly because they had been causing triggers. Part of posting again is me experimenting to ensure I don't end up back in that place again.

Any questions? Ask away!


Thank you DNM.

When I found this website over 2 years ago, reading your thread was a clear factor in my trusting Marriage Builders.

Yours was an example of a marriage dealing with significant differences of thought process and opinion, religious division, as well as infidelity issues. I was very impressed that a program could help two people with radically different perspectives, to come together and be in love. You are a great writer.

It gave me hope. I told my husband about your thread, and it illustrated that it is possible for 2 people with serious differences to find common ground. He was more open to the program. In fact, I have a brother who is struggling with some serious concerns about getting married, and I told him about you and your wife. Hopefully he will check all this out. Wish we had learned these concepts earlier on in the marriage.



Did your wife ever start coaching or counseling using MB principles?


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Since UA time is being discussed here I thought this is a fantastic show about UA.

Radio Clip on Undivided Attention
Segment #2
Segment #3


FWW/BW (me)
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Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Originally Posted By: NeeraZycantel
Isn't success the ultimate measure, though? If it is working for them, its hard to argue with.



It usually doesn't work, though, that is the problem. Dr Harley has been testing this theory for years and it takes 15 hours of UA to maintain romantic love and 20-25 to create. Sure, there might be some outliers, but it is very rare.

The bottom line is that much of what he described here is not what Harley would ever consider UA time. Watching movies, being with friends, playing on computers is not UA time at all. It is not UA time because they are not giving each other their undivided attention.

I am not doubting DM if he says they are both in love, but I do know that when my H and I slip under 15 hours we can tell a difference. Perhaps he can make it work with 5-6 actual hours. I have never met anyone who could do that.


"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: Alada
DnM, how long since the D-day?


July 28, 2009.

More in love with her every day.



I forgot that this crowd tends to be extremely detail-focused, and obviously skipped over many of the details that "fill in the cracks" on time spent together, as well as details about how we spend our time that I briefly summarized earlier. If you're really that interested, I could perhaps take some time to journal the minutes to give you an exact, accurate picture of how we're spending time together in a given week. It was an exercise I went over in excruciating detail every week for two years; happy to revisit if it would help someone. It just requires some brief journaling at the end of each day.

Suffice to say that the twenty hours I listed ignored our frequent phone calls, texts, Facetime, photos sent back & forth, etc. Puts us way over twenty hours and we are wholly integrated into one another's lives. People will argue about how to count time together when you're using technology to facilitate it on the forums until they are blue in the face and I'll not deprive them of their joy doing so :-)

The argument over whether or not a double date can count as UA time is an interesting one from an extrovert vs. introvert perspective. Regardless, it's not something we do every week; more like every month or two. I count it if we're in physical contact meeting intimate emotional needs the whole time, but don't count it if the guys go do their thing and the girls go do theirs!

As far as the core UA time goes, "four four-hour dates per week", for us, works out much more like four two to three-hour dates and one five-hour date. Your mileage may vary, and different people enjoy different things...

Originally Posted By: kerala
Yeah, my sense is that lots of what you describe, DNM, doesn't count as true UA time as understood here.


Read up on the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. Some will say time spent sharing an iPad shopping together isn't UA time. I say I'm not a Luddite and it sure as heck is :-)



Originally Posted By: DidntQuit
Did your wife ever start coaching or counseling using MB principles?


We had one session with Jennifer Harley Chalmers in January of 2010, who ended our session with a statement similar to "You're two motivated people doing mostly the right things, stop focusing on why things happened and focus on what you need to do now." Worked well, and that got us over the last major hurdle to recovery.

We read "Love Busters", "Surviving An Affair", and "His Needs, Her Needs for Parents" aloud together, typically one chapter each Sunday night. Getting through all three took us about a year. We independently read "Fall In Love, Stay In Love", Dr. Harley's book on how to counsel people using MarriageBuilders (the name escapes me at the moment, sorry!), and bought and started the Devotional book but that one was a bit too religious for my comfort level.

Our marriage quickly moved from the "one reluctant spouse, one enthusiastic spouse" type of couple you typically see on the boards to the "two enthusiastic spouses" type within a few weeks of starting to read "Love Busters" together. My wife saw immediate improvement in how I treated her, and began an ardent proponent of MarriageBuilders. We have a library of the books that we give away regularly and buy new copies of so that our library keeps them. Our kids learn the principles over the breakfast table, and manage their own romantic relationships with care.

In fact, that latter bit concerns me. They are so careful about their relationships that they aren't breaking up enough and trying new people out as often as I think they should...

Originally Posted By: FightTheFight
Well that's what I was wondering. DNM, are you in love with each other?


You can ask either of us. Yes. Constantly thinking about one another. The definition of "in love" is "feeling an overwhelming attraction toward each other". I can't say that it's always been that way over the past four years, but as long as we keep overshooting the mark on time spent with one another and focus on meeting our most important emotional needs, it stays that way. When the drift happens, you feel it, and MarriageBuilders gives you the tools to bring it up with your partner respectfully.

For instance, this past year I hurt my back. I spent three months mostly laying down while healing, and at this moment am working at a standing desk because sitting for more than an hour or so causes intense, painful inflammation. It made it EXCEPTIONALLY difficult to meet one another's most important emotional needs (sex was very painful for me, conversation was kind of dull because I never left the house, we couldn't enjoy our usual recreations together, it was hard to be affectionate when I was crawling around the house, etc.), and eventually my wife reminded me that we didn't seem to be spending the time we should. We came up with a plan to remedy it and stuck with it, and improved things under the new circumstance.

My back is much better, by the way... and our relationship is better, too. Relationships suffer when you're injured. It's really, really hard to remain romantic when you can't move.

Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
The bottom line is that much of what he described here is not what Harley would ever consider UA time. Watching movies, being with friends, playing on computers is not UA time at all. It is not UA time because they are not giving each other their undivided attention.


I disagree strongly with the blanket statements. It's all in how you're doing it. Giving a back rub while watching a movie, followed by some SF? UA time, no question. Sharing an iPad while shopping together online? UA time, no question. Ditto doing research together on a shared computing device and spending hours talking about the topic like we did last week.

The double date thing? We could do a whole topic on how to be alone in a crowd. You're out of the house, you're snuggling in the back seat and holding hands (affection), going to do something fun together (recreation), you're talking about interesting topics that you would not have thought of alone as a couple without some outside stimulation (conversation), and then making love when you get home (SF). Sure, debate the finer points of UA if you like, but when you come home having built a memory and having made MASSIVE love bank deposits all night, it counts.

Texting each other, playing games together, talking on the phone, Facetime, writing messages to one another on Facebook, researching things your spouse is interested in so you can talk about them... these all enhance your love for one another.

It's helpful to re-read what Dr. Harley says on the topic: http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3350_attn.html . Sure, there are areas where we can improve. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. The key is this:

Originally Posted By: Dr. Harley
The Policy of Undivided Attention:
Give your spouse your undivided attention a minimum of fifteen hours each week, using the time to meet the emotional needs of affection, sexual fulfillment, intimate conversation, and recreational companionship.


And this:

Originally Posted By: Dr. Harley
When I apply the fifteen-hour principle to marriages, I usually recommend that the time be evenly distributed throughout the week, two to three hours each day.


When you're new, obsess about the hours. It's productive and healthy.

When you're already over-shooting the mark because you have an integrated lifestyle -- as we do -- there's no reason to stress out over the house. Make sure you're giving each other undivided attention two to three hours a day. That works in our marriage MUCH better than emphasizing the weekly number.

Today, for instance, is a typical day. We cooked breakfast together. Cleaned up together. Snuggled in bed for another 30 minutes or so chatting, then snoozing another 30 before I had to get up for work. Talked on the phone for about 20 minutes (glad I have a very tolerant boss!) this morning. We're meeting up over lunch. We're going to spend another hour or two together alone tonight going on a drive.

I travel a couple of times a year for work, and typically it's not to places my wife is interested in going. Tonight I'm catching a red-eye to New York City, giving the keynote at a convention, then flying home the next morning. We've already planned how we're making up the three hours or so we'll miss tomorrow with our weekend activities together. We spent several hours together yesterday planning our trip (on a shared iPad again! The horror! :-) ) alone with one another to Hawaii for our 20th anniversary knowing we were going to miss a day. Despite that, we plan to Facetime for a couple of hours tomorrow night once I'm back at the hotel.

Originally Posted By: NeeraZycantel
Is it possible to think you are in love, and not be?


My definition of "In love" is Dr. Harley's: to feel an overwhelming attraction toward one another. The actual "feeling" of being in love is an interesting one, and manifests a bit differently for every person. I measure it by "am I thinking about her most of the time?", and she does the same.

Out of time for now, sorry for any redundancies and the length; I lack the time to shorten it!


Doormat_No_More
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Thanks DNM for the reply. I find your current situation interesting. I think what gets people hung up about the UA time you are counting is the fact that UA stands for "Undivided Attention" and a lot of the things you listed do not include situations where your attention is undivided. In the very article you linked it says this:

Quote:
The time you plan to be together should not include children (who are awake), relatives or friends. Establish privacy so that you are better able to give each other your undivided attention.

Second, I recommend that friends and relatives not be present during your time together. This may mean that after everything has been scheduled, there is little time left for friends and relatives. If that's the case, you're too busy, but at least you will not be sacrificing your love for each other.

Third, I recommend that you understand what giving undivided attention means. It's what you did when you were dating. You probably would not have married if you had ignored each other on dates. You may have parked your car somewhere just to be completely alone, and to rid yourselves of all distractions. That's the quality of undivided attention I'm referring to here.

When you see a movie together, the time you are watching it doesn't count toward your time for undivided attention (unless you behave like the couple who sat in front of my wife and me last week!). It's the same with television and sporting events. You should engage in these recreational activities together, but the time needed for undivided attention is different -- it's the time you pay close attention to each other.


In your earlier journals, were you this strict about what you counted as UA time, or did you count things like movie watching and double dates? I wonder if you simply have found time to do these "extra" things as well as having 15 hours of "real" UA time and you don't even realize it? It might be an interesting exercise to find out for yourself.


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We spend two to three hours alone together meeting one another's intimate emotional needs every day, about six days a week. I track it daily, not weekly, following Dr. Harley's earliest recommendations of daily 2-3 hours time spent alone together rather than the "four four-hour dates" you commonly hear on the radio program these days. Makes it simpler for me and less obsessive. That we have some other activities I also count toward our UA time pushing us well over twenty hours is, IMHO, largely irrelevant.

That sums it up, more or less. We cooked breakfast together this morning for about half an hour, snuggled and chatted for another half an hour, will spend lunch together for 90 minutes, and will make a shopping trip prior to family time tonight for another hour. And that's pretty typical. If you don't want to consider that sufficient "alone time", that's your prerogative.


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Hi DoNoMo!

I think what you are doing in your marriage is great! You and your wife are very obviously living an integrated, interdependent lifestyle and sound very much in love. One of the reasons that you are able to do what appears to many as "cutting corners" on the MB program is because your marriage is not in crisis -- it takes less to tip the scales towards the in love threshold when that is the case. Mr. W and I find the same thing holds true for us.

You are obviously a very conscientious and intelligent man, and I'm sure you would not advise couples in crisis to cut corners because you can look back on your early days and know how important it was to follow strict guidelines, yes?

What a wonderful MB success story you and your wife are -- thank you for sharing. Congratulations!

All the best,

Mrs. W


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Originally Posted By: Doormat_No_More


I forgot that this crowd tends to be extremely detail-focused, and obviously skipped over many of the details that "fill in the cracks" on time spent together, as well as details about how we spend our time that I briefly summarized earlier. If you're really that interested, I could perhaps take some time to journal the minutes to give you an exact, accurate picture of how we're spending time together in a given week. It was an exercise I went over in excruciating detail every week for two years; happy to revisit if it would help someone. It just requires some brief journaling at the end of each day.


Thanks for the clarification, DM, but don't you mean that Dr Harley is very "detail focused?" He is extremely detail oriented, which is why this "crowd" follows suit. We know he doesn't add the "flexibility" that you do because that rarely works. Anyone who has been through recovery knows that the devil is in the details. Harley, being very detail oriented said in Requirements for Recovery that:

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley

The plan I recommend for recovery after an affair is very specific. That's because I've found that even small deviations from that plan are usually disastrous. But when it's followed, it always works. The plan has two parts that must be implemented sequentially. The first part of the plan is for the unfaithful spouse to completely separate from the lover and eliminate the conditions that made the affair possible. The second part is for the couple to create a romantic relationship, using my Basic Concepts as a guide.
here

Additionally, he wrote this in Effective Marriage Counseling:

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
"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."


He would not even accept a couple who would not commit to this.

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
"Our program for recovery only works when it's followed. The 15 hours of undivided attention we recommend is an essential part of the program because it provides the opportunity to meet emotional needs that cannot be met any other way. There are lots of excuses for failing to follow that aspect of our program, but in the end, failure to follow it results in a failed recovery."


Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
My program of marriage recovery is exactly the same as most weight loss programs. Whenever it's followed, the marriage recovers. I know of no other program of marital recovery that can make that claim. In fact, if you follow the advice of most marriage recovery programs today, your marriage will not recover. That's why a 1995 Consumer's Report survey found marriage counseling to be the least effective form of psychotherapy. Only 16% found the experience to be helpful."


Quote:
Suffice to say that the twenty hours I listed ignored our frequent phone calls, texts, Facetime, photos sent back & forth, etc. Puts us way over twenty hours and we are wholly integrated into one another's lives. People will argue about how to count time together when you're using technology to facilitate it on the forums until they are blue in the face and I'll not deprive them of their joy doing so :-)


And none of that is UA time, so you should be deducting that. You can't maintain the love in a marriage when you are apart. UA time is time spent together. Emails and texts and phone calls certainly add to the marriage, but they are not undivided attention time and Dr Harley will tell you that if you don't believe it.

Quote:
The argument over whether or not a double date can count as UA time is an interesting one from an extrovert vs. introvert perspective. Regardless, it's not something we do every week; more like every month or two. I count it if we're in physical contact meeting intimate emotional needs the whole time, but don't count it if the guys go do their thing and the girls go do theirs!


Right, it doesn't count. Under any circumstances.

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley in Undivided Attention
Corollary 1: Privacy

The time you plan to be together should not include children (who are awake), relatives or friends. Establish privacy so that you are better able to give each other your undivided attention.

It is essential for you as a couple to spend time alone. When you have time alone, you have a much greater opportunity to make Love Bank deposits. Without privacy, undivided attention is almost impossible, and without undivided attention, you are not likely to meet some of each other's most important emotional needs.
here

Quote:
As far as the core UA time goes, "four four-hour dates per week", for us, works out much more like four two to three-hour dates and one five-hour date. Your mileage may vary, and different people enjoy different things...


That's perfect, however in your initial post you were counting minor, short interactions. I see that trait in people who don't really take undivided attention time seriously enough to change their lives to accommodate it. Rather, they try to keep everything the same and just find ways to "count" everything they do.


Quote:

I disagree strongly with the blanket statements. It's all in how you're doing it. Giving a back rub while watching a movie, followed by some SF? UA time, no question. Sharing an iPad while shopping together online? UA time, no question. Ditto doing research together on a shared computing device and spending hours talking about the topic like we did last week.


A movie does not count unless you are giving your spouse undivided attention time during that movie. You obviously are not doing that if you are watching the movie. Now, if you are making out and NOT WATCHING the movie, that is a different story!

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
When you see a movie together, the time you are watching it doesn't count toward your time for undivided attention (unless you behave like the couple who sat in front of my wife and me last week!). It's the same with television and sporting events. You should engage in these recreational activities together, but the time needed for undivided attention is different -- it's the time you pay close attention to each other.
here

Quote:
The double date thing? We could do a whole topic on how to be alone in a crowd. You're out of the house, you're snuggling in the back seat and holding hands (affection), going to do something fun together (recreation), you're talking about interesting topics that you would not have thought of alone as a couple without some outside stimulation (conversation), and then making love when you get home (SF). Sure, debate the finer points of UA if you like, but when you come home having built a memory and having made MASSIVE love bank deposits all night, it counts.


I think we all know that a double date does not count as UA time. You can spin it however you want it, but when there are other people around there cannot be undivided attention, which is why DR HARLEY excludes it:

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
Second, I recommend that friends and relatives not be present during your time together. This may mean that after everything has been scheduled, there is little time left for friends and relatives. If that's the case, you're too busy, but at least you will not be sacrificing your love for each other.
here

On the subject of going out for UA time:

And about having it at home:
Quote:
One problem with spending your time for undivided attention in the house is that at least one of your children will interrupt your privacy. But even if you were to send all of your children out of your hours to child care, the environment of your home is likely to cause you to be less romantic. It's a place where you have been busy caring for children. Going almost anywhere else to be alone, giving each other your undivided attention when you are there, would tend to create more of an opportunity to meet each other's intimate emotional needs."


Quote:
Texting each other, playing games together, talking on the phone, Facetime, writing messages to one another on Facebook, researching things your spouse is interested in so you can talk about them... these all enhance your love for one another.


Yes it does enhance your love. BUT, it is not undivided attention and won't serve that purpose. We have lots and lots of couples who fell out of love doing all the above things when one spouse was traveling.

Anyway, you can spend your time however you choose, but it is very important to follow Dr Harley's program because some things really do contribute to the love bank and some don't.

Quote:

When you're new, obsess about the hours. It's productive and healthy.


Well, I am 12 years into recovery and it has been my experience and that of others with long term recoveries that they do tend to "obsess" about this step because of its critical importance. It is because we KNOW what happens when the time dips down. We KNOW what happens when we spend nights apart. And most of us are people who have been through Dr Harley's course and have taken TESTS that actually determine that we are in love.

It has been my experience that this is one area where you can't cut corners. Cutting corners only cuts your result.


"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 said to Taffy and me that some men don't NEED the full 15 hours each week. That is because their most important intimate EN's (usually one of which is SF) can be met in lesser amounts of UA time. He said that, for example, some husbands may have enough need-meeting done in 5 hours per week in order to keep them above the romantic love threshold.
He continued that for women, the MINIMUM of 15 hours is nearly always required, and that the time must provide undivided attention, meeting her most important intimate EN's, in order for the LB$ balance to remain over the threshold.

How does Mrs. DoNoMo feel about this?


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Originally Posted By: Doormat_No_More
We spend two to three hours alone together meeting one another's intimate emotional needs every day, about six days a week. I track it daily, not weekly, following Dr. Harley's earliest recommendations of daily 2-3 hours time spent alone together rather than the "four four-hour dates" you commonly hear on the radio program these days. Makes it simpler for me and less obsessive. That we have some other activities I also count toward our UA time pushing us well over twenty hours is, IMHO, largely irrelevant.

That sums it up, more or less. We cooked breakfast together this morning for about half an hour, snuggled and chatted for another half an hour, will spend lunch together for 90 minutes, and will make a shopping trip prior to family time tonight for another hour. And that's pretty typical. If you don't want to consider that sufficient "alone time", that's your prerogative.
Dr. Harley has said many times that when it comes to counting UA time, husbands consistently come up with larger numbers than wives. It is the smaller of the two numbers that is the one to go by. So, while you may consider these activities as UA time, does your wife do so, too? That is what counts in the end.


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First up: don't mistake my posts for dissatisfaction, by the way. We look at these things in fine-grained detail here that usually don't get examined this closely anywhere else. If you step back and take a look, we have four beautiful children who make good grades and are good kids. My wife and I have a deep, powerful relationship spending at least an hour or two talking together every day. We have causes we support and are active in. We have meals together as a family at least once a day, usually twice. I have a good job with reasonable pay where I've been for almost ten years, and we're ahead on our bills. We finally got rid of the turtle, but have a gigantic dog and two cats, and two robotic vacuum cleaners that I keep fixed up to keep the pet hair under control. Our interests are very, very family and marriage-focused. We have few friends, but we value our time with them and spend a day or two a month with those we care most about. We live in horse country at the end of a two-lane road, and fight the landscaping but never each other.

The time Melody is niggling about above are IN ADDITION TO the core 2-3 hours per day hours alone together. Today's very typical: 2 hours already, more planned, no kids awake when we were alone with one another, partially out in public (except those parts which would get us arrested). Most days are like this, some few are not.

As far as "does she count the UA", we sat down and planned each of these together. We went through the exercise where you list all your favorite recreational activities, for instance, and found those we could do together, and those are the ones we do. It's a good idea to revisit it every so often, and that's critical for figuring out what it is the two of you actually enjoy together. It's really easy to get stuck in the "this is what I like to do, and we do it all the time" thing, too, not realizing your spouse likes that thing enough to do it every so often, but not a lot. It was she who brought up that we weren't getting enough time together when I was laid up for several months earlier this year, so it's good to be meeting that core goal together.

Yeah, definitely men tend to be much more content just having their spouse "around" and having sex a couple of times a week, while women tend to (and mine does) really vale conversation much more frequently. Learning to bring up Love Busters and working to stop or avoid them is critical to stop the Love Bank leakage, and spending enough time together to cover for the inevitable small losses is always important.

Originally Posted By: mrEureka
So, while you may consider these activities as UA time, does your wife do so, too? That is what counts in the end.


She refuses to count. "I hate numbers" is her reason. Been very up-front with me about that :-) If I want to count, that's fine, but she doesn't want me holding her to some kind of benchmark. She goes by how she feels about me, and if she feels like she's not getting enough time, she complains very quickly and we remedy it. The complaining is part of the process, and when I break down the numbers as a result of that feedback loop it usually means we aren't getting 2-3 hours a day together.

Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Well, I am 12 years into recovery and it has been my experience and that of others with long term recoveries that they do tend to "obsess" about this step because of its critical importance.


Sure. We make sure to get two or three hours of UA a day, longer on Saturdays. My friends call that obsessive. It's a matter of degree, I suppose. The weekly totals matter less to me than the daily one is what I'm pointing out right now. A couple of hours alone together every day is much more our speed than two epic days on the weekend could possibly be, for instance.


Hmm, let's see, what are some legitimate areas for y'all to pull motes out? Here's a few:

* Marriage is better than it's ever been. Got pictures all over my cube here at work of my wife & kids, and they're pretty awesome overall. Four years ago is a bit of a distant memory, but there are things that trigger me. Going to the gym by myself is one, so until/unless I can persuade my wife to be on-board again with that, I'm sagging an extra 30 pounds around the middle compared to where I want to be. Grr. Argh.

* I still have to be the one to get the ball rolling to keep our house from overflowing with clutter. She'll pick up and clean dishes, that kind of thing, but I'm the ringleader on getting the house de-junked and enforcing the "one thing in, at least one thing out" rule to try to reduce our chances of ending up on an episode of Hoarders. Just not on her radar -- or that of the kids -- unless we're having guests over. Then it becomes drop-everything priority, which makes things kind of exciting shoving yet more stuff into the garage.

* I still work too much. Fifty hour work weeks are pretty much the norm. So while we get our time together alone as a married couple, and spend plenty of time with the kids, there just isn't much "me" time anymore. By and large, I take the approach that the extra time worked leads to higher-quality/more-expensive personal time (the 20 hours a week or so you'll ostensibly have after spending 15 hours with the kids, 15 hours with the spouse, etc.), but I just don't get much. On the plus side I now work VERY close to home, so my commute is something like 9 minutes each way, and two days a week I work from home. The little time I do get to myself, I tend to do housework, play computer games, or watch TV with my wife, usually multi-screening when we do that as it's not UA time anyway. It's fun to gossip about the latest developments on "Castle" or "Master Chef" on our dates, so there's some small value there I suppose!

We all like th extra income from the last two years of longer hours, though. It makes a big difference.

* The oldest kid graduated high school and is getting ready to serve a mission for her church. Still quite personally ambivalent about it, and her church expects $450 a month from us for her support. Given that I really, really intensely dislike giving money to that church, we're going to have to work something out. Maybe I'll send her money directly and ignore the church's demands for money. But most likely it will involve my wife earning some cash on the side if she wants to pay for the kid to go on a mission. I'm happy to help a little with college, but am unhappy about paying for someone to proselytize Mormonism. Oldest kid also thinks she's found "the one" at 17 years old, and boy I don't like him. I've liked several of her other boyfriends, but this one tries to do the right thing and ends up doing the wrong thing, very consistently. Lots of car accidents, lots of personal trouble, etc. Very frustrating to watch them make decisions that will make them miserable, but my "Dad approach" is to tell a kid what I think a time or two and suggest an alternate approach, then shut the hell up about it unless asked as my predictions come true.

* The second-oldest kid is incredibly busy in high school. Very hard for him to get time with the family. Glad we have an hour or so of family breakfast, scripture-reading, and clean-up each morning. Without that, we'd barely see him. Bon voyage, kid, welcome to the rest of your life. Go make waves. Same concern about him being a Mormon missionary in two years as today. This will be a recurring theme for a few years; given that I'm NOT enthusiastic about paying family money for a kid to sell Mormonism, but I *am* enthusiastic about my wife & kids finding spiritual satisfaction (I'm not an evangelistical atheist, and that is part of what makes this thing work), I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of late-night brainstorming going on!

* The two youngest boys are shaping up to be fine young men. Good grades. I'm becoming a big fan of the "Common Core" thing, as I can see the gigantic developmental difference (particularly in Math & Science) between the younger two and the older two at similar ages. Sure, that's a massive can of worms with many of my fellow Republican friends, but I see a direct cause & effect there: the implementation of the Common Core in Utah was a GIGANTIC leap in the quality of education, and it shows in my kids. It's really hard for my Conservative friends to convince me Common Core is "bad" when I see direct evidence of the improvement in the quality of public school education for my sons.

* Oh, brainstorming. We use that approach toward pretty much everything. "Never do anything without your spouse's enthusiastic agreement" applies almost everywhere (exception below). Our kids even use it on us, asking us to "brainstorm with me" when they want something we're not inclined to grant.

* Giant exception to the above: her church. Still. We've talked about that troubling exception before, and I'm philosophical about it. Dr. Harley laid out a plan to me for making this kind of relationship work some time ago, and following it works fine: religious apathy over atheistic activism. As Melody once said long ago, though, "still waters run deep". There's a discontent that won't go away as long as that conflict remains. But like deciding what gets thrown out when we de-junk the house, or figuring out travel plans on a weekend vacation away, it's something you learn to work with, rather than try to re-make your spouse in your image. Maybe one day she'll wake up to the harm done in the name of her religion, or maybe one day I'll have some conversion experience and become a Jesus Freak instead of a Philosopher.

* My wife would really like to move. I'm largely content where we are, but we can afford to move if we want. So we're actively hunting and finishing up projects around the house that will make it more saleable. I really want to stay in the area, though; the extremely short commute is, IMHO, a massive marriage-enhancer because today we can casually spend time together we never could when I commuted an hour each way four years ago. She'd love to move further away because the housing is much cheaper out of the city, and would love to be in a neighborhood rather than on horse property so she'd have female friends around to talk with.

* We just booked a two-bedroom condo in Hawaii for our twenty-year anniversary. Yay us! A full week away to celebrate, and we've both wanted to go to Hawaii for a long time. Now we're saving money for the airfare.

There ya go, there are some nice, chewy topics!


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Originally Posted By: Doormat_No_More
The time Melody is niggling about above are IN ADDITION TO the core 2-3 hours per day hours alone together. Today's very typical: 2 hours already, more planned, no kids awake when we were alone with one another, partially out in public (except those parts which would get us arrested). Most days are like this, some few are not.


Well, that is not the issue, though. The issue is counting things as UA time that really aren't. It is not me "niggling" about it all. It is Dr Harley. In fact, this step is so important that he is writing a series of articles to do even more "niggling" and get more specific! grin He is very specific about what is or is not considered UA time as you can see from his quotes.

The things you do sound great to me! My H and I do things together outside of our UA time but we know not to count it. For example, our time at home together is USELESS so we don't count it. [except SF] We sit up in our study together facing each other and we don't count that. [our desks face each other] I know others who have GREAT UA time at home. But that doesn't mean that time with friends or children IS UA time. It just is not. And Dr Harley has said over and over again that movies don't count unless all the attention is on each other. That makes perfect sense to me because when we are watching a movie and one of us says something, the other one feels interrupted because we are watching the movie.

Quote:

She refuses to count. "I hate numbers" is her reason. Been very up-front with me about that :-) If I want to count, that's fine, but she doesn't want me holding her to some kind of benchmark. She goes by how she feels about me, and if she feels like she's not getting enough time, she complains very quickly and we remedy it. The complaining is part of the process, and when I break down the numbers as a result of that feedback loop it usually means we aren't getting 2-3 hours a day together.



Like the others mentioned, Dr Harley has stated that it takes much more time for a woman to be in love than it does a man. I think my H would be perfectly happy with 5-6 hours per week, but I FEEL a dip in my feelings for him when we go a few weeks under 15. This is why Dr Harley advises using the UA worksheet to be very specific. He asks couples to deduct any time they feel was not valid UA to come up with the right #. This tracking sheet is what holds us accountable.

I contacted Dr Harley a while back and told him that one of the biggest problems with couples is getting them to do the UA time exercise. Many just refuse to do it. So what they will do, instead, is not change their lives at all but go through their day with a fine tooth comb and count every drib and drib to come up with a magic number. The bad thing about that practice is that does not change the habits that led to the loss of love in the first place. Then they wonder why the program doesn't work. I think Dr Harley must see this trick quite often which would explain his decision to write a series of articles about the POUA that are more detailed.


"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: Doormat_No_More

Sure. We make sure to get two or three hours of UA a day, longer on Saturdays. My friends call that obsessive. It's a matter of degree, I suppose. The weekly totals matter less to me than the daily one is what I'm pointing out right now. A couple of hours alone together every day is much more our speed than two epic days on the weekend could possibly be, for instance.



And that is exactly what Dr Harley recommends. He doesn't recommend "epic days" on the weekend. He recommends that it be spread out in 2-4 hour blocks over 7 days, making sure you get a TOTAL of 15+ per week. The total counts very much. But so does the daily dose.

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
When I apply the fifteen-hour principle to marriages, I usually recommend that the time be evenly distributed throughout the week, two to three hours each day. When time must be bunched up -- all hours only on the weekend -- good results are not as predictable. Spouses need to be emotionally reconnected almost on a daily basis to meet each other's most important emotional needs.

The reason I have so much difficulty getting couples to spend time alone together is that when I first see them for counseling, they are not in love. Their relationship does not do anything for them, and the time spent with each other seems like a total waste at first. But when they spend time together, they learn to re-create the romantic experiences that first nurtured their love relationship. Without that time, they have little hope of restoring the love they once had for each other.


"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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