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 cant. At this point, you just have to eliminate your LBs and focus on meeting her needs. Its 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 its 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 havent 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 its wrong, ask her what she didnt 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. Im kinda like your wifeIm 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? Dont get me wrong, its important to do nice things for your spouse but if you making coffee for her isnt 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 anywayits 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 theres 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. Its almost like youre 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 youve said youre very hands on. So am I. I cook, I clean, I am very involved with the kids. Another thing Ive learned is that my wife (and most wives) like me to take charge of situations. She doesnt want to be the one to plan everything. So since Im on summer break, I have a lot of free time. The week before, Ill say hey, on Tuesday lets go to White Water and if theres energy left well 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, well get to the water park at 10:30 and theres 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 dont take charge of it, well sit around and drink coffee for a couple of hours, and watch TV until its past noon and then shes the one thats 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 wasnt 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 wouldnt plan anything and then after being bored, shed say, wanna go to the zoo? And Id say, sure, yeah But it was kinda rushed. Then one day (making this simplistic) I said, hey, lets go do something tomorrow And she really lit up. And so wed figure out what to do but I still wasnt really taking charge and planning. But she was happier when I was initiating the activity. So then I said, heylets go to X and Y place tomorrow. Well get up, Ill cook some breakfast, and well get out the door. And then shed just glow. I noticed she became more enthusiastic about meeting my needs. Keep in mind this wasnt a You met my needs, now Ill 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, Im not sure if Ive ever really stated this before but my wife and I werent 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 togetherthe sex (yes Im being seriousher words also) and children.

It really is worth it. Its 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 dont 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 (POJAbasic consideration)

It gets a lot easier, Hill.

I know I said I wasnt going to post to you. But you seem like youre more receptive to others and their suggestions.

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