Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I not only am not in the practice of deciding when and where we spend UA time, but when I do suggest it get a bit of push back at times. Its not an, "I don't want to", it is more of a "we'll see..." That is where I don't know what to do next. I take that as kind of a push off.

How you respond to this is crucial.

If you are like me, it worries and frustrates you when you feel like your marriage needs UA time and your wife is not enthusiastic about having it. And if you are like me your old instinctive way to react to this is with demands, disrespect, or anger.

So of course the first thing to do is to remain calm and pay close, close attention to everything you do or say to make sure that nothing you do could be construed as demanding, disrespectful, or angry. By your wife or by anyone who might here the story later. If you know that we would likely fault you for being disrespectful, then you probably are being disrespectful! smile

Invite your wife to UA-time activities with you. If she declines, accept that graciously. You might consider offering her several options to choose from.

If you want your wife to start buying into this UA time idea, you are going to need to change the way you are going about it. It is obvious to me that you are pressuring her to do it. You see it as urgent (and it is, because it's crucial for your marriage), and so you get easily frustrated when she doesn't seem to be moving toward this goal in the way you would expect ... AND IN THAT FRUSTRATION YOU ARE MAKING CRUCIAL MISTAKES THAT AMOUNT TO PRESSURING HER.

Take the pressure off.

Believe me, the last thing you want to do is become demanding, disrespectful, or angry in trying to get your wife to buy into the Marriage Builders program. This is a sure fire way to NOT get what your marriage needs. You are going to have to be respectful, gentle, attractive, and you are going to have to graciously accept "no" for an answer. Your wife has good reasons for not being enthusiastic about this program. You need to respect that perspective, look for the value in her perspective. Find out what those reasons are. This is crucial information. There is value for you in this perspective of your wife.

Do be aware that the Marriage Builders program can't be "cherry picked." You can't implement some parts of the program and leave others out and expect to get something that works well. You've got to have the whole enchilada. smile Because of your frustration, you are still falling back to instinctive Taker strategies of demands, disrespect, and anger. I understand that frustration is mounting now, possibly worse than ever before, but you have got to manage that frustration and force yourself to calm down ALL THE TIME in order to solve your problems.

One thing I might mention: UA time doesn't "count" when you have kids with you (unless they are sleeping), but if your wife is reluctant to leave the baby with a babysitter, by all means, take the baby and get a sitter for the other kids!! That is certainly better than not having a date at all. Take every opportunity to meet emotional needs and make love bank deposits. You will be able to be more intimate with her (make bigger love bank deposits) with just one child present than you can with all children present, and you will be paving the way for a regular habit of spending time together that will eventually be there when your wife feels the youngest child is ready to be with a babysitter.

On top of this the babysitting relationships include her parents, a daughter of her friend, and potentially two other of her friends she has so it would seem odd for me to circumvent my wife's relationships to plan the date, you know?

I don't know about that. I call my mother-in-law and ask her to babysit sometimes. smile She is especially amenable to doing this if I'm going to plan a surprise date for Prisca. Most people understand the value of a couple spending time alone together, and it doesn't hurt to step outside of your "comfort zone" and ask.

Dr. Harley says that a man tends to make big love bank deposits if he just shows some initiative and plans a date with his wife if he makes the arrangements, including babysitting. You were advised to do this pages and pages ago, and yet you haven't done it. No wonder things aren't working well, yet ... you skip over a lot of the advice. When are you going to show this initiative and plan a date?

Call one of those friends and say "I was hoping to plan a date with Grace. Would you be available on X? Really? Great! I haven't talked to her yet, but I'm going to see if she's interested, and then call you back to confirm. I'm not sure if we'll be taking the baby or not." Then tell Grace you've arranged babysitting for X night and tell her you'd like to take her out. Give her the option of taking the baby or not. Give her the option of saying yes or no. Give her some selected date activities to choose from, and give her the option of proposing her own suggestions.

You are going to have to learn the skill of making a date with your wife!

I called my sister to arrange it about a month ago. My wife didn't want any part of it because it was during the week. She has planned dates for us during the week, but in this particular case she was not interested in it. I'm just not the type of person when told no to say, "well how about now?", "well how about now then?" In light of that, I suppose I could call the in-laws and try to plan it. She has expressed that I take the initiative to plan things, but I don't ever enjoy how my initiative pans out. I mean I made coffee for her this morning and the first thing out of her mouth was, "It's too strong." So who wants to plan a date or come up with anything when you'll just be criticized for the way you did it, how you made it, the time you planned it, etc? So to protect myself I've become a person that doesn't take initiative on anything at all because at least I know if I haven't done anything then I can't be criticized for anything. My wife sees this lack of initiative as being "lazy" or "just not caring", but this is sooooo not the case. I like to be in charge, I like to be confident in the decisions or plans I make. The truth is I'm just not any more so I just wait for marching orders and do my best to not screw them up. This is why I feel like things are so out of my hands, so I'm trying to come up with the courage and strength to plan things or do things for my wife anyways, even knowing I might be criticized, all the while attempting to "thicken my skin" so I can more easily brush it off. That is easier said than done.
My wife is concerned that I paint her as this horrible human being on this forum. She is not a horrible human being, in fact she is an amazing human being, well loved by her friends, awesome with our children, outgoing, and beautiful. I guess I just look at the point we have gotten to and I ask myself how did we get this way? I learn almost every day about how spouses interact, what actions or inactions can deposit or withdrawal units from the LB, how things take time to repair, etc. I can't learn fast enough, and every time I figure something out I so much wish that I had already learned that a long time ago, you know?

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