Originally Posted By: Prisca
Today is a new day. Start fresh. Wipe the slate clean -- don't dwell on the mistakes of yesterday! -- and show your wife that you will care for her.

Originally Posted By: Dr. Harley
The Second Enemy of Good Conversation is dwelling on mistakes, past or present.

One of our important emotional needs is admiration. So whenever you remind your wife of achievements of her past or present, you deposit love units because she needs to be admired.

But when you remind her of her failures, you do the opposite. You undermine her confidence and self-esteem, and withdraw love units.

Criticism is painful in marriage because we need admiration so much. We want our spouses to be the most encouraging person we know, one who constantly reminds us of our strengths. We certainly don't want to be discouraged by being reminded of our weaknesses, particularly if it comes from our spouse.

In an intimate relationship we give the keys to our inner self to someone else so that person can be in a position to meet our emotional needs. Intimacy magnifies the pleasure we receive when our needs are met. But it also makes us vulnerable. The pain of criticism is magnified in an intimate relationship. Unprotected, we expose the china closet of our feelings. If the person is critical of us, they are like the proverbial "bull in a china closet." One romp through our inner self and we are not so quick to invite the bull back again.

Criticism now and then is bad enough, but spouses often get into the habit of dwelling on mistakes. These mistakes are mentioned repeatedly in an effort to make sure that the mistake is understood and corrected. But that's not how mistakes are understood or corrected. All this does is magnify the pain until conversation is too unpleasant to continue. Then hope of respectful negotiation is lost.

In your letter, you say that you and your spouse say the same things again and again. You may be referring to this enemy, dwelling on past mistakes. You may find yourselves repeating these criticisms because this enemy dominates your conversation. If that's the case, see it for the enemy it is. As long as you tolerate dwelling on mistakes, you cannot expect to meet each other's needs for conversation. You may withdraw so many love units that it ruins your love for each other.


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Fantastic read on this. Yes wife and I are treating this as a new day and have both agreed to identify and avoid all DJ's for the entire day. No expectations on anything else for now, just avoid the insults and see where it takes us. We both agreed that when you change your language and how we treat each other that it can sound a bit corny and odd, but that it will get easier over time. I could see the confidence of both of us go up a couple of notches as we agreed to focus on just this one task today.


Married 15 years
12 y/o DD
10 y/o DS
6 y/o DD