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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Sorry but I disagree. You can see your husband was very uncomfortable with your grief and it ruined your conversation with him. You DID burden him with your grief. Unless your goal is to make him uncomfortable, I wouldn't do that to him again. One of the enemies of good conversation is bringing up unpleasant subjects. Being "honest" does not mean dragging up every unpleasant thing from the past. Dr Harley even tells people who have been victims of affairs NOT to bring up the affair after the truth is known. And why is that? Because it is unpleasant and ruins the conversation.

Trying to force him to endure such displays of grief is not an approach that works with him.


Glad to hear your perspective, ML, thanks for elaborating. I'll ask SH about it in our session tomorrow, too. I want to make sure I understand this concept. MrRollieEyes


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Originally Posted By: Zhamila


Glad to hear your perspective, ML, thanks for elaborating. I'll ask SH about it in our session tomorrow, too. I want to make sure I understand this concept. MrRollieEyes


Zhamila, wouldn't you agree that makes him uncomfortable? By your own admission it made him so uneasy he quickly changed the subject. You can see it does not deliver a positive benefit to your conversation. Dr Harley has told women on his radio show who cry alot around their husbands to learn to stop it because it is an enemy of good conversation. This is the same thing.

Why not focus on making your converstation pleasant for BOTH of you instead of criticizing him for not being empathetic enough?

I know how it makes people feel when someone discusses a painful death and breaks down into tears. When my son was killed, I saw first hand how hard it was on others to see my grief. And it also kept me griefstricken to revisit the pain. When I stopped going there, I felt much better faster.

From my perspective, you would BOTH benefit if you stop talking about it. He wouldn't feel so uneasy around you and you would feel better sooner. A win/win for both.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
You expect empathy from him but afford him none.

I am very surprised that you dont understand how hard it for most people to endure displays of grief. That shows a lack of empathy on your part too. Do you realize that?


Thanks again, ML. Our posts kept overlapping!

Just to clarify, this was not a bawling fit. I very quietly said the thing about my dad. There were tears coming to my eyes (I do not cry easily) but they hadn't fallen. I wasn't crying, screaming or otherwise emoting in a 'display.'

As to my lack of empathy, I fully agree. I am not being empathetic to him at all lately. I guess I think it's "his turn" to show some empathy. My Taker has taken over.

This is very bad, because it's not going to help us at all.



sigh


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Originally Posted By: Zhamila
[
Just to clarify, this was not a bawling fit. I very quietly said the thing about my dad. There were tears coming to my eyes (I do not cry easily) but they hadn't fallen. I wasn't crying, screaming or otherwise emoting in a 'display.'
:



But, it was a display of grief. And it DID make him uneasy. It makes many people very uneasy. That is my point. I understand it is hard to empathetic when you are at war. The more in love you are, the more empathetic you are so I am sure it will come!


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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Thanks ML!

Looking forward to being in love again, and more empathetic!

loveheart


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Originally Posted By: Zhamila
In fact, on the way to the symphony tonight, he said something disrespectful to me. I said, "That's not earning you points, and we need to get some points." He immediately responded, "Well you need points, too."

You know, 'cause it's all about him, always. You know, 'cause my feelings never matter, just his.


This whole thing is pretty disrespectful. The first part screams to me the whole "okay, son, you get three dollars this week because you only earned three stars on your chore chart."

How did you expect him to respond? Your statement to him says, "I'm keeping score". In my early days at MB, I started tracking on paper everytime I did something that was in my wife's top ENs (like if I washed teh dishes since she has DS as a top EN). I did it so I could make sure I was meeting her needs multiple times a day. Innocent enough, right? Well then I started tracking when she met my needs and then it ended up being "Okay, according to my figures and charts here, I have done X number of things for you and you have only done Y number of things for me. Obviously I'm trying harder and the better spouse." Now I didn't say that but I might as well have. Essesntially you're throwing it in his face that he's not doing good enough.

Use drive by honesty if he says something you find disrespectful. A simple "I would appreciate it if you didn't say ....." There's no need to go any further. If he tries to engage in an argument, you simply say, "I'm just saying I would appreciate if you didn't say......" And then change the subject. Something like "hey! Would you like to bake some cookies together in a bit/" works great.
Quote:
...And I'm sleeping in my son's room, and he pokes his head in the door and asks, "Why are you in here?" So I ask, "Do you really want to know?" and he says, "Yeah."

"Because I get hurt around you, and sometimes I need to protect myself from the hurt."

"Fine." - he closes the door, leaves.

...nah. He didn't really want to know.


Stop wtih the whole 'do you really want to konw?' statements. Here was actually a good time to have a conversation but you immediately put him on the defensive by telling him that he's hurting you and you have to protect yourself from him. He prob thinks you're being overly dramatic. You could have reworded that and it very possibly might have had a much better result.

If he didn't want to konw, he wouldn't have asked. Sometimes you have to help your spouse out a bit if you want to have a conversation. Men generally do not want to have emotional-feely type conversations. It makes a lot of us uncomfortable. It doesn't mean we are adverse to expressing how we feel or talking about how things impact us. It doesn't mean we can't support our wife as she expresses how she feels. But you can't approach him like you would one of your female friends. There really is an art to conversation.


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Great Radio Clips on good ways to have Intimate Conversation.

Friends and enemies of good conversation.

Radio Clip on Intimate Conversation
Intimate Conversation Segement 2
Intimate Conversation Segment 3

I hope they help.


FWW/BW (me)
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Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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{{Zhamila}}


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Thanks Anointed!

We did our session with SH this morning, and it was really, really good!

He basically said that we are responsible for our own jobs...not our spouse's. He addressed all my questions in the above posts but not as I had expected. He went deeper!

I asked, "How do I deal with times when I'm hurting & don't get an empathetic response?" He had my H and I talk it out. We were both encouraged to do our parts, think about 'creating the environment' so our spouse could be 'in love'.

He didn't let either of us off the hook. And he made it clear that if our goal is to create that environment, and one spouse tells the other the environment is "at risk" - then we should seek to find out why and fix it.

The temptation is always to look at what the other guy is doing. We're supposed to stay focued on what we're doing. Sounds so simple, but that doesn't mean "easy."

But, I have a renewed sense of strength and purpose!


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Our next assignment is to go through questionnaires together - which strikes fear in my heart!

We've tried this many times, and it always ends badly. BUT he told us exactly how to do it this time, so we'll see. We have to be "interviewers" and not try to solve the problems, just listen and understand. That's it.

We'll see how it goes! faint


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He had my H and I do that, and it is much better than handing over a piece of paper! Just remember, no emotion, no defending, just gathering info. That is all. Take a breather if you need one. A short one. Set game rules before you start, like a raised hand means that they would appreciate it if the other would take a short time out because they are getting emotional/angry/whatever. Do not let it escalate.


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CWMI - Great advice! It's to great to hear from someone who has been there.

Wednesday will be the day!


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Zhamila, you are getting great advice here!

I was very similar to you before I started learning about MB. In a way, I tried to bully my husband into showing he loved me but I didn't see it as bullying because I did it through low emotions and subtle SDs and DJs. It didn't work at all, it just drove him away.

I am here to tell you that taking the approach Steve suggested not only works better, but makes YOU feel better. When things aren't going the way I want, it triggers me to take action rather than feel sad and withdraw. Taking action is usually pretty fun for me, too - I plan some UA time, make sure I am looking attractive, think of funny and interesting things to say, etc. This almost always results in my husband being interested in meeting my ENs and avoiding LBs.

The truth is, my husband still acts like a renter sometimes but over time things have trended in a positive direction and overall I am much happier in my marriage. And, although my husband did speak with Steve a few times he wasn't as engaged as your husband is, so your future is looking bright my friend!

Just keep working on cleaning up your side of the fence.

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Originally Posted By: Penni4Thoughts
When things aren't going the way I want, it triggers me to take action rather than feel sad and withdraw. Taking action is usually pretty fun for me, too - I plan some UA time, make sure I am looking attractive, think of funny and interesting things to say, etc. This almost always results in my husband being interested in meeting my ENs and avoiding LBs.


Penni,

I love this idea. It seems pretty obvious when stated but taking immediate action on your own side of the street when you're frustrated is such a good idea. Gonna write that one down so i don't forget!


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MB has changed me and changed my life. I am becoming a better person for it, and building a better marriage. MB principles can truly help you create the love and the life you want.
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Originally Posted By: Penni4Thoughts
When things aren't going the way I want, it triggers me to take action rather than feel sad and withdraw. Taking action is usually pretty fun for me, too - I plan some UA time, make sure I am looking attractive, think of funny and interesting things to say, etc. This almost always results in my husband being interested in meeting my ENs and avoiding LBs.

And, although my husband did speak with Steve a few times he wasn't as engaged as your husband is, so your future is looking bright my friend!


This is such great advice Penni! I have started changing the subject to something light when the conversation gets "testy" - so I'm doing a little of this.

And having a strong sense of my own responsibility keeps me focused on doing my part - rather than getting upset when he doesn't do his part. I am determined to "create the environment."

weightlifter


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Update! Emotional Needs Questionnaire-Share:

We went through our first 5 ENs (didn't quite finish). We only had to take 2 breaks so far - when one of us got upset.

A (not so) funny thing on my #1 - conversation. I had just started reading it when he interrupted. He said, "OK, I got it."

I was so angry (literally, I had just started saying how many conversations per day/week/month, which is the beginning of the page) - I had to take a break! At least we laughed about it when we were done.

He took a break when I was telling him about Family commitment. It's hard to give positive examples, so I had to re-write that one! We did better after that.

One thing I noticed: he actually gave me "very satisfied" and "extremely satisfied" on one or two. I was shocked. He got almost all negatives. So I kind of feel bad, but it just shows where the Love Bank is right now.

I am so encouraged by the structured way of sharing, that I think we might be able to actually do our Love Buster inventory safely!!

hurray


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Hahaha, that is funny about the conversation EN. Talk about a live example of the problem! smile I'm glad ya'll were able to continue and find the humor in it, too.

Good luck on the rest! You will be speaking with Steve again? If you are, rest assured that you cam share the blips with him and he will guide each of you on how to keep moving forward.


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I have been more mindful of my selfishness & dismissiveness this week. I've noticed times when I cut him off, or pursue my own interests.

I'm working on focusing less on my hurt and more on my responsibility - It's cheering me up, being busy doing the right thing (even when I mess up & have to course-correct).

He has made efforts too, and that's helping so much! We've still got a very long road ahead, but at least I see willingness in both of us. With that willingness, we'll be able to build new habits.

If I had known how very effective Marriage Coaching w. SH was going to be, I would have done this years ago! I have had very poor experiences with other marriage counselors. I had some hope about it when we started, but now I am absolutely convinced!

Thanks to everyone here who encouraged us to reach out to SH. Feel free to pass along any experience or advice along the way!

grin


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That's great, Z! I find that you come here to fix your spouse and you end up fixing yourself!

Keep listening to the radio show. The articles are really helpful but hearing Dr Harley verbalize the information and reflect on it in different situations is invaluable.

Keep updating us, it's good to get continued support.

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CWMI - Thanks for the encouragement! We meet with Steve next Monday. I'm looking forward to what his questions will be about how we did. And I do have some questions about blips - glad we'll get to address those.

I did my best to ask questions that would really help me understand his needs. He gave me better ratings than I gave him, which does not suprise me - but makes me sad in a way.

A few things did surprise me: Affection is his #2, SF is #4 and he wants more frequent SF, but doesn't want me to initiate....so how's that gonna get more frequent unless he initiates more (puzzled)?

This one really threw me: Honesty is his #5, and he only wants me to tell him my "positive" reactions - no negative reactions. I'm not sure how "honest and open" that really is...but I'm sure SH will help us navigate that one.

We're gonna try the LB Questionnaire tomorrow. Will probably need more breaks on that one! mr eek


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Elizabeth Bowen

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