Originally Posted By: ChrisInNOVA


Many of the other folks online seem to be advocating some sort of mix between meeting what MB defines as the key Emotional Needs and surpressing some of your desires so your spouse will be pleased and stay with you....and it will be more likely they will be motivated to do what you want / meet your needs.


Chris, that is an excellent question. The critical component is supressing behavior that is BAD for the marriage in exchange for behavior that is good for the marriage. The idea is to never do anything that causes your spouse unhappiness. And let me give you one example of a situation in my marriage.

He loves Chinese and I love Mexican food. He hates Mexican and I hate Chinese. Lets say we practice a "compromise" and we go for Mexican one night and Chinese the next night. That means that I will be unhappy on one night and he will be unhappy the next because we are each gaining at the others EXPENSE for one night.

This is called sacrifice. And it leads to incompatibility and resentment. It leads to incompatibility because people won't do things that make themselves unhappy for long. I might go for Chinese 3 or 4 times and tolerate that nasty food, but pretty soon I will be finding reasons to AVOID going out to eat and he will be resentful, because people who practice sacrifice KEEP SCORE. He will be mad because I "OWE" him a Chinese night to pay for his MExican night.

The solution recommended by Marriage Builders avoids all that. Instead of going to ANY restaurant that one spouse doesn't like, the solution is to find a restaurant that BOTH LOVE. Mexican and Chinese are completely OFF our lists. In it's place is a list of restaurants we both like. This solution builds compatibility because it ensures we are BOTH happy.

And I did learn the HARD way that the agreement has to be enthusiastic. If the other person agrees reluctantly to avoid conflict, you have missed the point because the result will still be unhappiness which will lead to incompatibility.


"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