Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
Originally Posted by markos
Well, I'm sorry to hear that, but it sounds like you've got a pretty good analysis of the situation and are motivated to keep moving forward.

Yes, your wife was disrespectful/demanding. Maybe subtly so, but yes, I agree she's demanding, and I think if the situation had been reversed she certainly would have perceived you as disrespectful or demanding. There's a subtle implication there that you "should" have done what she wanted.

One way to head this off at the pass sooner is to get her involved in your decision to skip it: "Honey, there's a tupperware in the sink that needs cleaning. I'm kind of rushing to make dinner and was going to skip cleaning it, but would you like it better if I delay dinner a bit and clean it?" Then you are more likely to get a decision she is enthusiastic about.

You can't ignore her disrespect indefinitely, but at this point she is not motivated to change it, and she is likely to be more motivated later on, after she is in love. I think Dr. Harley would suggest keeping the problem on the front burner (i.e., mentioning it once a week), but only if you can do it in a way that she finds respectful. It is possible that at the moment any mentioning of it is going to be perceived as disrespectful.

Whatever you do, I would NOT mention it in the heat of the moment! That's always going to be dangerous. If she were doing the MB program with you, you could put these things on worksheets and exchange them once a week.

What you might do once a week, rather than bringing up the specific incidents, is write her a note saying that sometimes you feel disrespected by the way she talks, and that you want to hear if she has any complaints, but that you would her to be willing to make sure the way she talks to you feels respectful to you. A suggestion/request, not a demand. Then if she has any questions or doesn't understand what she's doing that feels disrespectful, you can offer examples.

Right now I wouldn't expect a positive reaction to this; I would be prepared for a negative reaction. But it will get the problem in her mind so that down the road, when you have made more love bank deposits and she feels more motivated to change for you, she understands what you need from her.

Yeah I kind of got sucked into it as it "built" throughout the day. I let it suck me in and I'll be more prepared for it should it happen again.

One thing that might be unique in my situation that MrNiceGuy did bring up is that my wife may not be attracted to the "needy" guy who brings up problems all the time respectfully. In her mind she just wants me to not be so sensitive to a DJ. She doesn't respect sensitivity and she is admittedly not very sensitive herself in a way. She is NOT into Macho Guy Stuff, very different thing. I realize that she is not motivated to change because in her mind I supposed she wasn't disrespectful in the first place. The strategy would be intentionally ignoring her DJs to solicit a positive view of me by not being "sensitive" or "needy." In addition it would allow her to respect me a lot more than she does when I am needy. In retrospect ALL of my attempts to complain respectfully haven't really gained any traction over the last year, and each time I do she rarely respects my requests, she instead insists that I'm just taking things the wrong way. I'm not saying this a textbook MB strategy, but perhaps is a short lived alternative in my particular situation.

Well, I ran my suggestions by Prisca just now and she said she probably would've reacted badly to them! So it sounds like what you are proposing is probably a better approach. Complaints are a love bank withdrawal, and ultimately they need to happen, but at this point the complaints have already been made and she has chosen not to act on them, so there's really not a lot that can be done other than win her back. Don't forget this article from Dr. Harley I've posted before (it came up in my discussion with Prisca). Coincidentally, it's about washing dishes. smile


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.

Your wife might then respond to your abuse with more abuse. It may be a selfish demand, it may be a disrespectful judgment, or it may be an angry outburst. That will escalate negativity even more. Then you respond with more abuse, she responds again, and on and on. Every argument is abusive, and whenever you argue or fight, think to yourself, "we are being abusive to each other. I must somehow stop this cycle of abuse."

Sounds like Dr. Harley would condone the practice of ignoring the abuse on her side, for now.

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.