NSCRIV -

I�ve read through your posts and I want you to know that I think you�re in the right place. You may feel like marriage builders can�t help, that your situation is too messed up and that unless your wife engages, nothing can change. But based on what I�ve read there are still some things you haven�t done, some approaches you haven�t tried that might help improve your dynamic.

I�m going to quickly summarize your situation as I understand it.

Let�s get clear on your goals � You want to be in love with your wife and you want your wife to be in love with you. Right now you�re certainly not in love. You feel like a slave around the house. You feel like you give and she takes. I am pretty she sure she is not in love with you either � though she seems to be suffering less in your marriage since she isn�t the one asking for change.

You�ve mentioned three areas you�d like your wife�s behavior to change in that would make you happier
Domestic Support
Conversation
Physical attractiveness

You�d also like her to stop
Independent behavior (especially overworking on her business at your family�s expense.)
Annoying habits (not picking up after herself)

You feel like when you ask her nicely, she brushes it off and nothing changes. This frustrates you a lot (understandably) and you end up expressing anger and criticism � which of course doesn�t change anything either � not for very long � and it makes a MAJOR withdrawal from her love bank.

Here�s my advice

1)Stop the angry outbursts (AO) COMPLETELY.

This is abusive behavior and it is also NEVER going to get you what you want. I hear that you are tired of focusing on improving yourself � but AOs are non-negotiable. They need to be completely eliminated. She has to know that no matter what, you will not verbally abuse her as you have. This is a totally failed attempt at controlling your wife. Your wife doesn�t want to be controlled. She will resist your attempts at control � either directly of passively. But you will not get what you want. IF YOU WANT YOUR WIFE TO ACT LIKE AN ADULT, TREAT HER LIKE AN ADULT. Your AOs are probably making the problem worse. She may be rebelling like a teenager, showing you she can�t be controlled by a bully parent.

2)Your disrespectful judgments (DJ) also have to go.

Obviously vocalized criticism is out � but you need to work on your unspoken criticism as well. I hear a lot of judgment in your words here � lazy, selfish, childish. These are judgments of character, not descriptions of behaviors. Your wife is smart. She knows how you what are feeling and what you are thinking. If you believe you can keep your critical thoughts and feelings about your wife a secret � I think you�re wrong. Maybe from a colleague or a stranger � but not your wife. And she registers those unspoken criticisms. It affects her just as if you�d said them.

3)You need to understand and meet her emotional needs.

Someone on this thread asked you what they were. Do you know? How are you doing? Based on her behavior I wonder if one of her needs is admiration (working two years on an unprofitable business, talking about it all the time.) If so, your criticisms and lack of value of what she values must be devastating.

As you accomplish these things the environment of your marriage will change. She will feel like changing not because she�s being bullied by a parent but because she is being asked by an equal � an equal she is in love with. IMO you are a long way from seeing her and treating her like a true equal. No wonder she has done nothing to change.

OK � I�ve focused on you, but what about her? Here are some other ideas to encourage/persuade her to change her behavior. (Some of these are repeats.)

1)Use only respectful requests
2)Use �I� statements ("When you do X, I feel Y")
3)Fill her love bank which often causes people to want to reciprocate.
4)Don't enable her - don't clean up after her if doing so makes your resentful.
5)Start using the POJA - like you would with an equal. Find a win-win for situations like house cleaning and her business. I think you guys could make some serious progress with this.


That�s it � those are your main tools.

You�ve asked if a separation would be a good idea. Harley does recommend separation at times.

1) If you simply can�t control the fighting and angry outbursts, you may consider a separation. You might say �I love you too much to fight. I am so unhappy in our current situation I can�t be around you without losing my temper. I think it is safer for us to be apart until we can make some progress in our relationship.� In this case you would have a clear plan to work on things � seeing a counselor etc � working on getting back together.

2) If you have truly controlled your AO/DJs and cheerfully asked for change with respectful requests for a significant amount of time (I don�t get the impression you�ve achieved this yet) then I think Harley would recommend considering a separation � to wake the reluctant spouse up to the reality of their situation� they may lose their partner if they don�t change their behavior. But right now I don't think you're ready for this type of separation. I don�t think you�ve cleaned up your side of the street enough.

I hope this is helpful. My W and I have experienced some of the same dynamic you have described. It can be maddening. I remember feeling and saying many of the things you�ve described here. Our improvement was a slow process � and it continues � but I can tell you real change can be made. Don�t expect huge changes over night. As you noted, this dynamic has been present in your relationship for a long time, maybe from the start. To expect rapid change is unrealistic. But that is not to say things shouldn�t change. You both deserve what you both want � a happy and satisfying marriage. I think you can totally achieve and new, different and better marriage - but only by doing things in new, different and better ways... More of the same will simply get you more of the same.