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Originally Posted By: aBetterMe
Originally Posted By: markos
One thing that really concerns me: there's a lot of posting here about your unmet needs. What's going on right now to meet your wife's needs? I assume you are doing something ... is it what she wants? I'm not sure how your wife is, but a typical woman would like a lot of small, regular, frequent affectionate acts rather than a couple of large, big, expensive ones. The key phrase is: "environment of affection."


Hilltopper - I've seen this question asked many times throughout this thread. What SPECIFICALLY has your wife asked of you to meet her needs? I'm not getting the impression all the gifts you're giving her are what she wants.


I realize that I've shared a couple of "gift giving" stories which has given the impression that I am perhaps trying to buy my wife or meet her EN's improperly. If you read back through there are many stories of other things totally unrelated to gifts of any kind that were meant to show that I'm making an effort. A while back when we were just learning this stuff, my wife told me her #1 EN was romance. My exercise in giving thoughtful gifts was showing "effort". My wife is concerned that I just don't care about anything and has mentioned that the key element to much of her EN's, whether it be affection, DS, etc is "effort." On my end I felt that my efforts were either never received well or never led to my own EN's being met so I kind of "gave up." To answer your question my wife wants "affection", "conversation", and most of all "honesty". She interprets much of my affection for her as being thoughtful. Conversation isn't her talking and me pretending to listen, it is me looking her in the eyes and taking a genuine interest in what is meaningful to her. Honesty(this is the biggy) is me not clamming up or making faces when something is bothering me, it is telling her immediately how I'm feeling, or asking her if something is wrong rather than coming to my own conclusions. I realized that despite being an honest person, I was not being honest by withholding my feelings and keeping it bottled up inside. Keep in mind this discovery occurred yesterday about noon so the implementation of this honesty is still new. I have yet since that time yesterday withheld anything from my wife and will continue to do so.


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Originally Posted By: markos
Still listening to the radio program? Friday had a great segment about the difference between complaints and criticism that you might want to hear.


Missed Friday because we were traveling. I also missed it because I read something to her Friday morning off the forum and she told me she needed a break from MB. I figured it not a good idea to then hop in the car for our trip and turn on the MB Radio Program. I did listen to it this morning which might have been Friday's show, but just the tail end. I'm gonna listen today's show on the way home. Very priceless stuff on there.


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Originally Posted By: markos
I don't know that individual counseling and delving into childhood issues is really a positive way forward. Dr. Harley says that doing so makes the problems of the past into problems of the present.


I'm totally blowing up this thread! LOL

Hi Markos,

I while I understand Dr. Harley's reasoning regarding individual counseling, I suggest it here because it has helped me so much with understanding more about my present behavior. I'm a very logical person and it's helpful to have a neutral third party to provide insight and to bounce feelings and ideas off of.

The purpose of counseling in my situation was not to have a place to wallow in my anxiety or sadness but rather a "class" to attend to learn more about my strengths and shortcomings. Counseling is not efffective if you are passive, but if you put in the work and take it seriously there is so much you can learn.

In this context, I think Hilltopper could find counseling useful. There is so much blame between him and his wife, and he doesn't seem truly willing to look at himself in all of this. He's essentially says over and over "I'm putting in the work to meet her EN's but she's not doing good enough in response." And while he recognizes when he AO or DJ's, he's not making much in the way of changes, just apologizing and doing the same thing 3 days later and then blames his wife for it. I think counseling could really help with anger management as well.

Just my 2 cents. smile


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Great, keep listening! Try to catch Friday's show if the iPhone app lets you go back.

Did Grace say why she wanted a break from Marriage Builders?


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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Quote:
In this context, I think Hilltopper could find counseling useful. There is so much blame between him and his wife, and he doesn't seem truly willing to look at himself in all of this. He's essentially says over and over "I'm putting in the work to meet her EN's but she's not doing good enough in response." And while he recognizes when he AO or DJ's, he's not making much in the way of changes, just apologizing and doing the same thing 3 days later and then blames his wife for it. I think counseling could really help with anger management as well.


Actually, he has come quite a ways in changing himself. Hilltopper and Grace have only just started the program. Give them some time -- these are not skills that are perfected overnight.


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Originally Posted By: markos
Hill, aBetterMe is right in that you need to do more about your abusive love busters. An apology alone isn't sufficient. You have been involved in these for years, and it's going to take your wife some time to recover from that, and of course she can't do that if they are ongoing.

Have you read the opening chapters of Dr. Harley's book Love Busters, recently? There's a conversation in there that frightens me in which a man has it out with his wife and finally tells her what's bothering him. It frightens me because I identify with it so much. It sounds just like how I've treated Prisca. The scary thing is that at the end of the conversation he feels much better! His wife, on the other hand, does not. She is traumatized. She may agree to what he wants, but because he used love busters along the path to getting it, giving him what he wants results in debits in his account in her love bank, destroying their marriage.

Grace isn't here giving us her perception on the weekend, and so we have no way of knowing how she feels about it. I assure you that if she does not feel as optimistic as you do right now, then that is important information. She may feel terrible as a result of your love busters, even though you apologized!

No tolerance for SDs, DJs, and AOs in marriage means exactly what it says: NO tolerance, at all. These behaviors are like nuclear weapons. They will not give you what you want; they only set up a situation like the United States and the Soviet Union in the Cold War: mutually assured destruction. The only way to win that game is not to play it.

You guys have got to avoid fights at all costs. AT ALL COSTS. That literally means you should leave conflicts unresolved temporarily if that is what it takes for you to avoid fights. You should leave your needs unmet temporarily if that is what it takes for you to avoid fights. You can refuse to fight no matter what she does or does not do. You can refuse to use SDs, DJs, and AOs no matter what she does or does not do.

Your conversations have got to become pleasant. Conversation is almost certainly a top emotional need for one or both of you. If it is not one now, it almost certainly will move into the top once other problems are taken care of and the two of you move toward intimacy. Probably solving conversations are usually not enjoyable and don't meet the emotional need for conversation at all. Even less so when they go into love busters! As long as you engage in love busters, you will be creating a situation where you cannot meet your wife's need for intimate conversation. A better idea on your drive might have been, after your bad behavior, to DROP the subject and save it for later and engage in some ENJOYABLE conversation if your wife was willing. Conversation is just about the make-or-break EN for many women. At all costs you must avoid the enemies of conversation that Dr. Harley lists in His Needs, Her Needs.

I hope this doesn't sound too rough, but you have got to learn to hold yourself to an absolutely high standard of NO tolerance. Be on your best behavior for the woman whose heart you are trying to win. It is better for you and us here to get into a tussle and rough you up holding you to a higher standard than for your wife to feel like she's having to drag you up to that standard. wink But of course it's best not to have such a tussle at all.

I don't know that individual counseling and delving into childhood issues is really a positive way forward. Dr. Harley says that doing so makes the problems of the past into problems of the present. But we all already have enough problems of the present! Learn to keep a lid on your behavior in the present, and meet your wife's emotional needs, and your marriage will recover and thrive, probably in fairly short order! But until it is thriving, if you are still engaging in love busters, don't fall into the trap of looking at anything else as being the cause of the problem.

One thing that really concerns me: there's a lot of posting here about your unmet needs. What's going on right now to meet your wife's needs? I assume you are doing something ... is it what she wants? I'm not sure how your wife is, but a typical woman would like a lot of small, regular, frequent affectionate acts rather than a couple of large, big, expensive ones. The key phrase is: "environment of affection."


I know for certain my wife hated this weekend. I also know that my multiple apologies will not be enough to get over it that fast because I've disappointed her before. If I could just say one more time that my inability to speak up when I feel my wife DJ'd me, or neglected to meet my needs, is a massive breakthrough. I really don't want any of you to overlook this because it is so key in every issue we ever have. After wine tasting when she stared out the window my feelings told me that she was mad at me. No good real reason other than I thought we had a pretty good time and that the conversation would likely continue. Truth is she had a slight buzz after some wine and eating and just wanted to enjoy the scenery! :)I don't have to "assume" things anymore and that is so exciting for me and hopefully will be for my wife as she sees my behavior. Sometimes with people as emotionally dense as I am, you have to tell them the same things in ten different ways until it makes sense. I feel that about this discovery of mine. I also can feel your frustration you likely share with my wife about me not getting it.


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Originally Posted By: markos
Great, keep listening! Try to catch Friday's show if the iPhone app lets you go back.

Did Grace say why she wanted a break from Marriage Builders?


I don't think she put out a press release about it but my gut tells me it was a reaction to me pushing it so hard the previous two days?


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Originally Posted By: Hilltopper1972

I know for certain my wife hated this weekend. I also know that my multiple apologies will not be enough to get over it that fast because I've disappointed her before. If I could just say one more time that my inability to speak up when I feel my wife DJ'd me, or neglected to meet my needs, is a massive breakthrough. I really don't want any of you to overlook this because it is so key in every issue we ever have. After wine tasting when she stared out the window my feelings told me that she was mad at me. No good real reason other than I thought we had a pretty good time and that the conversation would likely continue. Truth is she had a slight buzz after some wine and eating and just wanted to enjoy the scenery! :)I don't have to "assume" things anymore and that is so exciting for me and hopefully will be for my wife as she sees my behavior. Sometimes with people as emotionally dense as I am, you have to tell them the same things in ten different ways until it makes sense. I feel that about this discovery of mine. I also can feel your frustration you likely share with my wife about me not getting it.

Do you recognize those assumptions of yours as DJs? It's great that you see that you don't have to assume anything, but do you realize that when you DO make assumptions, you are DJing her?


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Originally Posted By: aBetterMe
Originally Posted By: markos
I don't know that individual counseling and delving into childhood issues is really a positive way forward. Dr. Harley says that doing so makes the problems of the past into problems of the present.


I'm totally blowing up this thread! LOL

Hi Markos,

I while I understand Dr. Harley's reasoning regarding individual counseling, I suggest it here because it has helped me so much with understanding more about my present behavior. I'm a very logical person and it's helpful to have a neutral third party to provide insight and to bounce feelings and ideas off of.

The purpose of counseling in my situation was not to have a place to wallow in my anxiety or sadness but rather a "class" to attend to learn more about my strengths and shortcomings. Counseling is not efffective if you are passive, but if you put in the work and take it seriously there is so much you can learn.

In this context, I think Hilltopper could find counseling useful. There is so much blame between him and his wife, and he doesn't seem truly willing to look at himself in all of this. He's essentially says over and over "I'm putting in the work to meet her EN's but she's not doing good enough in response." And while he recognizes when he AO or DJ's, he's not making much in the way of changes, just apologizing and doing the same thing 3 days later and then blames his wife for it. I think counseling could really help with anger management as well.

Just my 2 cents. smile


There's a number of problems with some counselors, and you have to know what approach you're getting. Some are so bad as to encourage you to end your marriage so that you can be happy! Others follow all kinds of ineffective approaches.

The anger management field is particularly bad about that. There are all kinds of failed approaches out there that are still going strong, like teaching people to "express their anger appropriately" or having them "vent" to try to "get it all out" by punching a pillow or screaming or raging or such (which just reinforces the habit of anger, intensifying the problem) or trying to resolve issues from their past or get in touch with their inner child. None of these work. At least, that's what my anger management therapist tells me! smile And Dr. Harley agrees with him, apparently.

If a counselor knows how to eliminate the problems of Selfish Demands, Disrespectful Judgments, and Angry Outbursts, knows how to teach new habits to replace these, then that could be very helpful. If the counselor is told this is the goal up front, and actually has a past track record of effectiveness dealing with these, and doesn't go on a fishing expedition to try to get to the "real problem" behind the problem or whatever. On that note, I think Hilltopper could really benefit from calling up Steve Harley, alone, and saying "I have a problem with Selfish Demands, Disrespectful Judgments, and Angry Outbursts; can you help coach me through a plan to eliminate these?"

Quote:
I'm a very logical person and it's helpful to have a neutral third party to provide insight and to bounce feelings and ideas off of.

The purpose of counseling in my situation was not to have a place to wallow in my anxiety or sadness but rather a "class" to attend to learn more about my strengths and shortcomings.


There are some neutral third parties here, and we can be a good class to teach the MB concepts. smile Of course, we are peers and not professionals.

Quote:
There is so much blame between him and his wife, and he doesn't seem truly willing to look at himself in all of this. He's essentially says over and over "I'm putting in the work to meet her EN's but she's not doing good enough in response." And while he recognizes when he AO or DJ's, he's not making much in the way of changes, just apologizing and doing the same thing 3 days later and then blames his wife for it.


I'm not sure that any of us has enough insight to read Hilltopper and judge his motivations this deeply. He may simply not know how to do what you are saying, yet, so saying that he is unwilling to is a little bit more than I think anyone can say.

The fact is that as long as Hilltopper doesn't eliminate SDs, DJs, and AOs, his marriage will never be able to improve long-term. The Marriage Builders plan calls for eliminating these three categories of abusive behavior. What does Dr. Harley do when someone comes to see him and isn't following the plan? Well, according to his book Effective Marriage Counseling, Dr. Harley focuses with such a person on their failure to follow the plan.

The Marriage Builders material is chock full of help to eliminate these three abusive behaviors, especially if a person reads and listens to everything he can get his hands on and FOLLOWS it diligently, like his life depends on it. smile Hilltopper has been dabbling in the material since at least the beginning of the year, but we saw him really start to focus on the problem of his SDs, DJs, and AOs just a couple of weeks ago. Two weeks is a really short time to give up and say "It didn't work, we're going to need more help."


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, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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Originally Posted By: Hilltopper1972
A while back when we were just learning this stuff, my wife told me her #1 EN was romance. My exercise in giving thoughtful gifts was showing "effort". My wife is concerned that I just don't care about anything and has mentioned that the key element to much of her EN's, whether it be affection, DS, etc is "effort." On my end I felt that my efforts were either never received well or never led to my own EN's being met so I kind of "gave up."

To answer your question my wife wants "affection", "conversation", and most of all "honesty". She interprets much of my affection for her as being thoughtful. Conversation isn't her talking and me pretending to listen, it is me looking her in the eyes and taking a genuine interest in what is meaningful to her. Honesty(this is the biggy) is me not clamming up or making faces when something is bothering me, it is telling her immediately how I'm feeling, or asking her if something is wrong rather than coming to my own conclusions. I realized that despite being an honest person, I was not being honest by withholding my feelings and keeping it bottled up inside. Keep in mind this discovery occurred yesterday about noon so the implementation of this honesty is still new. I have yet since that time yesterday withheld anything from my wife and will continue to do so.


A couple of following questions for items in red:

1. Romance is not a true emotional need so I will interpret this to be "Affection". What specifically has she said is the affection she was to receive? Is this impromptu kisses, flowers on Friday, a weekly date night without kids? I know she wants you to show "effort" but that isn't clear enough. Effort doing what exactly? I'm still concerned you're not doing the right thing since you state your efforts have not been received well.

2. What is "thoughtful"? Making dinner when she's exhausted without her having to ask? Running an errand or two on your way home from work? Again, if she hasn't specified, she needs to.

A final thought on just realizing the importance of honestly sharing feelings. I've only just recently FULLY understood the absolute importance of Radical Honestly and I believe this is the most important aspect of MB so embrace it. If you can't be honest, any "progress" will crumble under the weight of the lies it was built upon.


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Originally Posted By: Hilltopper1972
Originally Posted By: markos
Great, keep listening! Try to catch Friday's show if the iPhone app lets you go back.

Did Grace say why she wanted a break from Marriage Builders?


I don't think she put out a press release about it but my gut tells me it was a reaction to me pushing it so hard the previous two days?


Pushing hard == demand.


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, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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Just a comment: when you reply to posts that contain questions, answer the questions. It helps us help you. Don't treat the questions as rhetorical.


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, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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Originally Posted By: Prisca
Originally Posted By: Hilltopper1972

I know for certain my wife hated this weekend. I also know that my multiple apologies will not be enough to get over it that fast because I've disappointed her before. If I could just say one more time that my inability to speak up when I feel my wife DJ'd me, or neglected to meet my needs, is a massive breakthrough. I really don't want any of you to overlook this because it is so key in every issue we ever have. After wine tasting when she stared out the window my feelings told me that she was mad at me. No good real reason other than I thought we had a pretty good time and that the conversation would likely continue. Truth is she had a slight buzz after some wine and eating and just wanted to enjoy the scenery! :)I don't have to "assume" things anymore and that is so exciting for me and hopefully will be for my wife as she sees my behavior. Sometimes with people as emotionally dense as I am, you have to tell them the same things in ten different ways until it makes sense. I feel that about this discovery of mine. I also can feel your frustration you likely share with my wife about me not getting it.

Do you recognize those assumptions of yours as DJs? It's great that you see that you don't have to assume anything, but do you realize that when you DO make assumptions, you are DJing her?


But of course! How many DJing Hilltoppers does it take to screw in a light bulb? banghead

That is what I meant by illustrating my wife staring out the window. I'll never again assume anything, I'll just ask, she'll tell me, and we'll be done with it.


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Originally Posted By: Hilltopper1972
I know for certain my wife hated this weekend.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but she really wasn't enthusiastic about the weekend originally, was she?


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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Originally Posted By: markos
Originally Posted By: Hilltopper1972
I know for certain my wife hated this weekend.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but she really wasn't enthusiastic about the weekend originally, was she?


She planned the entire weekend months ago. I thought it sounded fun. She told me she didn't want to go on the trip because we were fighting and didn't want to have to "put on a smiley face" around family as if everything was ok. I was totally down with not going because I was feeling much the same about it. A day or two passed, they were fairly pleasant and we both decided together we definitely wanted to go. It wasn't all bad, there were many really fun times we had with the kids and each other for sure.


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Originally Posted By: markos
There's a number of problems with some counselors, and you have to know what approach you're getting. Some are so bad as to encourage you to end your marriage so that you can be happy! Others follow all kinds of ineffective approaches.


I 110% agree with you. I knew exacty what i wanted from counseling and what I would and wouldn't accept as "advice" thanks to all I've read and learned on this site. My counselor has never once mentioned (or probably thought of mentioning) anything ridiculous like "trial separation" or "divorce". She knows my goals and simply helps me reach them, but as you've said there ARE TERRIBLE counselors. You definitely have to know how to identify them.


Originally Posted By: markos
The anger management field is particularly bad about that. There are all kinds of failed approaches out there that are still going strong, like teaching people to "express their anger appropriately" or having them "vent" to try to "get it all out" by punching a pillow or screaming or raging or such (which just reinforces the habit of anger, intensifying the problem) or trying to resolve issues from their past or get in touch with their inner child. None of these work. At least, that's what my anger management therapist tells me! smile And Dr. Harley agrees with him, apparently.


**edit**

Originally Posted By: markos
If a counselor knows how to eliminate the problems of Selfish Demands, Disrespectful Judgments, and Angry Outbursts, knows how to teach new habits to replace these, then that could be very helpful. If the counselor is told this is the goal up front, and actually has a past track record of effectiveness dealing with these, and doesn't go on a fishing expedition to try to get to the "real problem" behind the problem or whatever. On that note, I think Hilltopper could really benefit from calling up Steve Harley, alone, and saying "I have a problem with Selfish Demands, Disrespectful Judgments, and Angry Outbursts; can you help coach me through a plan to eliminate these?"


You and I are on the same page! grin

Originally Posted By: markos
I'm not sure that any of us has enough insight to read Hilltopper and judge his motivations this deeply. He may simply not know how to do what you are saying, yet, so saying that he is unwilling to is a little bit more than I think anyone can say.


You're correct, and it was wrong to judge. I should have stated my observation in a different way. My apologies Hilltopper. And Markos while I agree that 2 weeks is a short amount of time to say "I need more help", honestly I wish I had asked for extra help earlier in my own process. That's why I opted to share the idea.

Last edited by Fireproof; 05/09/11 07:19 PM. Reason: TOS let's stick to Marriage Builders please

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Originally Posted By: Hilltopper1972
Originally Posted By: markos
Originally Posted By: Hilltopper1972
I know for certain my wife hated this weekend.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but she really wasn't enthusiastic about the weekend originally, was she?


She planned the entire weekend months ago. I thought it sounded fun. She told me she didn't want to go on the trip because we were fighting and didn't want to have to "put on a smiley face" around family as if everything was ok. I was totally down with not going because I was feeling much the same about it. A day or two passed, they were fairly pleasant and we both decided together we definitely wanted to go. It wasn't all bad, there were many really fun times we had with the kids and each other for sure.


Okay, the scenario wasn't exactly what I thought it was, then.

See how much damage fighting does? First it almost robbed you of a great opportunity to deposit love units in your account. Then, it transformed that opportunity into an experience your wife hated.

You have got to stop the fighting; you have got to unilaterally disarm.

Hilltopper, I'm concerned that your wife feels like she needs a break from Marriage Builders. That tells me she doesn't feel like this has been a win for her. That tells me she feels like you are asking more from her than you are giving.

Put the problem of your own love busters on the front burner and solve it, fast! Put the problem of her meeting or not meeting your emotional needs on the back burner until this problem is dealt with.


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, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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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Hill,
You are losing your wife. She is becoming increasingly discouraged by your continued DJs.

STOP assuming she's not doing her part.
STOP name calling (just eliminate the word "bitch" from your vocabulary, okay?)
STOP THE DEMANDS

Your wife is trying, and you are losing her. STOP THE ABUSE.

You are going to have to work overtime to fill her Love Bank after you drained it dry this weekend. What are you going to do for her?

Are you committed to completely eliminating the abusive Love Busters? Are you committed to protecting your wife from yourself?

What, in detail, is your plan? How are you going to protect your wife?

Originally Posted By: markos
Put the problem of your own love busters on the front burner and solve it, fast! Put the problem of her meeting or not meeting your emotional needs on the back burner until this problem is dealt with.

What he said. Just do it.


Markos' Wife
FWW - EA
8 kids ...
What to do with an Angry Husband

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Hill - you are definitely putting your needs ahead of your wife's needs.

Markos and Prisca are both giving you good advice and guidance. I've been there right where you are too.

Protect your wife. Protect her man!! Would you treat your boss or even some stranger like you treat her? I think not!

Make a plan according to MB principles and then get on board! This woman truly loves you.

By the way - you probably won't get this but I'm going to put it out to you anyway - It's not all about you! Think about it friend.


Me - 46
Wife - 43
2 x DD
Married 18 yrs - known each other for 22 yrs
Woke up 12/2009 and realized I was an idiot for neglecting my WIFE!
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Hill, I saw a list of funny comments one time about what men want women to know/do. I think this one applies to you:

"If there are two ways to take something, I meant it the way that doesn't make you mad."

You need to give your wife the benefit of the doubt much more than you have.

I also agree with the other poster that you should limit your use of alcohol during your UA time for a bit, as it may be aggravating your anger with each other. I've recently realized this in my marriage as well. Its not always easy to do as I live in Australia and alcohol is always on offer.

Keep at it Hill, you guys can make it.

Oh, one more thing, you need to let your wife explain to you what she means about romance or doing nice things. I asked my husband for more romance and he took that to mean more sex. I said, no its doing nice things for me, and bringing me little tokens that show that he was thinking about me. He just refuted that and said "oh, that again."

So for him romance is cuddling and more sex, and for me its thoughtful acts. We're both right.

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