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Originally Posted by Accuray
I would rather affair proof my marriage by being a husband only a fool would leave versus trying to police what my W is doing.
...

Maybe I'm being naive, but if she's out courting affairs it's because I'm not meeting her needs and not making enough love bank deposits.

...

I've read the arguments on both sides,

I doubt you've read this equation, which comes up on the board from time to time:

Unmet emotional needs + weak boundaries = affair
Unmet emotional needs + strong boundaries = no affair
Met emotional needs + week boundaries = affair
Met emotional needs + strong boundaries = no affair

I agree that going back and forth on it is probably not productive for you at this point, though. There is more to Marriage Builders than snooping.

A better question than snooping is this: does your wife practice openness and transparency? If you ask to see her cellphone or her email, does she give it willingly, or blow up at you? As long as she is open and transparent, willingly grants you access to everything as much as you want, then Dr. Harley would say "snoop until snooping is boring." It sounds like snooping is boring for you. smile

On the other hand, if your wife does not practice openness and transparency, then I am certain that she has something to hide. In that case, Marriage Builders predicts that no amount of meeting emotional needs, alone, will keep her in the marriage.


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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Ac, as I read through your thread the thing that stands out to me is that you don't seem to truly understand your wife. You sound puzzled by her complaints and by the fact that she feels incapable of satisfying you.

The thing is, there are reasons she is feeling this way and you need to discover them so that you can address them. She will stop loving you like a sibling and will start loving you like a husband when you have done this.

Stop being confused and start asking questions, really listening, and paying attention. If she doesn't like boating, check that one off the list and find something else she might like.

If she feels like it is impossible to ever make you happy, that is your fault. You are giving her too much to do at once. Pick 1-2 things you'd like her to work on the most and only complain about those once per week. You are trying to get her engaged and telling her several things you want her to fix several times per week is not going to do it.

I have a tendency to make things sound like complaints when I don't mean them that way. I, like you, thought it was my husband's issue when he brought it up to me, he just needed to stop misinterpreting me. But, the more I read here and worked on our marriage, the more I understood that was I was doing could come across as complaints and that it was easier for me to reword those things or not say them than it was for him to not feel offended. Also, I found that he was less likely to interpret my behavior as negative (like your following too closely in the car example) when I stopped saying things that sounded critical to him.


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Originally Posted by Accuray
My W is happy to stay in the marriage "as-is", she's not complaining about anything, other than the fact that I'm not happy and that she's not meeting my needs.

There is a chance that she has complained about some things in the past and has not received a satisfactory result and now feels that she should be content and not complain any more. And feels that you should do the same thing. smile

There are some things, somewhere, that can be "tuned up," improved, that will accelerate the rate at which you are depositing love units. She has probably mentioned this in the past, but it's possible she has kept completely quiet about it. In my area, many men and women feel that romantic love fades and that it is then your job as a husband or wife merely to be faithful and content.

But even if she believes something like that, there is still something you can tune up, and get past the romantic love barrier. That will begin to change her behavior, and eventually her beliefs.

I think the first thing to get going, if possible, is Dr. Harley's Policy of Undivided Attention. You seem to have been posting about it above. What is your plan to get her out on dates with you for more hours per week?

UA time will make the number one difference. There are four emotional needs that Dr. Harley designates as "intimate" emotional needs: recreational companionship, intimate conversation, affection, and sexual fulfillment. These are the four he directs all couples to fill during UA time, regardless of what needs they personally prioritize, because they make the biggest deposits.

Now, a husband or wife in withdrawal (did you read the link on three states of mind in marriage?) will not feel open to these four intimate needs, and may take some convincing. But even if they start participating, they will quickly receive the love bank deposits and things will start to change. Meanwhile, they may think that their most important emotional need is "domestic support" or something similar. Whatever she identifies or complains about, meet that need, because every love bank deposit helps move from withdrawal into conflict and on toward intimacy.

You have a wife in withdrawal. Conflict is ahead, if you can get her involved in letting you make love bank deposits.

Take that woman out on a date!! Do you think you could get her out 3-4 times next week?


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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Do you have an appointment with Jennifer or Steve at this point? When?

At this point, I think the biggest question is how does your wife react when you ask her out on a date. I would plan an outing, get childcare if you need it, and invite her to go. I wouldn't say anything about this being for your relationship or anything about love bank deposits or whatever. No theory; only practice. smile

If she goes with you, great! Rinse, wash, and repeat, for 15 or better yet 25-30 hours a week. If not, come back here and let us know, we'll have some more ideas about how to proceed.


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Originally Posted by Accuray
I went to a good MC who picked up on this theme. He told me that she views meeting my needs like working in a rock quarry. Every day you show up, pick up your shovel, and shovel rocks from one pile to another. The whole time you are shoveling from pile A, there's a conveyor belt dropping more rocks on top. Therefore, no matter how hard you shovel, it really doesn't help, so you might as well go slow and do the minimum, because what's the point? I think she feels that if she meets my stated EN's, there will just be another set that will take their place, and she'll never be good enough. i.e. if I give you A, you're just then going to ask for B, C, and D. MC said this has more to do with her than with me, and that my needs aren't really inappropriate at all.

He said that this dynamic of feeling the EN's are insurmountable makes W feel "unsafe" in the relationship, because her contribution is never good enough, and that reinforces helplessness and feeling trapped. Therefore, his advice was drop expectations and work on acceptance.

This was not a good marriage counselor. This was a marriage counselor who sucks and can't help you. Dr. Harley would look at that situation and know just what to do next. smile

I'm going to look for and bump a thread for you, about what changes when a wife falls in love with her husband. When your wife falls in love with you, it will handle the issue of how to get her motivated to meet your emotional needs. It will not feel like rocks in a quarry to her any more. And Marriage Builders is a plan for husbands to get their wives to fall in love with them.


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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Okay, I thought I made a specific thread about this radio show, but apparently I just posted it on other threads. Either way, here it is for you, Accuray:

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=68

Originally Posted by Dr. Harley, partial radio transcript
There is something about romantic love that creates a special incentive to do the things that the other person needs. So a man and a woman that are in love with each other romantically -- which this person doesn't seem to value (not yet, we hope he'll get there, yes) -- if they're in love with each other romantically, your emotions kick in and encourage you to do things that you might not need yourself.

Woman become far more sexually oriented when they are in love. They are more interested in helping them out domestically; they are more interested in looking better for him. They are more interested in going to football games along with him and participating in his recreational activities.

And men, when they're in love, they're more interested in talking to her for hours at a time, to being affectionate with her; they are interested in being more honest and open. In other words, they are more interested in meeting each other's needs when they're in love.

So, the point of my seminars, and the books that I write, says, look: being in love is a big deal. It'll make your relationship really move along, and be very, very, very good for you, and all of his "utility needs" end up being met in a relationship where there is mutual love

There is no sense spending a lot of time doing analysis on why she isn't interested in meeting emotional needs. We know why: she is not in love. That is 80-90% of the problem, maybe even 100%. Solve that biggest problem first, using the plan here, and then reevaluate and see if there are still any issues.


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There's a couple of analogies I've seen on this board about meeting emotional needs. One is by Steve Harley, and one is by Doormat_No_More, one of the best posters I've ever seen here. (DoNoMo, if you are reading this, please come back and start posting again. smile ) I'm going to try to go hunt them down for you, Accuray.


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Originally Posted by Steve Harley
Rocks in a River: You find yourself on the bank of a wide river. It is too wide to jump across, and yet you still need to cross it. What do you do? You start picking up rocks and throwing them into the river. (These rocks are each small affectionate thing you do for your W). For the first 499 rocks, you see the rock hit the water, and then it dissapears. These rocks are sinking and landing on the bottom of the river. Eventually you get to rock #500 and it hits the water and part of it is sticking up above the surface. You now realize you are getting somewhere. You can finally see progress. For the first 499 rocks, you knew they were stacking up, but you had no proof other than common sense telling you that they were building up. We have to approach our relationships now as if every piece of affection is one of those rocks. We will not see any progress until a number of rocks have been thrown. However, just because we are not seeing these first 499 rocks does not mean they are not having an impact. Believe that they are, because they are.

Supposedly this came from Steve Harley to a poster on this board long ago in a phone session. The point of the story is that crossing the romantic love threshold in the Love Bank is not gradual. There is a SUDDEN change in feelings, with no gradual warnings that it is approaching. You toss in the rocks (make Love Bank deposits) and see NOTHING. You might even get discouraged and consider giving up. But if you can keep tossing in the rocks, suddenly one day you have a bridge across the stream.


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Originally Posted by HoldHerHand
the first is one used by the poster DoormatNoMore;

Creating romantic love after infidelity (aka "healing") is like creating a new island by chucking buckets of sand in a lake. It's going to take a lot of sand before it begins to peek above the water. Wind, waves, rain, and storms will wash that peak away, but you have to keep chucking buckets of sand.

...

she has wrapped herself in a protective shell. There are small cracks in that shell where some light can get in. You are tossing grains of rice at this shell, hoping to give her the nourishment she needs. If you throw only a single grains, or only small amounts (not keeping up with UA, not meeting ENs) they are not likely to fall through the small cracks.

However, if you throw HANDFULS (20+ hours of UA time, becoming expert at meeting her EN's, adhering to EP's), then some grains can slip through the cracks and give her the nourishment she needs to go forward.

She is STUCK in that cave, sir. And your actions put her there. She cannot simply decide to come out. Your action is what will free her.

Original:
http://forum.marriagebuilders.com/u...in=164877&Number=2556440#Post2556440


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Originally Posted by markos
Accuray, here are some radio clips of Dr. Harley talking to a husband whose wife is not really coming through for him in their marriage. In their case they are recovering from an affair. You guys are fortunate that you don't appear to have that kind of marital damage at this time. Listen to how Dr. Harley coaches the caller and explains how wives change when their husbands make enough love bank deposits:

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=3324
http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=3325
http://www.marriagebuilders.com/radio_program/play_segment.cfm?sid=3326

I agree with the comments about about not lowering expectations.

One thing Dr. Harley says is that if the husband is on board with the Marriage Builders program, the chances for the marriage are very good, much better than if it is the wife who is on board and the husband reluctant. The husband has greater potential for being able to win his wife back to the marriage by making love bank deposits.

I'm reposting this, because Dr. Harley says exact what Steve Harley and Doormat_No_More say in those analogies. You meet the love bank deposits consistently, every day, and one day without warning your life is like a different person. The pebbles or sand have piled up above the surface of the water. Then there's a little bit of wave or rain or current (a love buster, or your wife is simply present with you during a negative experience) and the pile vanishes below the surface for awhile (your wife goes back to not being in love with you), but you keep piling up the pebbles/sand (keep making consistent love bank deposits, and avoid love bank withdrawals at all cost), and eventually it pokes above the surface of the water, this time with a broader foundation, and eventually you have a near permanent bridge (your wife is in love with you all the time).


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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Wow, lots of feedback! Thanks! I'll try to take it in order:

Originally Posted by Penni4Thoughts
Stop being confused and start asking questions, really listening, and paying attention. If she doesn't like boating, check that one off the list and find something else she might like.

This made me laugh! I've been doing nothing but asking questions and really listening for almost a year. I just don't get responses. I either get silence, or "that's the way it is". Why is it that way? "because". Forget about boating, the only reason that's here is someone suggested that's something they like doing with their spouse. My W claims to like no physical activities at all. I try to find things we can do together, but it's a one-way street in terms of suggestions.

Originally Posted by Penni4Thoughts
If she feels like it is impossible to ever make you happy, that is your fault.

According to the professionals I've consulted, it's my fault only if that's true, because I'm either crazy demanding, never satisfied, or have unreasonable expectations. The consensus of the IC's and MC's I've visited is that this is not the case, that this is my W's issue, and I can't own it. If you believe it's my fault, that's ok with me.

Originally Posted by Penni4Thoughts
You are giving her too much to do at once. Pick 1-2 things you'd like her to work on the most and only complain about those once per week. You are trying to get her engaged and telling her several things you want her to fix several times per week is not going to do it.

I've mislead you. I don't complain at all. I don't made demands. I have told her in the course of relationship discussions what my emotional needs are and what I would like, and she has told me she's not going to work on those, in any context. I don't have a huge list of things. I've told her I would like more intimate conversation and words of affirmation, and I've told her that I would like her to work on a mutually enjoyable sex life, not one that is focused on me. That's 3 things. I told her if she can only work on one, then let's focus on intimate conversation, and she says "no". All three are no individually or together.

Originally Posted by Penni4Thoughts
I have a tendency to make things sound like complaints when I don't mean them that way. I, like you, thought it was my husband's issue when he brought it up to me, he just needed to stop misinterpreting me. But, the more I read here and worked on our marriage, the more I understood that was I was doing could come across as complaints and that it was easier for me to reword those things or not say them than it was for him to not feel offended. Also, I found that he was less likely to interpret my behavior as negative (like your following too closely in the car example) when I stopped saying things that sounded critical to him.

Can anyone improve their communication skills? Yes. I know my W is hyper-sensitive to criticism, so I have been ultra-careful to completely stay away from it. I often feel like I'm walking on eggshells. I'm aware of what I'm saying and how I'm saying it, and if she pounces on something that comes across as possibly critical I make damn sure not to do it again. I'm really working on this, I'm not just saying "that's me, too bad, it's all you". Our MC told me that some of her behavior is "crazy making" and I can't own it.

Originally Posted by markos
What is your plan to get her out on dates with you for more hours per week?

I keep arranging for babysitting and inviting her on dates, and she keeps refusing. She says that she feels guilty for the time she spends away from the kids at work, and only wants to go out on dates with me once per month. I made offers twice this week and both were refused.

She also says she doesn't want all the conversation time that I have proposed. She will only agree to 2x - 3x per week.

Originally Posted by markos
Do you have an appointment with Jennifer or Steve at this point? When?

Jennifer is out for a month. I have an appt with Steve for Monday, that was first available that would work for both of us.

Markos, I like the rocks and buckets of sand analogy, and I agree that the problem is the absence of romantic love.

I am not convinced that making love bank deposits will "make someone fall in love with you", but I agree it can't hurt and I really have nothing to lose, so I'm going to go for it!

I feel I have been doing this for 10 months now, I guess I just haven't tossed in the 500th rock, or in my case maybe the 50,000th rock. I'll keep tossing.

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Originally Posted by Accuray
Our MC told me that some of her behavior is "crazy making" and I can't own it.

I'm sorry, but this is terrible advice, and I think your marriage counselor was terrible. This was a very disrespectful thing for your marriage counselor to say about your wife. Some people here said very similar things about my wife when I first got here. They were the kind of people who absorbed a bunch of junk from random marriage counselors and never figured out how to use the plan here to restore romantic love.

You can't restore romantic love by thinking disrespectful things about your wife. Her complaints are very real, and you are going to have to take them seriously. No, you don't "own" any decisions on her part to be disrespectful, demanding, or angry, but you will never save a marriage by analyzing who "owns" what. What sort of behavior did your marriage counselor say was "crazy making"? Probably there is a disrespectful judgment or selfish demand from your wife in there MIXED IN with a complaint that you need to isolate and address. Like this:

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi5067b_qa.html

Originally Posted by Dr. Harley
In most marriages, abuse begins when a conflict is introduced. For example, your wife might say that you did not dry the dishes properly. That's a form of abuse, because she is making a disrespectful judgment about your dish drying behavior. For you, the drying was just fine, but for her it wasn't. What you have is a simple difference of opinion on the way dishes should be dried, and your wife should have said that she would prefer your drying them the way she wants them to be dried.

But even though she made an abusive remark, you can end the cycle of abuse before it begins if you don't accelerate negativity (that means, matching her abuse with abuse of your own). What you should do is ignore the abuse on her side, and in your own mind re-translate what she said to be "I would prefer it if you would dry the dishes this way, instead of the way you are drying them."

However, if you are offended by the comment she made, and most people are offended by abuse, then you will be very tempted to come back with, "fine, dry them yourself next time." That is abusive because it's a demand (you are telling her what to do). Or you might be tempted to say, "you don't dry them any better that I do." That's abusive because it's disrespectful (you are judging her dish washing behavior). Or you might be tempted to let her have it with, "What a stupid thing to say -- you sure are full of stupid comments today." That's an angry outburst because what you say is intended to punish her for the comment she made to you. As soon as you respond to your wife's abusive comment with an abusive comment of your own, you have created a cycle of abuse where you are both abusing each other.

In order to restore romantic love, you are going to need to isolate her complaints and address them. She's probably reluctant to give them at the moment.


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You know marriage counselors have an 85% failure rate, right? And most of them do not believe in or do not know how to restore romantic love to a marriage?

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi8118_real.html

I would start forgetting the things your marriage counselor told you, because there is no way to get your wife to fall in love with you if you adopt disrespectful beliefs about her like the ones that came from your marriage counselor. Disrespectful judgments kill romantic love, they do not restore it. So no wonder this marriage counselor thinks you should just learn to live in withdrawal and "accept it."

I am so glad to hear you have an appointment with Steve! Maybe you can finally start turning this around.

Your wife is not "crazy making." She is not crazy. There's some things wrong that she needs you to fix, and you simply don't understand her point of view. Yet. That will come, but of course first you have to make it safe by eliminating all disrespectful judgments, selfish demands, and angry outbursts (whichever apply). Please believe me that your wife is not crazy. She has a Giver and a Taker, as Dr. Harley describes, and she is in the state of Withdrawal: her love bank balance is in the negative, and she does not want you to meet her emotional needs, nor is she willing to meet yours. Exactly as Dr. Harley describes.


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Originally Posted by Accuray
I keep arranging for babysitting and inviting her on dates, and she keeps refusing. She says that she feels guilty for the time she spends away from the kids at work, and only wants to go out on dates with me once per month. I made offers twice this week and both were refused.

She also says she doesn't want all the conversation time that I have proposed. She will only agree to 2x - 3x per week.

Okay, she is declining the dates because she is in withdrawal. Also, the thought of formal "conversation time" with you probably terrifies her! She will not want to embark on a plan to restore romantic love, because she doesn't want to be with you.

So start making smaller deposits. Do you call or text her during the day?

Meantime, keep arranging chances to go out. And what can you do at home that you would both enjoy, after the kids are asleep, or in the morning? Don't tell her any of this is part of a plan to restore romantic love or save your marriage or get your needs met or anything. Don't tell her the theory; just engage in the practice.

"Hey, would you like to go to the rock show?"
"I've got a great recipe I want to try tonight after the kids are in bed. Want to join me?"

You're going to have a beautiful monster on your hands when she comes out of Withdrawal into Conflict and is finally willing for you to meet her needs but not willing to meet yours (yet). To get there, you'll have to start making more deposits. Make them, post about them here and get feedback for how you can make more.


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Originally Posted by Accuray
Can anyone improve their communication skills? Yes. I know my W is hyper-sensitive to criticism, so I have been ultra-careful to completely stay away from it. I often feel like I'm walking on eggshells.

Friends and enemies of good conversation


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Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 19 years. Father of 8.
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If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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Originally Posted by Accuray
Markos, I like the rocks and buckets of sand analogy, and I agree that the problem is the absence of romantic love.

I am not convinced that making love bank deposits will "make someone fall in love with you", but I agree it can't hurt and I really have nothing to lose, so I'm going to go for it!

I feel I have been doing this for 10 months now, I guess I just haven't tossed in the 500th rock, or in my case maybe the 50,000th rock. I'll keep tossing.

Accuray

This is great, Accuray. It will work even if you're not convinced; and you are right: you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.

The problem may be that you haven't tossed rocks long enough, or that you are not tossing large enough rocks, or that you are tossing the wrong kind of rocks.

It may also be this new analogy I'm working on, where an elephant gets in the stream and kicks over the pile of rocks. In my marriage, I was the elephant. smile (In other words, Love Busters, any at all, will destroy anything you are building. You have to NEVER be demanding, disrespectful, or angry, and you have to accept her feelings as indisputable if she feels you are any of these things and learn how to not be.)

Regardless, keep posting your progress here and we can help you try to figure out why it's not working yet and/or how to get it to work faster.


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.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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Originally Posted by Accuray
I keep arranging for babysitting and inviting her on dates, and she keeps refusing. She says that she feels guilty for the time she spends away from the kids at work, and only wants to go out on dates with me once per month. I made offers twice this week and both were refused.

It sounds like she has a high need for Family Commitment. Do you plan activities together as a family? If so, what type of activities, and how much? Again Dr. Harley says to shoot for 15 hours here.

Why is your wife working? It sounds like maybe she would prefer to be a stay-at-home mom. Can she quit her job?


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.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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It's funny, she did stop working after we had our second, and she was home for 8 years. She really didn't like it. She didn't spend the time engaging with the kids, she would be on her computer, on the phone or reading books.

She really likes working, really enjoys her job, but feels guilty about being away from the kids, although ironically if she was with them she wouldn't engage with them anyway. I have encouraged her to quit if it would make her happier and to stay home, or to find a part time job with fewer hours, or to do some volunteer work, etc. etc. The bottom line is that she's career driven and likes working.

It's a lot like our marriage -- she feels guilty about what she's not doing, but that doesn't motivate her to change anything. She's ok staying with the guilty feelings.

I don't think my MC was that bad. I went to three before I found one that I thought understood my wife. He's written 14 books, has a regular TV segment, and teaches marriage and family counseling at a nearby university.

Accuray

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Originally Posted by Accuray
I don't think my MC was that bad. I went to three before I found one that I thought understood my wife. He's written 14 books, has a regular TV segment, and teaches marriage and family counseling at a nearby university.

This is the guy who said your wife was "crazy making"?

I think you are underestimating just how damaging disrespect is to a marriage.


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.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 15,818
Likes: 7
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Originally Posted by Accuray
It's funny, she did stop working after we had our second, and she was home for 8 years. She really didn't like it. She didn't spend the time engaging with the kids, she would be on her computer, on the phone or reading books.

She really likes working, really enjoys her job, but feels guilty about being away from the kids, although ironically if she was with them she wouldn't engage with them anyway. I have encouraged her to quit if it would make her happier and to stay home, or to find a part time job with fewer hours, or to do some volunteer work, etc. etc. The bottom line is that she's career driven and likes working.

I wonder if she feels like she needs to look for fulfillment in her career because she doesn't believe she can find it in marriage. It's a pretty common idea out there.

Anyway, I wouldn't pressure her to give the job up. Just curious if it was an option.


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.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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