Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I believe in all of this, but it is still overwhelming. My wife complains a lot and she is showing no sign of slowing down. Normally Dr H would advise her, if she was a MB student, to only complain about the top 3 things that bother her. I couldn't possibly field every single complaint and address them all without my head exploding.

Yep. So you gotta just do the best you can and not SD/DJ/AO if she decides to become disrespectful over an (as yet) unaddressed complaint. As the problem pile grows smaller, this problem will get better.

Some complaints will go straight to your list of "incubating" problems. The ones that you are sitting on while brainstorming solutions. Sometimes she will even join you in brainstorming solutions. Sometimes you'll be able to just up and solve a problem she told you about two weeks ago, and she'll be thrilled, and you'll be the hero. Sometimes, you'll come back to her with an idea: "How would you feel about ... ?"

Throughout it all, you'll be doing what Dr. Harley says: becoming a part of the solutions to her problems, instead of somebody she blames for them.

At the seminar and on the radio, Dr. Harley talks about there being three areas that have to be good to have a good marriage. One is emotional needs (HNHN), one is love busters, and one is a compatible lifestyle that both enjoy (negotiation). I think there's some of us where the main problems are that third area of unnegotiated problems rather than love busters and meeting emotional needs. The unhappy lifestyle full of problems makes one or both spouses depressed, the love busters prevent solutions to problems, but once the love busters are gone and the problems are solved, romance can return.

What I am doing is listening and trying to comprehend what she means. Sometimes a complaint is really just my wife venting. She really doesn't want me to "do" or "not do" anything, she is just needing a partner that she can vent to. In fact I've explained this better myself when I need to vent. In my experience venting sometimes can be taken as a DJ by your spouse unless otherwise explained.

Yes, and it can be quite scary to a problem solving man to have a completely non-problem-solving conversation. But it can be quite fulfilling to her! Sometimes she just needs someone to talk to.

I was struck by a comment Dr. H made on the radio: if she were in an affair, she would be talking to her affair partner about the problems in her life. Take away message for me: if I wanted her to be in love with me, I had to engage in talk with her about the problems she saw in life, even if it scared me.

In fact, now that I think about it, most of my wife's complaints have nothing to do with me, geez why didn't I figure that out before? I've felt attacked for years and I don't need to.

This sounds pretty common from posts I've seen on Dr. Harley's private forum. We husbands want to provide an enjoyable lifestyle, and any indication that it's not enjoyable we take as a personal request to fix it, and if we're put in a situation where we can't fix it we take it as disrespectful. When really that may not be what she was saying at all. smile

I need to take each comment, analyze it, and react accordingly. In fact if I can continue to eliminate DJs while becoming my wife's #1 shoulder to cry on/vent on I think there is an excellent chance she'll cross that threshold.


Is this day 4?

Yes this is Day 4 of the No DJ Zone.

Excellent, excellent stuff here, quite a breakthrough in my mind. I think what you are saying is that as a problem solving guy I would take each comment or complaint as disrespectful based on the fact that I couldn't fix her problem? Do I have that right? Is it possible that if I am able to recognize the difference between my wife having a problem vs a complaint about me then I'll eliminate much of the conflict? If something around the house bothers my wife, I customarily take it as a direct criticism of me not having found out about it and fixed it without asking. These will be hard to recognize based on her frequent disrespectful tone or context. Secondly, the sheer number of "We need to...." sentences tends to stress me out sometimes, so whether it is a complaint or not sometimes doesn't matter. If I were to make a respectful request of my wife it would be to lower the total number of problem-related comments over a 24 hour period. Not sure how to do that without being disrespectful.

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