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I know I said it was enough for today, but I feel like I need to explain one thing a little better.

You said your conversation needed to get away from to do lists and be more fun.

The only reason I suggested you put conversation as a do do list item is that you need to start somewhere. You are good at getting things done.
If today you added " have a 1 hour light, fun conversation with H" you could probably figure out how to do it.

Figure this out with your husband's help. The two of you will do a better job than either one of you alone.

SS


I think sometimes about all the pain in the world. I hope we can ease that here, even if only a little bit.
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No, he doesn't know these. I do not feel comfortable bringing him to this place with as much as I've said.

I will give him the Emotional Need Questionaire.

We are together 24/7, much more than 15 hours. But these are the enjoyable hours:
Walking 1.5-3 hours 5 days a week. (So that is at least 10 hours a week there.)
An enjoyable outing once a week for at least half a day (4-5 hours)
Does church count? (3 hours)
We often go out with another couple and to be honest, that is the most fun time out of all of this other than church because the other people carry the conversation. We laugh and it is fun.

Policy of Joint Agreement: I think we have always done this. He checks with me about everything. If anything, I may be the one that tends to just do what I want.

I know that I need to work on radical honesty. He is very good at that.

I will have to read the four guidelines for successful negotiation. We never fight, so I am not sure if that is part of that or not. Will have to read this one. I will try to do that tonight.

Yes, I think we are both givers in all aspects of our lives.

Originally Posted by still seeking
[

Basic Concept #4: The Most Important Emotional Needs[/b]
Both of you should have completed an Emotional Needs Questionnaire. I know YOU have. If your H has not, that is the next step.
Basic Concept #5: The Policy of Undivided Attention
You should be spending at least 15 hours a week doing things together. I know you have filled out the Recreational Enjoyment Inventory. By now you should have made adjustments and be spending your time doing things you both really enjoy.
If not, make these adjustments as you go along. Please note, this does not mean you never do things the other does not feel as strongly about as you do, but I recommend those times be in addition to 20 or more hours doing things you really like.

Basic Concept #6: The Policy of Joint Agreement

You should be following this policy. I have not seen you post about it, but it's just as important as the rest of the concepts.

Basic Concept #7: Four Guidelines for Successful Negotiation
Basic Concept #8: The Policy of Radical Honesty

If your H does not know when you want SF, he can''t help you. You should let him decide if the pain is to much. (that's my opinion, for what it's worth)
You talked about knowing what the other will do in any given situation. How you know each other really well. This applies to feelings too. When I mentioned becoming one leads to the magic, I was mostly thinking of knowing each others feelings. If you always know when your H is burning with desire for you, and he knows when you have those feelings for him, skip to the next item. If not, work on this one as you go along.

Basic Concept #9: The Giver and Taker

We have not really discussed this one either. If either of you give to much, you are suffering to make the other happy. If either one takes to much, the other suffers.
Originally Posted by Yoda
Balance in the force you must find.



Make sure you are doing well with all of these basic concepts, or working on them and improving.
Next up, Making sure your emotional needs are being met.

SS

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Originally Posted by still seeking
Since SF does so much for you, and you put it first, that is where to put the most effort. If you had wonderful SF three days a week, your love bank would always be full. At least, that is what it looks like based on your prior comments.
You have already had a conversation with your H about it. Part of the problem is his pain. Hopefully you two have worked out a better arrangement for both of you.
Will his condition get worse? Is he improving.? Will it get better? It sounds like your giver does a lot of work helping him. (emotional well as physical) Your taker might not be happy.

I doubt that three days a week will be feasible. Right now once a week would be a big improvement. His condition comes and goes. This week has not been a good week. We go see the specialist again next week. And yes, my taker is not happy.
He made a comment about he might as well go out and work rather than staying in and being depressed. I know. I should have followed up on this. But when he is in pain, I withdraw. I don't know how to handle it. I want fun, silly, laughing. Which feels like I am a terrible person. What if our positions were reversed?



You are taking care of Recreational Companionship. Just remember to spend most of the time on things you BOTH enjoy.

At first my reaction was I have no clue what I enjoy. But that isn't exactly true. I would enjoy anything if he were fun, flirty, happy, laughing, etc. It really wouldn't matter what we did.

Admiration -

Can your H do more with admiration? You say he already does well, but can he do even better? Deep down inside are there things you do that you don't feel he notices?
He has told me thank you for many things today. He proofread the writing I am submitting and told me how good it was. He does a really good job.

Conversation -
You have said quite a bit about this one. Most of it is speculation. In other words, you are thinking about it and trying to figure out what you need, and how to make it work.
Two things -
One
I have a friend who I served closely with in various church positions. One evening I asked him what he had planned for the next day .He said "I am going shopping with my wife." Knowing that shopping was not one of his favorite activities, I told him I was sorry he had to do that.
Then he said something that made me think about my own marriage. He said "Oh no, you don't understand, It doesn't matter what we do, I just want to spend time with her.
If conversation is also important to your H, can you do that for him? Can you talk about anything just to be talking to HIM. It will get easier in time
Two
- If the conversation is for you - You will probably need to form new conversational habits. Perhaps you can start by making a suggestion list of things that you COULD talk about. Things you have done, things you will do. Things your H does that you are thankful for. What things are important to your H that you could talk about every day, but that you have not been interested in. Would you be more interested if it was on your "To Do" list and you got to check it off when you talked about it?
Would conversation be more fun if you talked about SF?
This is probably enough for today.
SS

Ok, so here is his list of what he likes to talk about: the legal matter he is facing, our mission work, the latest modification on the RV (that one is huge), a preacher he listens to that I abhor
I do not know if talking about SF would be fun for him or make him feel bad. We haven't done well talking about this or when we do, he is completely happy about everything and so I don't know how to say can we do something more exciting... But I think you have a good idea. I will make a list of possible topics in the morning and then try really hard to be upbeat and fun about them and see if I can get him to be that way in return. So I will start trying that this week.

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I think church should count. We sit next to each other... I get to listen to her sing the hymns. She has a wonderful voice and it makes me feel so good to hear her sing. After we get home, we often discuss the message given in the worship service.. On the other hand, my voice is not so good and she has to listen to me sing. Oh well.

She teaches Sunday School on the first and third Sundays and I get to listen. Sometimes I assist.
It's nice when humorous things happen. Last week the church WIFI system dropped her right in the middle of a PowerPoint presentation. My phone usually connects a little better, and she asked me if I could make my phone a hotspot so she could connect through my phone.

So anyway we got connected again, She whispered to me " You're my hotspot."
I thought another lady on the front row was going to die trying to stifle her laugh. My wife said later she didn't think anyone would be able to hear.

We definitely count church into our time together.

SS


I think sometimes about all the pain in the world. I hope we can ease that here, even if only a little bit.
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Today has been a good day.

I read the 4 guidelines of successful negotiation. I guess I don't know what we would need to negotiate. We rarely disagree. The rules sound fine and almost like, yeah, duh. I mean maybe we have done that unconsciously. But I was born old. I remember listening to my parents scream at each other growing up. They heard the words the other one said but not the thoughts/heart behind it. I used to imagine sitting them down and saying, "Mom, you hear dad saying xxxy but what he is really saying is he is scared to death of losing you." or whatever I could hear them saying. They didn't look at the other person's side at all. They didn't listen. So I have always tried to look at the other person's side first before my own, if I have one. Most of the time, if you look at things from their point of view, their requests are very, very reasonable.


I also gave him the emotional needs questionnaire. His top needs are Honesty and Openness, Physical Attractiveness, and Recreational Companionship.

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Originally Posted by Comfortable Shoe
Today has been a good day.
Good for you!
I am always happy when others have good days. Hope you keep having them.

I did not think you needed a lot of work with the four guidelines of suggested negotiation. Just listed all the "basics" to make sure.

Now that you know his needs, what are you thinking?
Would that take too much time to type out? (Just teasing.)

Does he know your needs?

If yes, what is he thinking about this process and what he has learned about you?

Still Seeking thinks about husband's number one need being honesty and openness, and hesitates to say the first thing that comes to mind...

Okay. I'm going to tell you what i'm thinking and i'm not going to hold anything back. I mean, it's not bad thoughts, maybe just not what you would expect me to say.

This first little bit is background information...
Having been on the forums for many years, very few men have honesty and openness as their first emotional need. If you have watched Dr Harley's videos on emotional needs, most men choose SF.

Now there's nothing wrong with someone choosing other needs as their number one. And again this is for background information, it's not in any way a judgment. I say this last because we are using words on a page to communicate. We don't have facial expression or tone of voice to help us understand the other's point of view. We can't look into another persons eyes to better understand where they are coming from. I just want to make sure you don't misunderstand why I am telling you these things, so I give more information than I might otherwise give.

In most cases, (based on my reading here for over 20 years) those who choose honesty and openess as their number one need have a spouse having an affair, and they want to know the truth. They need the truth to make decisions about their future. So... historically, most people on this website that have chosen honesty and openness as their number one need have had a catastrophic event happen in their lives that made them choose that as their number one.

Having said all that, does your Husband perhaps sense you have feelings you are not willing to share? Does he want to be as close to you as he possibly can, but feels down inside you are maybe holding some things back?

Or could it be that you waited a long time to tell him about your depression with all those associated feelings, and he doesn't ever want that to happen again?

I am trying to get a better feel for the way your husband thinks. You probably already know why he made that choice.

Feel free to comment. And again, If you could see me in person, you would know that all I want is to make this work for you. If I am putting the words together in ways that make you feel uncomfortable then I am sorry, and hope you will forgive me. I wish I was better at this.

Physical attractiveness as his second. You made some comments about that, and it looks like you are correct.

I feel to ask you... Did he comment to you about each one of his choices?
When my wife and I fill out the questionnaires, we talk to each other in detail about our choices. I hope the two of you are doing that. It is much easier to meet someone's needs if you know all the reasons why they picked that particular need.

Recreational Companionship is third, and you have said you feel good about this one. Hopefully your H feels good about it too?

Still Seeking will be working three or 4 days again this week and may be slow with replies. I hope you will keep posting about your progress.

The first week of July we'll be going to a cabin in the wilderness for 4 days. Thank Elon Musk for Starlink. We will have internet.

Not that I'll admit to getting on much. Mostly W and i will enjoy each other's company. We'll be the only ones there.

Remember that working your marriage improvement plan will not usually bring overnight success. I think I said it took us a couple of years. Slow and steady.

SS


I think sometimes about all the pain in the world. I hope we can ease that here, even if only a little bit.
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Oh please don't worry about offending me. And I apologize if I hurt your feelings about the get to the point. I regretting writing it and was going to erase it, but you can't do that on this forum.

Yes, we talked about our answers. He has a sheet on his board about his goals in life and number one is to be a man of integrity like his grandfather. He wants to live a very moral and upright life and always be right with the Lord. And so his wife should be the same. She should be a beacon of integrity to the community. No lying to people or cheating them. So openness and honesty is more about that.

Family Commitment was also important but he decided not rank it in the top 3 since we no longer have children at home. But his number two goal on his board is to have a Christian family. Even now though, his family is very important to him. He has maybe one friend but is super close to his family. He always made our children the priority. He is the one that cried when we dropped them off, not me. Luckily, he has a wonderful family of origin. I love all of them. My family was dysfunctional and spread out. Now that my family are all dead, we spend a lot of time with them.

Physical Attractiveness is more like physical fitness. Did I mention that there is a ton of obesity in his family? He is very vigilant and disciplined so he doesn't end up like them. He exercises every single day without fail no matter the weather. My walking with him makes him happy because he feels like I am at least doing something in that area. He wants us to be able to hike and be outdoors and do stuff into our 80's and 90's.

Recreational Companionship- His number three goal on the board is to be married to one wife for 50 years or more. And the forth one is to enjoy going on trips with his wife. We do that. A lot.

Ok, my needs: SF.. He just doesn't want SF to be a chore. He has so many other things that feel like duty that he doesn't want this to be another item on a checklist. (I have never had to give him a honey-do list. Ever. He has a yellow pad that he makes a daily to do list on that is practically the whole sheet. He will never ever finish. )

Admiration. Yes, he does a good job and has since our my breakdown a decade ago. His engineering mind is such that he looks at a room and instantly sees what is wrong. One day ( before our long conversation about this a decade ago) I spent the morning cleaning the kitchen and when he came in his comment was, "We should really get out the vacuum cleaner and vacuum around the finials as a lot of crumbs are there." I didn't tell him at the time, but during my breakdown I told him how demoralizing that was. Nothing was ever good enough. Attention to detail was extremely important to his work, but it made me feel like I couldn't do anything right. The kids had a joke that there was their clean, mom's clean and then dad's clean. When he cleans the kitchen I almost hate to eat in there. He uses toothpicks around the edges and such. Anyway, for the last decade he goes out of his way to praise me and thank me for everything I do. I will also say that the one good thing to come out of his medical event a decade ago was that he doesn't care about those nit picky things anymore either. In fact, I care more about the condition of the house than he does these days. We have kind of met in the middle.

But honestly my top need is not even on Dr. Harley's list. it is for fun and laughter. He used to make me laugh A LOT when we were dating. When people have gotten to know him better, they are always surprised at how funny he is.

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I wanted to come back because the description above makes him sound rather cold. He is not at all. Though he is an introvert, he is very, very, very good with people. He has a way of making people feel safe and heard. Someone stopped to ask him for advice yesterday in church. They like it when he is in the deacon meetings because he is a gentle voice of reason, who speaks with love. When he was working he was always the one that was mediating the difficulties between partners. He is very humble when most in his profession are arrogant. He has always told me he loves me multiple times a day. We always say it last thing if we talk on the phone or when we say goodbye in person. He loves to shower me with gifts and will buy something for me just because. The kids still joke because my pile at Christmas from him is always 3 times the size of the kids. Though now that we are older and kids are older we don't get much for each other anymore.

He is hardest of all on himself and berates himself for any and every mistake he makes whether it be cooking the roast too long or a parenting decision. He is still talking about mistakes he made with me 20 years ago and apologizing.

I did a good job of listening to him talk about his favorite subject this morning. He needs to buy some new lithium batteries for the RV. So I listened to all the pros and cons of each one, even though I have heard most, if not all of it many times before. I asked probing questions, looked him in the eye,etc. I know he doesn't want to make a mistake and buy the wrong ones. I am sure I will hear him a couple more times before he finally buys them.

We will be spending 4 hours in the car today, so I need to brainstorm more topics to talk about. It is just hard. Without my teaching job or having something that takes me regularly out of the home, I feel like I don't have much material to talk about. But I will brainstorm this morning.

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Originally Posted by Comfortable Shoe
We will be spending 4 hours in the car today...

How did it go?

You mentioned that they won't let us edit after posting.
We can edit for a few minutes only. Not sure why the very short window.

SS looks thoughtful...
Many things I would like to comment on. Not tonight though.

SS


I think sometimes about all the pain in the world. I hope we can ease that here, even if only a little bit.
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Went fine. We had an enjoyable conversation for 45 minutes or so, then ran out of stuff to say and I fell asleep when he turned on a podcast.

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Originally Posted by Comfortable Shoe
Oh please don't worry about offending me. And I apologize if I hurt your feelings about the get to the point. I regretting writing it and was going to erase it, but you can't do that on this forum.

I laughed about it. (And am smiling right now). It's nice to work with people who know what they want.

Originally Posted by Comfortable Shoe
Recreational Companionship- His number three goal on the board is to be married to one wife for 50 years or more. And the forth one is to enjoy going on trips with his wife. We do that. A lot.

Do you enjoy these trips as much as he does?
I am wondering if you had a board similar to his, what would be on yours?

I know that teaching was a large part of your life for a long time. I am wondering if it was part vocation, part hobby. I suspect you were good at it. You felt well balanced then, not quite so much now. You mentioned giving up leading Bible Study in the same paragraph as retiring from teaching. Both are teaching. Different format, much the same skill set.

One of my questions early on was "have you had any recent problems in your marriage... affairs, death of a close family member, or any emotionally stressful events or traumatic changes in either of your lives?"

Some of these were quite a while ago, but all are, or can be extremely stressful and life changing.

Depression (you)
Medical event (husband)
Retirement (both)
Move to a new location ? Did I get that right?
Becoming empty nesters
Being a care taker for someone with ongoing medical struggles

Emotionally stressful? Great big YES
Traumatic changes? Yes also.

There are lots of thoughts going through my mind about these things. I could probably write a half a page about how each one can affect your emotional state, and the stability and well being of your marriage.

You really don't need to comment on this part, I'm just wondering if you realize how traumatic these kinds of changes can be to a person. ( Of course you can comment on anything you want, but in this case, I'm commenting, not asking.)

I think you are carrying a pretty heavy load. Stress can and does affect our physical and mental health. I don't think you're about to drop the ball and run out screaming into the night. I do think you ought to give yourself a little credit, and realize there are reasons for your feelings. If it feels like you've been carrying a heavy weight, well, you have been.

Originally Posted by Comfortable Shoe
But honestly my top need is not even on Dr. Harley's list. It is for fun and laughter.

I can see why you'd want to list laughter and happy times as an emotional need. You should probably know that Dr. Harley has said his Emotional Needs list is not all inclusive, and people are welcome to add other emotional needs. I don't have a link to a reference for that, but he has said it more than once. If you want to list fun/laughter as a need, you are welcome to do that.

Originally Posted by Comfortable Shoe
...Get to the point...
rotflmao

We might as well have a little fun with this. If anyone calls me on it, I'll say it was your idea.

Getting to the point...
All the things that happen to us can affect the state of our marriage and also our personal well being. Some of the stress will go away naturally over time. Some (like dealing with ongoing medical problems) might require help. Make sure you visit with God about THESE THINGS. You once said that a man and woman's purpose is to glorify God. I agree with that... but I can tell you from personal experience that he really does want us to be happy. I don't say that because I read it in a book somewhere. I know it because during some of my most difficult struggles, he filled my soul joy, taught me that I was worth far more than any amount of sparrows, and showed me that I would get the help I needed.

I believe you will also get the help you need.

Keep working your plan. Some days you'll wonder if it does any good. Some days you'll feel a little bit of the passion and wish it was full time, permanent.

It WILL get better.

SS

Felt like I needed to post these things tonight.

Last edited by still seeking; 06/25/24 11:57 PM.

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Here is the last ten years


breast cancer diagnosis for husband's mom
Medical Event for husband
Depression (And there were A LOT of stressful things the ten years prior that led to medical event and my depression. I am only listing the last decade.)
Child calling from mental hospital and subsequent in and out treatment for a few years
Death of one of husband's dad
Forced retirement for both of us: my school suddenly closed, his medical event made him unable to continue working in his career
Covid shortly after that
When we were vaccinated and ready to start going out into the world my mom got breast cancer for the 3rd time, stage 4 this time with memory issues now so I spent a year caring for her until she died.
Legal issue rears its head from husband's old job

So yeah. We basically finish one crisis when another raises its head. In good times, I wait for the other shoe to drop. That has been 20 of our 40 years of marriage.

So yes, we are tired and yes, i get that it takes a toll. But I am weary of being in crisis mode. And yes, I have journaled this with the Lord. A lot. But I miss having friends to also talk with it about and/or just doing something else to keep my mind off of it and to be happy for awhile. And yes, I adore teaching.

As far as my list, I will have to go find it wherever I put it. We had gone away by ourselves to talk about our marriage and goals or something and the question was: At the end of my life it will have been successful if

I had someone ask me that question about my writing (how will you know it is successful) and I honestly have no answer to those questions. You could sum it up to God saying, "Well, done good and faithful servant." If God asked me to do it, then I did it. The problem is I so often feel like I am walking in the dark with no direction. And yes, my husband knows this. We have talked about it often.

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Greetings CS
(is it OK if I call you CS?)

Originally Posted by Comfortable Shoe
... I am weary of being in crisis mode. And yes, I have journaled this with the Lord. A lot. But I miss having friends to also talk with it about and/or just doing something else to keep my mind off of it and to be happy for awhile. And yes, I adore teaching.

It's very difficult to live in crisis mode. You are no longer near your friends. You are a caretaker to your H. He worries about you. You worry about him. You worry about the two of you as a couple.

There's more that goes on here (on the MB forums) than trying to help people with their marriages. Life can be heavy at times. Worse when you don't get a rest. Building your marriage can help, but it doesn't provide relief for all of lifes problems. Please understand, I don't feel like you are complaining. You are answering questions. You write well, I can feel... what you are going through. Though, to say "I can feel what you are going through" does not really describe what I am getting from reading what you write.

Sometimes what I do at work requires all of my concentration. Sometimes it is repetitive and I can think. I read your last post on Wed, and have been thinking about life and things we go through. We watch our children grow up, and we hurt for them when they struggle. Some times we wish we could do more, but to learn they have to struggle through hard things just as we do. I can imagine our Father in Heaven watching us and saying "come on, you can do this."

I asked my (earthly) Father some years ago if it ever gets easier. He said "no, it never gets easier, but you do get better at dealing with it." He knew exactly what I meant when I asked.

Well, you could be having a really happy day, and the tone of this post might be bringing you low. I have tried (in recent years) to stop worrying so much about almost everything.
Yesterday at work they asked me how I was doing. I said "This is a great week. I have not been in jail this week, my wife didn't leave me (yet) this week. I woke up this morning, and I wasn't dead, so life is good."
I suppose it's all relative.

Originally Posted by Comfortable Shoe
As far as my list, I will have to go find it wherever I put it. We had gone away by ourselves to talk about our marriage and goals or something and the question was: At the end of my life it will have been successful if

I had someone ask me that question about my writing (how will you know it is successful) and I honestly have no answer to those questions. You could sum it up to God saying, "Well, done good and faithful servant." If God asked me to do it, g so much. then I did it. The problem is I so often feel like I am walking in the dark with no direction. And yes, my husband knows this. We have talked about it often.

I have been wondering what kind of writing you are doing. I understand that it is none of my business really. You don't have to comment.
I was wondering "is she writing for publication? Perhaps a text book? Spiritual encouragement for others?"

Early in life I wondered what I wanted to "be" or to accomplish before my life was finished. I wanted to be a good Husband, a good Father.
Just like you, I would be in Heaven if my Savior tells me " Well done thou good and faithful servant." (Pun intended)
If I sometimes am able to help my fellow travelers have a little better day than they might have otherwise have, then its a good thing. I always hope to help.

Tomorrow's post (hopefully) will discuss marriage builders materials. Meeting needs and spending time with your H as opposed to coping with stress in ongoing crisis mode.

SS


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So,
You have identified your most important needs, your husband has identified his most important needs. Both of you are trying to better meet those needs for the other.

Both of you have identified your favorite recreational activities.

There are reasons why some important needs cannot be met as well as you would like them to be. You uderstand and accept those reasons. Things could be better, but they are not terrible.

You are adjusting recreational time as you go along so that you are doing more of what you both like, less of what just one of you likes.

There are ongoing medical appointments, one of which was scheduled this last week. I hope these are helping and not just maintaining the status quo. My uncle was a surgeon, He told me that while the medical community knows a great deal, there are still many things they do not know and they are not always able to help. We hope your H is getting help.

One of your ongoing concerns is that there is a big hole where your job used to be, and there's nothing happening in your life to fill that hole.

Conversation was an important part of your life while you had full employment, and even though you did not list it as one of your top 3 needs, you're trying to figure out how to improve conversation in your marriage. Make it more fun, not just talk to take care of business. Or if some of it has to be about taking care of business, lighten it up a little bit.

Fun, laughter, and having happy times may be as important to you as any of your other listed needs. Stress has edged out happy times, you want a rest.

You are not sure what direction you need to go. You know that improving your marriage will help, but you are wondering if that will be enough. If God sent an angel with a task for you to complete, it would help, because you would know for sure, without no doubts. However, based on historical events recorded in scripture, this does not happen very often, so you're not looking for that kind of event.
Still wondering though?
Still seeking the Lords will?

Are recreational activities feeling like place holders to you?
OK, but kind of like eating diet food, not very fulfilling?
Or, are you really enjoying time the time you spend doing things with your husband?

Now that you have talked to your H about your needs, does your taker feel better about what you are getting, or does this still need fine tuning (or a major remodel?)

Is your giver going to be able to keep giving aid to your H as needed? Well, you and I both believe you will help him as long as is necessary. Perhaps a better question is... is there a small part of you somewhere that struggles with it, and it wears you out?

The bottom line... after all these questions. Does it feel like your marriage and your life are getting happier, and improving. Or does it feel about the same?

Are you smiling more because it's good for your face?

Next time up, will most likely say more about creating the magic in your marriage. The things we are discussing can really make a difference, but it can be an art as well as a science. Have you ever secretly wanted to be an artist?

We hope you have some positive things to share, but share your feelings either way.

SS


I think sometimes about all the pain in the world. I hope we can ease that here, even if only a little bit.
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OK, where were we?
SS looks through his notes...

Here we are, right where we left off.
Getting the MAGIC back into the marriage.

We read Dr. Harley's materials, and it sounds like a recipe. Like making cookies or baking a cake. You put in all the correct ingredients, Mix them in the right order, and bake at the right temperature for the proper amount of time.

You may have noticed that many Chefs are more than just cooks. They are artists also, and you really enjoy what comes out of their kitchen. They have learned a lot more than basic recipes and standard cook times. They become masters at what they do.

Add a different spice here, a little butter there. Turn up the oven temp 30 degrees for the last ten minutes. I am really not one of those kind of cooks, but I have eaten their cooking and I love it when the whole meal is perfect.

There is a new italian restaurant (here) in town. I took the wife there for dinner a couple of weeks ago. It was one of those wonderful dining experiences... From the salad and bread, through the end of the entr'ee. It cost a little more to go there, but it was well worth it, and we will go back.

There are musicians who can play an instrument, and there are those who enthrall you.

Some people can paint a landscap, others fill the canvas with magic colors and shapes.

Many photographers snap pictures, some are... well... they are artists.
I am sure I left many examples unsaid, but you understand.

I try to bring this mentality to our marriage. Why not?
Why have just a good marriage when you could have a MAGIC marriage? Most of us did things when we were dating that are similar to what I will list below. We felt the magic then. And again, these things are just following Dr. Harleys rules for meeting needs. I am just meeting needs as often as I can even if they are not at the top of the list. Sure I do the listed ones too, in lots of ways.

I am love bombing my W 7 days a week, all year. I bet most of you out there can do much better than I do. Try to become an artist in applying MB concepts to your marriage.

DISCLAIMER -
Still seeking is an average guy, average intelligen, average skill set. When it comes to marriage skills, I am probably more like a cook in Chef school than an actual Chef. The thing is, I know what I want from my marriage, and I aim to have it.

Looking for Radical Honesty one day, I asked my W "so how am I doing at marriage building since we have gone back through the MB materials?"
She said " well, you are not perfect, but what women wouldn't want to have what you are doing for me?" Another time she told one of her friends that she thought I was improving, and given another 1 to 1.5 million years I might get really good at it. MrRollieEyes
I took that as a compliment.

It is impossible for me to know you (anyone who reads this) well enough to outline a plan for you. What I can do is tell you some of the things we do, and let you decide if any of them will work for you. Everyone is different, and has different needs. At one point we (comfortable shoe and I) briefly talked about how Emotional Needs can change from week to week, and even from day to day. As an example, my W and I are both retired, and I have little need for domestic support. I can make my own meals, do the laundry, and help clean the house. This changes radically when (occasionally) I get called back into work. Working 10 to 11 hour days in 105 to 110 deg heat takes a toll on me, and it's wonderful to come home to dinner ready, and no other chores for me to do. Adjustments have to be made... sometimes daily. Depends on our partners health and state of mind on any given day. It also depends on OUR health and state of mind. If we are having a difficult day, it's hard to maintain a high level of support for our spouse.
Most who read this will already know these things. However, in the middle of every day life we sometimes forget. We sometimes complain our needs are not being met (our taker does) or we feel guilty (our giver does) because we know we ought to be doing more for our companion, but we just can't make it work TODAY. I have found that our marriage is still getting better even if we both struggle to meet needs sometimes. We are not perfect, but we want to feel the magic, so we keep working on it.

All of us live in real life, we need to review the MB materials and recommit ... often.

I may as well SAY THIS...
I challenge those who read this to get your phone out and callendar an MB review for a year out, or whatever you feel is the best time frame for you. Make it reoccurring.
My W and I both put it in (just now) for next year.

Some of this may seem seem too simple, almost juvenile. Or silly.
Some of it might seem too difficult. Some is just comon courtesy, that is not so common these days. Many who read here may already be doing this stuff. More power to you!

I am not telling you what YOU should do, just telling you what we do so you can catch the vision for your own relationship. YOU NEED TO FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

NOTE, this won't work with someone who is not committed. It usually won't work when only one of you is trying. Both should be on board.

Things you should know right up front -
My wife and I are both retired from our full time jobs. This makes some things much easier for us.
We exercise early mornings Monday through Thursday for 1.5 to 2 hours on normal weeks.

We sleep in on Fridays or Saturdays (usually only one of these days) and we enjoy each other's company. Affection, conversation, SF, admiration. If something comes up that interferes, we can always cancel exercise on one day, and still get this special time together. And it is special. Soft music. Sometimes candles. Can't explain with words, but we try. Sacred. Wonderful. Beautiful. Marvelous. MAGIC.

Most of this will be things that I do for my wife. Written from the husband's point of view. I will include some of her responses.

Random things I say to my wife. These are direct quotes, but I won't use " marks because it's easier for me.

I love you - (more than once a day.)
You may not know this, but I'm in love with you, and I like it.
You make my life better. Thanks for that.
I'm so glad you married me, you make my life better.
You look so beautiful this morning.
I love waking up in the morning and finding you next to me.
I love going to sleep at night with you laying next to me.
Oh you beautiful, sexy women, thanks for marrying me. I sure like it.
How do you do that? She says "do what?" I say, how do you look, so beautiful and sexy every day. I love it!!!!!
What does she do when I say these things? Sometimes she blushes, sometimes she winks at me. Sometimes she rearranges my schedule for me and keeps me busy for a while.

I sing this song to her in the morning -
"Nothing's quite as pretty as Mary in the morning" only I put her name in place of Mary. "Mary in the morning" Elvis Presley
I sing:
You are so beautiful - Joe Cocker
Beautiful - Gordon Lightfoot
Make it with you - David Gates and Bread
I'll have to say I love you in a song - Jim Croce
Your Song - Elton John
A groovy kind of love -Phil Collins
Have I told you lately that I love you- Rod Stewart
Color my world - Chicago
Always on my mind - Willie Nelson
When you say nothing at all - Keith Whitley and or Allison Krauss

I usually don't remember all the words, but I get the beginning out, and she knows the songs. I am getting better. She does tell me sometimes that I should not quit my day job to be a singer, but it's the thought that counts, and she gets it.

Oh, and
I wish they all could be California girls - the Beach Boys. Because she grew up in southern California.

There's probably more, but you get the idea.
What are the songs that were magic for you early on in your relationship?

Some nights, after we do our scripture study I'll play love songs on u-tube, on the TV. Make a custom play list and we just listen and snuggle up together and we... we are just in love and we both like it. We feel the magic. Our own private concert.

So the art part is learning when to do all these things and exactly what to do. You get better at it as you go along. When you're in love and they are always on your mind, you look for things that will make them happy. It takes effort in the beginning, but after a while it's effortless. Or at least, it's a lot easier.

Again, this only works for people that want to improve their marriage. It won't work if one or the other doesn't want to do the work, or doesn't care. One can't do it alone.

There's more, but this is enough for one post.

SS


I think sometimes about all the pain in the world. I hope we can ease that here, even if only a little bit.
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First of all Still Seeking, thank you so very much for taking time to respond. Once again, I haven't been able to get into this forum despite trying several times. And I haven't had much time to devote to it as we had VBS last week.

Originally Posted by still seeking
So,
.
There are ongoing medical appointments, one of which was scheduled this last week. I hope these are helping and not just maintaining the status quo. My uncle was a surgeon, He told me that while the medical community knows a great deal, there are still many things they do not know and they are not always able to help. We hope your H is getting help.
It is just maintaining the status quo. We are trying a new medication again, but honestly, I have very little hope this will ever get much better.

One of your ongoing concerns is that there is a big hole where your job used to be, and there's nothing happening in your life to fill that hole.

Conversation was an important part of your life while you had full employment, and even though you did not list it as one of your top 3 needs, you're trying to figure out how to improve conversation in your marriage. Make it more fun, not just talk to take care of business. Or if some of it has to be about taking care of business, lighten it up a little bit.

Fun, laughter, and having happy times may be as important to you as any of your other listed needs. Stress has edged out happy times, you want a rest.

You are not sure what direction you need to go. You know that improving your marriage will help, but you are wondering if that will be enough. If God sent an angel with a task for you to complete, it would help, because you would know for sure, without no doubts. However, based on historical events recorded in scripture, this does not happen very often, so you're not looking for that kind of event.
Still wondering though?
Still seeking the Lords will?

very true. Nice summation


The bottom line... after all these questions. Does it feel like your marriage and your life are getting happier, and improving. Or does it feel about the same? about the same

SS

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Originally Posted by still seeking
OK, where were we?
SS looks through his notes...

Here we are, right where we left off.
Getting the MAGIC back into the marriage.


Why have just a good marriage when you could have a MAGIC marriage?

That would be nice.

It is impossible for me to know you (anyone who reads this) well enough to outline a plan for you.

I really wish you could

All of us live in real life, we need to review the MB materials and recommit ... often.

Things you should know right up front -
My wife and I are both retired from our full time jobs. This makes some things much easier for us.
We exercise early mornings Monday through Thursday for 1.5 to 2 hours on normal weeks.

We sleep in on Fridays or Saturdays (usually only one of these days) and we enjoy each other's company. Affection, conversation, SF, admiration. If something comes up that interferes, we can always cancel exercise on one day, and still get this special time together. And it is special. Soft music. Sometimes candles. Can't explain with words, but we try. Sacred. Wonderful. Beautiful. Marvelous. MAGIC.

Most of this will be things that I do for my wife. Written from the husband's point of view. I will include some of her responses.

Random things I say to my wife. These are direct quotes, but I won't use " marks because it's easier for me.

I love you - (more than once a day.)
We do a lot of the things you mention.


SS

I guess I am just not sure where to go from here... Will check in for a few more days. However, the two of us will leave this weekend to go to a third world country to serve for a month on the mission field. So I will not have access to the internet after Sunday for awhile.

Again Still Seeking. Thank you for your help.

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Like here is an example:

I went to a ladies event at church last night. I had such a wonderful time. We laughed so much. I came home on cloud 9. And hubby was down. I had called him to ask about something that day and he had said no, but then realized we should have said yes. I probably should have followed up with my reasonings, when I made the initial call, but didn't and then he figured out the reasonings (had to do with supporting our best friends). So now he was so angry and upset with himself. Also, he had several projects at the house that didn't go well and he was trying to figure all of that out, so he wasn't in a great mood. I went to bed worried and upset because of my husband's mood... had trouble sleeping.

I know that Dr. Harley says that our most enjoyable hours should be spent with our spouse, but with his physical and emotional status right now, I do not know if that is possible. It just makes me upset that my fun time with my friends was ruined.

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SS is traveling to the mountais today to cool off. Daughter is visiting from 2 states away. I'll try to get back to you tonight.

Does this kind of thing happen often?


I think sometimes about all the pain in the world. I hope we can ease that here, even if only a little bit.
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Originally Posted by still seeking
SS is traveling to the mountais today to cool off. Daughter is visiting from 2 states away. I'll try to get back to you tonight.

Does this kind of thing happen often?

Enjoy!!

Yes.

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