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I forget stuff quite easily. My forgetfulness = annoying habit, I know. She wanted me to go pick up a coupon for $10 at her Dad's house on the way. I totally forgot. I guess I was so focused on making sure I got every single item on the grocery list I forgot that part! I'm quite literally terrified at stuff like this. I can't make decisions anymore because she'll criticize it. So she called me on it of course, wasn't angry on the outside, but I know her and she was "irritated" at me. I can't go a day without messing up so I don't know what to do. Her annoying habits annoy me sure, but I don't hold it against her. That is just who she is. She loses everything, hoards stuff in the garage to the point where we can't park our cars in there. She threatens the kids with the ole "Do you want us not to go to the party?", even though they know she never means it. I guess I just don't get this whole game because that is just not me. Anyone else not really get to upset about annoying habits or things?


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Should I be terrified to do things like shop for groceries for fear of making mistakes?


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I forget stuff quite easily. My forgetfulness = annoying habit, I know. She wanted me to go pick up a coupon for $10 at her Dad's house on the way. I totally forgot. I guess I was so focused on making sure I got every single item on the grocery list I forgot that part! I'm quite literally terrified at stuff like this.

Hilltopper, as you can see, this approach is not creating love in your marriage. It is creating RESENTMENT on your part which will further erode the love in your marriage. The problem is not that you don't do enough housework, but that your wife is a freeloader in marriage and has no motivation to change. If you keep up this one sided giving for long, you will grow to hate her. I would try a new approach of radical honesty and tell her how unhappy you are. She is abusive and thoughtless and is destroying your marriage. She is killing your feeligs for her. Does she know that?

Freeloader is unwilling to put much effort into the care of his or her partner in a romantic relationship. He or she does only what comes naturally and expects only what comes naturally. It's like a person who tries to live in a house without paying rent or doing anything to improve it unless the person is in the mood to do so.

Renter is willing to provide limited care as long as it's in his or her best interest. The romantic relationship is considered tentative, so the care is viewed as short-term. It's like a person who rents a house and is willing to stay as long as the conditions seem fair, or until he or she finds something better. The person is willing to pay reasonable rent and keep the house clean but is not willing to make repairs or improvements. It's the landlord's job to keep the place attractive enough for the renter to stay and continue paying rent.

Buyer is willing to demonstrate an extraordinary sense of care by making permanent changes in his or her own behavior and lifestyle to make the romantic relationship mutually fulfilling. Solutions to problems are long-term solutions and must work well for both partners because the romantic relationship is viewed as exclusive and permanent. It's like a person who buys a house for life with a willingness to make repairs that accomodate changing needs, painting the walls, installing new carpet, replacing the roof, and even doing some remodeling so that it can be comfortable and useful.



"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 Hilltopper1972
Should I be terrified to do things like shop for groceries for fear of making mistakes?
Have you asked her this? Hilltopper, I know a lot of men who get lost in the produce aisle of a grocery store because they never do the shopping. I think that fact that you do is great! So you forget the bread? You can pick it up tomorrow! You forgot the milk? The kids won't die overnight from calcium deficiency! This is really not a big thing in the grand scheme. But it IS a sign that there is a bigger issue than forgetting something.

I grabbed this from another one of your posts, because I think it may play into things:
Quote
She's not lazy by any means, there is just a lot to do and we have a four month old baby.
How much time do the two of you spend together alone? How often do you take the kids to grandma's for the weekend, or even hire a babysitter so you can get out of the house for a few hours?

I don't think this has anything to do with her childhood, or her mother, or anything like that. I suspect your wife is tired and resents just about everything in her life right now.

Can you come up with some ways to spend some time together alone?

Warning: you need to understand that you'll probably be the only one actively working on this until she starts seeing the benefit of getting away from the kids. Also, she may be initially resistant to doing so. Work on it anyway.


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Keep a todo list. For those of us that have a million things going on, we just have to keep a check list or we forget.

You can always put your foot down on the abuse. When she starts to insult you, call her on it. Tell her you won't tolerate being spoken to like a child in a disrespectful manner.


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Hilltopper,

The advice you are getting is spot-on, especially kilted_thrower's short but simple message: keep a todo list, and don't accept the abuse.

You should not have to be afraid of making a mistake while grocery shopping. It is okay for your wife to be bothered if you forget something at the store; it is not okay for your wife to punish you for it! If you make a mistake, simply say "I'm sorry." Don't add any explanations. If she becomes demanding, disrespectful, sarcastic, angry, abusive, or hysterical, just back off and remove yourself from the situation in an appropriate way.

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.

I commend you as a husband for doing the grocery shopping. A lot of men would respond to abuse for making grocery mistakes by saying "I have a simple solution. I'll just not do the shopping any more."

Any chance of starting to make some time together? Most women respond well when a husband puts forth the effort to plan an event together, make auxiliary arrangements like childcare so she doesn't have to, etc. The Undivided Attention time component of this program is nonnegotiable; couples that do well together, whether they do this program or not, are couples that spend at least fifteen hours a week alone together giving each other their undivided attention.


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And hilltopper ... it's good to see you back!


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, 19 years. Father of 8.
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She's not lazy by any means, there is just a lot to do and we have a four month old baby.

I know the feeling. We have a four month old baby, and five other children going up to age 6!

This is definitely a lot of work for my wife just to survive each day, and she rightly wants to have an escape once in awhile.

Dr. Harley says the key is for us to escape TOGETHER. (I need to escape, too.) If we make our escapes TOGETHER, and we spend 15 hours a week escaping together and giving each other our undivided attention, we will fall in LOVE.


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!

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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
Thanks for the words and support! I got home let my wife go on a run while made dinner and tended to all three. You know what? She doesn't notice squat! Bought her three small gifts last week, nothing. I'm feeling pretty selfish right now because the door keeps getting slammed in my face. She won't read anything, I have all threeharley books and I'm on number two now. She has every excuse in the fir everything! I'm sitting here in front of the grocery store, angry, hurt, and I don't want to go home. I'll go home and she'll just insult me again, oblivious and seemingly impervious to everything! Geez, please help me get this woman to see or change even a tad!

A couple of things to keep in mind:

If your wife's Love Bank is in the red (negative), then each deposit you make makes it "less red" but until it gets "into the black" , that is, above zero, you won't see the effects. So since it is below zero your wife will be in the state of Conflict and will be all snippy w/ you.
Make sure the things you are doing are ones that are important to your wife.

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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. 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. In other words, I can't follow the Love Bank system if I discontinue trying to meet her emotional needs can I?
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. 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.
So I feel like I need to toughen up my skin. Let her see that her little insults and slams don't bother me at all? I guess I'm wondering what you are suggesting I try? I know this is a process.


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I think for now her own personal time is so hard to come by with the new baby that she values that more than anything. I suggest date nights but she turns them down as excuses. We got massage oils the other day and that night we each gave each other a massage, but since then she has turned down that offer each time as well. I wasn't asking to be intimate, just the massage to let her relax. The lack of intimacy and "date nights" has been a steady decline over the past 3-4 years I'd say. We don't even kiss even when she is in the mood. She keeps saying it is because she is not confident in herself, but it is hard for me to truly know that it isn't just another one of her excuses, you know?


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I brought a grocery list, the coupon thing was just an oversight. Believe me I have numerous tools in my life to stay organized and remember things. As far as not accepting the abuse, what does that mean? If I say, "I won't let you speak to me that way", then what? In other words, what good will it do? She doesn't try and tear me down, it is the little disrespectful judgements and selfish demands all day that build up. She is crafty at using them so that they don't really sound like an insult with purpose, but yet we both know they are. Whenever I do call her on it she 100% of the time says, "You are just taking things the wrong way." She says it so much I start to wonder if I am until I reply it in my head and know for sure that they are insults. Are the insults meant to hurt me or rather to make herself feel better?


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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.
And paradoxically, she will not respect you for letting her do this.

I used to do that with my H. Make little snippy comments here, a couple of snide remarks there - I straightened my butt up when he looked me squarely in the eyes one day and said "I don't deserve to be spoken to like that." HUH? shocked I respected that.

And yes, I did apologize. smile


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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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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!

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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I think for now her own personal time is so hard to come by with the new baby that she values that more than anything.

That is really common in new mothers. She may need to learn how important a good marriage is for her child's welfare.

Quote
I suggest date nights but she turns them down as excuses. ... She keeps saying it is because she is not confident in herself, but it is hard for me to truly know that it isn't just another one of her excuses, you know?

Okay, quit disrespecting her choice to decline your offers as "excuses." You can't read her mind and you shouldn't try to, and she has the right to decline any offer she doesn't like, for any reason.

You'll have to find an offer that she DOES like.

She might like to follow this program, if she found out what was in it for her. So think about what IS in it for her.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I brought a grocery list, the coupon thing was just an oversight. Believe me I have numerous tools in my life to stay organized and remember things. As far as not accepting the abuse, what does that mean? If I say, "I won't let you speak to me that way", then what? In other words, what good will it do?

Well, you have to become willing to back it up.

For starters, when the conversation turns ugly like this, STOP! Try to gently change the subject to something else. If that doesn't work, end the conversation. Go to another room if you have to.

Tell her at calm times what she is doing that offends you. Be honest that you do not like the way she is talking to you. Tell her you need her to stop and you know of a program that can help (Marriage Builders) and tell her what is in this program for her.

Quote
She doesn't try and tear me down, it is the little disrespectful judgements and selfish demands all day that build up.

Yes, those hurt terribly. The tiny little drains on your lovebank (or hers!) add up over time. It's the habits that are devastating, more than the one-time events.

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She is crafty at using them so that they don't really sound like an insult with purpose, but yet we both know they are.

Whoa! No you don't! You can't read her mind, and proclaiming that you can is a disrespectful judgment. Do not disrespectfully judge her motivations. Do not get into a discussion with her about what she MEANT; that's fighting DJ with DJ. Instead, just tell her that it offends you.

That SHOULD be enough for her, if she truly cares about you. There should not be a need for a long drawn out fight over whether or not you have the right to be offended.

It goes both ways, too. She doesn't need a reason to feel a certain way; it needs to be enough for you, her husband, that she DOES feel that way.

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Whenever I do call her on it

This route is almost sure to lead to an argument.

A better approach is to tell her once, at a calm time, being radically honest, how you feel: you are hopeless and out of energy and the reason you feel this way is her disrespectful judgments, and you need them to stop.

Then, start practicing the behavior I am describing above in not tolerating DJs and not responding in the same way yourself. Tell her periodically if it is still a problem and ask her to look for help to do something about it. Tell her you know of this program.

Quote
she 100% of the time says, "You are just taking things the wrong way." She says it so much I start to wonder if I am until I reply it in my head and know for sure that they are insults.

That's crazy for you and her to have to deal with, and can only lead to a fight.

Quote
Are the insults meant to hurt me or rather to make herself feel better?

Who knows? Who cares? It doesn't matter? Don't waste time trying to judge your wife's motivations (and offend her in the process).

If one of you feels offended by something the other says, no matter what the reason, then the other should stop saying it. See if you and she can come to agree with this.


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!

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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I guess when she sees the books arrive she'll know I'm deadly serious about all of this.

Hilltopper, are you serious? Are you trying to just show her by buying books and leaving them around, or have you been radically honest and told her how unhappy you are?


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I'm over my head, she is all over the board. She likes me to take the initiative to do projects around the house. I tell her I'm heading to home depot for a stake for a tree that fell down. Now she tells she doesn't want me to go. WTF? It is almost surreal and other worldly how bad we communicate, I'm clueless.


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Here is what I told her tonight. I know it ain't perfect but its a start. I'm sure you'll all point out a DJ or two! smile I actually feel empowered and sad at the same time:

The reason I don't speak to you or want to hang out with you is because you treat me bad. You judge me, disrespect me, blame me, make me feel bad. On top of that your mood swings are all over the map so I never know where I stand which is hard to deal with. You think everything is disgusting and say so frequently which is not pleasant to be around. You have issues with me and a lot of your friends and say so frequently which is scary to be around. You are irritated with me most of the time which makes me feel bad. I won't judge you or try to get in your head anymore on what your motivations are any longer for doing any of these things. All I know is that my feelings are real and after literally dozens of attempts in every possible way I know how to get through to you, I'm giving up. I DO love you very, very much but I refuse to subject myself to your abuse from here on out.

Let me know what you think!


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My wife's reply. Let me/her have it.

First of all I don't treat you bad. It's a mechanism of irritation with you. I don't like being a nag. And of course like today you always have to be right. Its not my fault u like to close up and not speak. Do what u gotta do. I already knew the story today, women always have instincts. Oh and the sex thing, it's like the chris thing. Im so irritated and tired i have zero sexual feelings. We don't ever do anything fun anymore, forget the romance. And yes I'm tired. Do u know what it's like taking care of three kids, one being an infant, taking them to school, classes, playdates, poop, screaming half the day, gas, etc. I'm not saying it's like this everyday but I'm allowed to get emotional. I'm a woman, not a man. I'm drained. Forgive me for being a grump when I never have any alone time except for myself except the bathroom and shower there is always a kid there. Forgive me for telling u my feelings about friends, I'm allowed my opinion. I will be less grumpy and work on our marriage, but the older out baby gets I'm sure the better it will get. What ever happened to walks to Starbucks, cooking together, anything for that matter.

She has a few points, but most of it in my mind says, "Not my fault, I'm allowed to treat you this way." How do I respond to someone that says she doesn't treat me bad? By the way, did I mention anything about sex?


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