Hill, something my dad used to say is that "no one knows what you do until you don't do it." Focus here is you do your job because that's what's expected of you. In adulthood we get very few "attaboys!"

My wife used to be the queen of DJs and AOs. I know you hear that a lot. But, really, my wife was queen. If I didn't understand what she was saying or did something she didn't like she'd clap her hands in my face and say, "Pay attention stupid!" This was a tradition of how the women treated the men in her family. Pretty soon you get to a point where you just know you're going to do something wrong even when you're tyring to do something right and it makes you stop wanting to do things.

But you can�t. At this point, you just have to eliminate your LBs and focus on meeting her needs. It�s really important to peg down those LBs. If one of the spouses (or both spouses) is irritating the other one, then doing those meeting of needs really is for not. One of the wonderful things about getting all this together is that when you do have the occasional LB it�s not really that big of a deal. You apologize, validate that what you did hurt the other spouse, and go on your way. You have to be really patient.

I like the house example. It works for nutrition, strength training, prepositions (yes, prepositions), and relationships. You two are still getting all the materials you need. There are times when you (as in you Hill) are trying to throw throw up the walls when you haven�t gotten the foundation settled yet. It takes a lot of work to make a good marriage and when your marriage has fallen to where it is now (as all of us that are here were where you are now), it takes awhile to get it back to good and then awesome. So go back and really go through the LB sheet.

As far as the coffee thing goes, maybe sit down with her and have her show you how she wants her coffee made. If she says it�s wrong, ask her what she didn�t like about it and then you can make it different next time. If she likes powdered creamer one day and liquid creamer the next day, then go buy both. I�m kinda like your wife�I�m really picky about my coffee, my wife is not. The other thing is is making her coffee on her needs list (I think this would fall under domestic support)�in other words is doing this making deposits? Don�t get me wrong, it�s important to do nice things for your spouse but if you making coffee for her isn�t important to her as far as the needs list, then go back over her ENs list and exactly what she feels is important. Make the coffee anyway�it�s a thoughtful gesture. In my case, my wife has a very very high need for DS and FC. She really loves it when I help cook and clean. But this is where I have to figure out what exactly she wants cleaned mostly. She likes the living room presentable and the kitchen clean. She also loathes laundry and since there�s 5-7 of us in the house at any given time, laundry piles up fast. So I concentrate on 1.laundry, 2. Living room, 3.kitchen. And I try to tie in FC to this so I make sure the floors are bleached and clean because we have a 2.5 year old that likes to lick things (like the floor or stuff off the floor) so it shows I think the welfare (so to speak) of the kiddos is important to me. This is why you two have to communicate this stuff. It�s almost like you�re picking up your bow and shooting arrows and occasionally you hit that center mark. Find out what her center marks are and this will improve your aim.

I know you�ve said you�re very hands on. So am I. I cook, I clean, I am very involved with the kids. Another thing I�ve learned is that my wife (and most wives) like me to take charge of situations. She doesn�t want to be the one to plan everything. So since I�m on summer break, I have a lot of free time. The week before, I�ll say �hey, on Tuesday let�s go to White Water and if there�s energy left we�ll hit the zoo or science museum.� She loves it. I like to also plan it because as the older I get I tolerate crowds less. So I know if I plan it and take charge of it, we�ll get to the water park at 10:30 and there�s not a lot of people. Then we can get a lot of rides and stuff done in a couple of hourse and get out before the crowds show up. If I don�t take charge of it, we�ll sit around and drink coffee for a couple of hours, and watch TV until it�s past noon and then she�s the one that�s taking charge of the situation and trying to get everyone out of the house.

But all of this takes communication and observation. At first, after taking the questionnaire, she knew she had a high need for DS and FC but wasn�t quite sure of the details. So we had to spend a bit of time really working it. I paid a lot of attention to her mood and how she responded to me. For example, she was happy if I was enthusiastic about doing family stuff. But we wouldn�t plan anything and then after being bored, she�d say, �wanna go to the zoo?� And I�d say, �sure, yeah� But it was kinda� rushed. Then one day (making this simplistic) I said, �hey, let�s go do something tomorrow� And she really lit up. And so we�d figure out what to do but I still wasn�t really taking charge and planning. But she was happier when I was initiating the activity. So then I said, �hey�let�s go to X and Y place tomorrow. We�ll get up, I�ll cook some breakfast, and we�ll get out the door.� And then she�d just �glow�. I noticed she became more enthusiastic about meeting my needs. Keep in mind this wasn�t a �You met my needs, now I�ll meet yours.� It just happened naturally because she felt closer and connected and loved and etc.

This is coming from us being on the brink of divorce. In fact, I�m not sure if I�ve ever really stated this before but my wife and I weren�t really in love with each other when we got married. We had our oldest son together. And we had a lot of conflict going. The real reason we got married (we had dated for years and lived together) was so I could have health insurance. Two things kept us together�the sex (yes I�m being serious�her words also) and children.

It really is worth it. It�s frustrating, at times you doubt yourself, sometimes (and sometimes a lot of times) you feel like nothing is improving.

Really it boils down to:
1. Find out what makes the other person mad and don�t do those things
2. Find out what the other person really needs and likes and do those things
3. Spend time alone laughing, flirting, and talking
4. Always double check with your spouse on decisions (POJA�basic consideration)

It gets a lot easier, Hill.

I know I said I wasn�t going to post to you. But you seem like you�re more receptive to others and their suggestions.

Husband (me) 39
Wife 36
Daughter 21
Daughter 19
Son 14
Daughter 10
Son 8 (autistic)