Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
Melody,

Thanks for the advice. I've wondered how it got to this point. I'm a strong person and yet I've become afraid and timid within this relationship somehow.

That's a common response to abusive behavior like Selfish Demands, Disrespectful Judgments, and Angry Outbursts.

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I let her get to me and she probably instinctively knows I don't like conflict which works to her advantage. What I do need some advice on is how to become stronger without making the situation worse.

Hilltopper, you can learn to quit avoiding conflict when you have some better tools to handle it. Like maritalbliss says, this will result in more respect from your wife.

Conflict alone is not bad in marriage. It's not a problem merely to have different opinions about what fork in the road you should take. It is a problem to take one choice without regard for your spouse's feelings. And it is a problem to use Selfish Demands, Disrespectful Judgments, or Angry Outbursts if your spouse doesn't want to go the way you want to go.

But there is a better path of negotiation you can take for every conflict when the two of you pledge to be free of these love busting behaviors.

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In other words, I can't follow the Love Bank system if I discontinue trying to meet her emotional needs can I?

Whoa, I hope nobody is suggesting that! You need to continue to try to meet your wife's emotional needs. In fact, you will likely need to learn to do a better job of it. Meeting emotional needs is a complex skill like playing the piano that you can (and should) get better and better at as the years go by.

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One more thing to be very clear. My wife is not lazy at all, in fact she is tireless and does a ton around the house.

You made that clear in an earlier message.

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She gets easily overwhelmed by little things that don't bother me whatsoever. She also tends to "create" work and projects that simply are not necessary which stress her out.

Okay, men and women are different. In fact, all people are different. It is okay for her to be bothered by things that do not bother you. If you are not okay with this, you are disrespectfully judging her feelings. You see from the Love Bank model what that will do. It's an important part of this program to learn not to disrespectfully judge her.

Also, you are definitely judging her feelings when you say that the things she is doing are "simply not necessary." She feels that they are necessary; otherwise she would not do them. Knock it off, Hilltopper! If it bothers you for her to do something, tell her so, but don't tell her she is doing things that are not necessary. That is only YOUR opinion that they are not necessary, and her opinion that they are necessary is just as valid as yours!

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Let her see that her little insults and slams don't bother me at all?

No, that's ridiculous. They do hurt you, and you need to be honest with her about that. This is what we mean by not tolerating abuse.

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I guess I'm wondering what you are suggesting I try? I know this is a process.

Okay, I outlined the suggestion up there for you; do you need more detail? I said nothing like "show her it doesn't hurt you." I said you need to be Radically Honest with your wife and tell her that these behaviors (demands, disrespect, anger) are not acceptable to you and are a severe problem, and that you expect her to do something about it. I agree with MelodyLane's recommendation of radical honesty: you need to let your wife know that this is an extreme problem.

Here is my suggestion for what you should do, from above:

Originally Posted by markos
Later, tell her that these behaviors (demands, disrespect, anger) are not acceptable to you and are a severe problem, and that you expect her to do something about it. I agree with MelodyLane's recommendation of radical honesty: you need to let your wife know that this is an extreme problem.

Do not succomb to the temptation to become demanding, disrespectful, or have an angry outburst, yourself. It is very hard when you are being abused not to become an abuser yourself. But if you engage in any of these behaviors, it will affect her emotions in such a way that it will become LESS likely that she will ever be motivated to change. You have got to learn how to NEVER react with one of these behaviors, no matter what she does.

Don't harp constantly on the behavior, but let her know periodically (maybe once a week or so), that the disrespect or angry outbursts or demands are still a problem for you.

Buy the Love Busters book and memorize it! You need to become a world-class expert in identifying Selfish Demands, Disrespectful Judgments, and Angry Outbursts from yourself and from your wife. You can practice here by reading other threads. smile

Also, start practicing refraining from disrespectful judgments yourself when you post here. If you will strive to keep your writing free of disrespectful judgments, it will help change your thinking.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.