Originally Posted By: markos
Originally Posted By: GreenMile
On one side, I have a telephone coaching assignment that "you two need to do this" etc.,


You do? Kim has given YOU, GreenMile, an assignment for the TWO OF YOU? You are responsible for carrying out an assignment that involves making DancesWithGoats do her part???

That doesn't sound like the same Kim who is coaching me and Prisca.

Hint: you can't control DancesWithGoats, and you shouldn't try to. Nobody knows this better than a Marriage Builders coach, and they certainly won't fault GreenMile for something DancesWithGoats did not do.

And since we're on the subject, the last time I talked to Steve Harley he expressed a little bit of befuddlement as to why we weren't progressing faster through the lessons. He emphasized to me that much of the lesson work can and should be done individually. There's nothing stopping YOU from eliminating controlling and abusive behavior, in the form of Selfish Demands, Disrespectful Judgments, and/or Angry Outbursts. And in fact, even though we didn't go over our DJ lesson until tonight, Prisca told me last night that it seemed that SDs and DJs from me had just about been eliminated. (NOT time to rest on my laurels, of course. This habit certainly hasn't been worked long enough to stick with me for a lifetime, yet, nor is it anywhere near perfect, IMO.)

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but by worrying that it is not getting done and even making a gentle suggestion, is just a morphed DJ in subtle form and can't be tolerated.


GreenMile, have you actually read the Respectful Persuasion procedure Dr. Harley outlines?

For that matter, what is the last Marriage Builders book you read, and when did you read it?

Theoretically, you could engage in Respectful Persuasion to try to persuade your wife to join you. Since you have such a big Disrespectful Judgment problem, I don't recommend it; I just wanted you to know that this is where you marriage is headed some day if it gets good: you will be able to try to respectfully persuade each other of your own personal beliefs, including beliefs about Marriage Builders. Of course, Respectful Persuasion actually works much better when you are in love with each other.

Have you talked with Kim about this problem you are having of trying to make DWG do the lessons? Will you talk with her about it, if you have not?

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It is another example of putting my not wanting to look bad to Kim, or on the weekly survey, ahead of DWG's feelings and her rights as a human being to follow her own course with this.


After all, DWG is your wife, right, so she ought to understand the importance of making sure the two of you look good to people outside your family, right? She ought to understand the need to pull together and sacrifice and take care of things so that you don't inconvenience other people, right?

Yeah, I used to think like that, too. I hope it sounds as ridiculous to you there as it does to me.

You don't have a relationship in which you need to provide extraordinary care to Kim, or anyone else. Just Dances. Only her. Her FEELINGS come first. Not her Marriage Builders program success. Her FEELINGS. In marriage, that's the most important thing about her.

(And I shouldn't need to add that what matters is her feelings as a reaction to your ACTIONS. Not her feelings as a response to you convincing her to believe something or go along with something.)

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What difference does it really make how I look at the next phone session?


I don't understand how DancesWithGoats not wanting to do the next lesson makes YOU look bad at the next phone session. Can you enlighten me about this?

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This is where the process of MB kind of breaks down a little bit, at least in this situation.


Wrong, Mister! The process of MB isn't breaking down for you AT ALL. The concepts, especially the Love Bank, are working exactly the way the always do.

The problem is that you haven't eliminated abusive behavior such as Disrespectful Judgments.

That's not a minor problem, by the way. It's a major problem. Ask your coach for help.

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When DWG is ready to jump into these lessons, then the lessons will work, not one minute earlier.


Your wife can't eliminate Disrespectful Judgments for you. You have to do that yourself. Don't blame her for your failure to do this, thus far.

And don't you dare get into the mindset that you are sitting on your hands and waiting for her to finally "be ready." I guarantee you she does not wake up every morning and think "Oh, I hope GreenMile doesn't quit trying to prod and prompt me today and suddenly sweep me off my feet, because I'm not ready! That would be a terrible tragedy."

She is ready for you to eliminate abusive behavior a LONG TIME AGO, friend.

When you can quit kicking massive holes into the Love Bank account, you will finally have a shot at filling it.

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Nudging her is a DJ. We do it or we don't that week. Trying to nudge DWG to complete the assignment with me is a DJ. A big one.


Having your wife fill out a bunch of paperwork telling you what you need to change is a shortcut. This shortcut is very painful for your wife. Don't sit still. Take the long way.

If you can't make progress on your own (with the help of Kim and Dr. Harley and this entire board, no less!) towards eliminating love busters and MASSIVELY meeting Dances' emotional needs, then you aren't worth staying with.

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I am building a dream castle in my mind where I can come out a hero in the end, wiping out forever my villainy and getting off free (redeeming myself) in the eyes of God.


I'm not going to speak negatively of your personal motivations, and I don't know what your particular faith may be, but I will let you know that in Christian theology, a person isn't redeemed in the eyes of God by doing good from now on, no matter how much they may do. It is as if you tried to clean a dirty, oily rag with pure water. You can wash and wash and wash, but the oil is still in the rag and it is still filthy. (Because you took a swim in dirty oil. We all did.) Washing that rag clean is going to require soap. Very special Soap.

I want you to give Dances With Goats a marriage so wonderful that your past can be forgotten and she can become glad to be married to her. In fact, if you're not willing to do this, I hope she leaves you. But even if you succeed in this, I have to tell you as a follower of Jesus not to ever think for a minute that it redeems you in the eyes of God.

(Don't go the other way though and latch on to some theology and decide that that saves you even if you never lift a finger to effect her healing.)

Anyway, I don't remember Marriage Builders having a whole lot to say in its Basic Concepts about dream castles and whether they are good or bad. It does say an awful lot about Disrespectful Judgments, and I hope you will get cracking with Kim about that very soon because it is killing your poor wife.

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Is 62 too late to leave childhood behind and grow up?


You know, GreenMile, this task isn't going to be achieved by self-deprecation.


Markos, that is a long post to try to respond to, but I can do it in a short way. You are preaching to the choir. I don't disagree with a single point you make, but I do think that you have read my post slightly wrong. I was not justifying any of these actions, inactions, or thought processes. I was describing them in terms of my realization, from the help I have received here, as neurotic, destructive, and a complete obstacle to recovery, as the source for my DJ's, in fact for the stinkin' thinkin' throughout my marriage, and even for the way I have been regarding and mis-applying the advice received from our coaches and from the MB program. You are right on. I know what has to be done, and to do it includes and requires that I leave behind the world of self-constructed scenes conjured in my own head where I expect other people to play the part that I wrote. It is a deep neurosis plain and simple. And it is going to require more than simple will and application of MB principles to make happen. I must address that in order for MB principles to be applied by me appropriately. That is all I was saying in my post last night.


FWH, age 63. 24 years of narcissistic behavior, infidelity, and emotional abandonment of my BS, age 57, DancesWithGoats (DWG). D-day two years ago, leading to emotional breakdown. Been working MB program and toward spiritual transformation and personal growth since then, with some slow but real progress. DWG still with no trust, but with grief starting to subside a bit.