Marriage Builders®
Posted By: KerryM Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/10/14 05:37 AM
Hi,

I am glad to have found this program. I have some work to do.

I intend to use the resources here to help restore love and respect in our marriage...even if that means respectfully parting ways. I say it this way b/c I want to protect love and respect more than I want to protect the marriage itself.

I have read the basic concepts as well as "making a plan". My biggest concern - if the program becomes too complicated, I will not stick with it. I don't mind buying/reading books, but it is going to be super important to keep it simple.

Our problems include time issues, disrespectful communication/judgements, trust (no affairs that I'm aware of), porn use, etc. I imagine that I will share more sitch info as I get into applying the steps.

I plan to create a binder with forms/notes/highlights of the program. Are all the forms online, or do I need a book or multiple books?

Again, please know that I want to support Dr. H's efforts, I just know myself and know that I will fall apart from info overload (like many, I've read tons of books).

Thanks for any tips on getting started and keeping it simple!

Kerry

me: 48
him: 49
married 13 yrs
no kids
The program is what you read here on this site, but Dr. Harley's books also help in understanding. His radio show does, too, and that's free!

This program is about changing habits from ones that are bad for a marriage to ones that are good for it. You mention you want to protect love and respect even above marriage, so the way I understand you is that you don't want a marriage at all cost, and that's good because neither spouse is to sacrifice for the other in this program.

However, you can follow this program, download the questionnaires, and have a notebook, and get nowhere if your spouse isn't onboard. Is your spouse in agreement your marriage needs work? Do you engage in any disrespect and what are called Lovebusters yourself?
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/10/14 12:03 PM
Hi LL,

I am sure that I've engaged in LBs and disrespectful judgments. As soon as I read Dr. H's info, I began changing that.

My husband tends to follow my example, so when my language/attitude changes, so does his. We have done nothing together, however, as far as outside help for our marriage. I have gone to therapists on and off and have read countless books.

A big part of how I want to use this program is to help determine if he is truly a willing participant in this marriage and whether to stay or end it. I have read on the message boards that the program can be used to make that determination.

I have lost touch with my own needs, so I want to rediscover those here too.

Good observation, LL, about whether he's on board. I think time will tell...

-K
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/10/14 02:39 PM
p.s. I will certainly be reaching out for help on specific issues as needed. Right now, I am setting myself up to create a successful outcome by getting a handle on how to structure this for me/us and get started applying the tools (key being applying, of course).

I will approach my husband with the program when I have a better sense of it all.

Again, thanks for any input on getting started without getting overwhelmed! smile
Welcome to MB.

Does your DH still watch porn? How much UA time do you get?
MB is written so that a couple can create a loving, romantic, passionate, and safe marriage in a specific and logical way. Dr. Harley said that because most men don't like to read, he made sure his materials were easy to get through for men, as well as for women.

When we first showed up (we did the online program) we were told to complete the Marital Problems Analysis. Here

You and your H would start by looking at the results of the questionnaire and addressing each problem one by one. There are worksheets for every LB and EN in the book Five Steps to Romantic Love.

We read lots of marriage books over the years and attended MC for months and months, but nothing changed our marriage for the better like MB.

Dr. Harley recommends working on eliminating the love busters first.

The foundation of MB is the Policy of Joint Agreement and Policy of Radical Honesty. Additionally, Dr. Harley recommends 15 hours of UA time every single week, without children or other people. These 15 hours are to be the most enjoyable hours of your week.

The radio show is free and very good. Click Rebroadcast Here to listen to the show with your H.
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/10/14 07:30 PM
Hi LongWay,

Thanks. That info is super helpful.

I just spent some time sorting through all the materials. Getting a sense of the "big picture" of the program really makes it easier for me to dive into the parts. Your message is helpful in that process.

I want to create success here, and a positive outcome (even if that means an outcome we don't particularly like).


Warmly,
-K
Kerry, I had to chuckle when I read your first post because I can so relate! In order for me to stick with something, it must be clear, simple and most of all, EFFECTIVE! I must see results from from my efforts. I predict you will like this program because it generates results rather quickly while the steps make logical sense. Dr Harley has an engineer's mind so his steps are designed for precision. There is no fluff in this program.

One of the most impactful steps will be the policy of undivided attention. If you can commit to that step, you will see fast results. The program does not work without that step. Go check it out here http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3350_attn.html
Originally Posted By: KerryM
Hi LongWay,

Thanks. That info is super helpful.

I just spent some time sorting through all the materials. Getting a sense of the "big picture" of the program really makes it easier for me to dive into the parts. Your message is helpful in that process.

I want to create success here, and a positive outcome (even if that means an outcome we don't particularly like).


Warmly,
-K


What do you mean by the last sentence? A successful outcome will be an outcome that you will both like.

My H, who used to be very much like your H, loves our new marriage. He sometimes is very very sad that he wasted so many years being, as he calls himself, a jerk. We both LOVE the outcome and are so grateful. Yet it wouldn't take very much to destroy it all either. A couple of days of love busters is all. That's why the new habits are so important.

But first, read read read here and work on a step at a time. Figure out what your own love busters are and eliminate them.
Originally Posted By: BrainHurts
Welcome to MB.

Does your DH still watch porn? How much UA time do you get?

Did you not see my questions?

Please read.
The Critical Importance of Undivided Attention
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/11/14 01:14 AM
Hi Melody!

So glad you dropped in!

I started increasing UA almost immediately after reading the basics my first time to this site. It definitely had a positive impact.

I'm just getting organized and want to take small, steady steps. I've done it the other way (dive in too quickly) and that doesnt work for me. This post is a way for myself out of my own head a bit. My hub is an engineer, so Dr. H's approach should resonate. And, no fluff...I like that. smile

When I need support on specific issues, I will reach out here.


Thanks!
-K
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/11/14 01:21 AM
Hi Brain,

I did see your reply. Thanks for the info on UA.

I am not going to get into any of the emotional details right now. This post is about getting set up and understanding the program srructure. As I need support on specific issues, I will reach out.

Cheers,
-K
Kerry, I will tell you how I think you will get the greatest results in the least amount of time:

1. Start by scheduling your UA time every week. Time that is not scheduled is too easy to put off. If you can get into this habit very soon, the rest of the program will come so much easier. Go download the UA worksheet in the questionnaires section.

2. Start with the book lovebusters and do the lessons at the end of each chapter. One suggestion is to get 2 books, one for you and one for him and read the same chapters every night. You can each use a different color highlighter and highlight the things that stand out to you.

The reason it is a good idea to start here is because you will want to eliminate lovebusters ASAP so your good work is not negated by lovebusters.

3. The next book to use is His Needs, Her Needs. Do the same thing you did above, go through the chapters and do the lessons.

4. Another great aide is the workbook, Five Steps to Romantic Love. It has the worksheets in it but more importantly, it has really good lessons that will help you along.

To help your understanding through all of this, you can supplement with the free radio show and/or the His Needs, Her Needs DVD.

IMO, the above plan will give you good, fast results and that is always a good motivator.

I hope that is not too much information. I like things broken down in parts so that is what I have tried to do for you. More than anything, I think I learned more from the radio show. It helped me give context to everything I read here.

And be sure and ask as many questions along the way!! We will be glad to help.
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/11/14 02:33 AM
Thanks Melody and everyone,

I feel asthough I have gotten what I asked for from this thread.

Now it is time to do some applying (UA) and more reading and digesting.

-K
Originally Posted By: KerryM
Thanks Melody and everyone,

I feel asthough I have gotten what I asked for from this thread.

Now it is time to do some applying (UA) and more reading and digesting.

-K


Good deal! Here is the worksheet. laugh undivided attention worksheet
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/11/14 01:31 PM
Got the worksheet. Thanks Melody!
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/12/14 10:35 AM
Melody and gang,

I've read on this forum that the MB program is a good way to determine if one's spouse is truly committed to doing some work at the marriage. Would you say that the steps you (Melody) suggest above are the way to go if that is the intention?

It makes sense that the same basic approach to build love would bring that truth to the surface. I just want to know if there's anything in addition or different to keep an eye out for when bringing that truth to the surface is part of the intention.

I find myself feeling unsure about how to introduce MB and I feel like I "should" do the initial reading/legwork.

Thanks,
-K
If you have removed your Lovebusters and are focussing on the top four emotional needs during your UA time, you also make it known to him what you need. As Dr. Harley points out, the UA time is the canvas and what you two do during that time is the painting. The usual top needs are recreation and sexual fulfillment for the man and affection and intimate conversation for the woman.

I get the impression that your husband hasn't shown much consideration of your feelings or else you wouldn't be so concerned about commitment.

How have your previous attempts at a better marriage been received by him?

What are your complaints? What are his complaints? Have you read the books "Lovebusters" and "His needs, her needs?"

Also, BrainHurt's question is very important. If porn is still an issue, your attempts will not be successful. If porn is still present in your marriage, that's the first step: for him to stop it, even if that means he can only get on the computer when you're with him and what other precautions you can take to make it impossible for him to view porn. That's Dr. Harley's observation and advice.

Originally Posted By: KerryM

I've read on this forum that the MB program is a good way to determine if one's spouse is truly committed to doing some work at the marriage. Would you say that the steps you (Melody) suggest above are the way to go if that is the intention?


Most couples that show up here have one reluctant spouse so I am just assuming he is not committed at all. It will be your mission to persuade him to try it out!

What is his reaction to this program?
Originally Posted By: LifetimeLearner
Also, BrainHurt's question is very important. If porn is still an issue, your attempts will not be successful. If porn is still present in your marriage, that's the first step: for him to stop it, even if that means he can only get on the computer when you're with him and what other precautions you can take to make it impossible for him to view porn. That's Dr. Harley's observation and advice


KerryM,

I really wish you would answer our questions if you truly want help. We can only help you if you are honest and give us all the answers to our questions. When you're holding back you're only hindering your own marriage.

Dr. Harley has lots of material on the damage porn has on relationships.

Is your H still viewing porn?
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/15/14 08:08 AM
Originally Posted By: LifetimeLearner
If you have removed your Lovebusters and are focussing on the top four emotional needs during your UA time, you also make it known to him what you need.


Please remember that I found this website less than a week ago (during a very busy time for me). I've done none of the steps except I am more deliberate about spending time talking (again, for about one week).

I've mentioned the program to my H, but just in passing b/c it is so new to me.

My focus is on "getting started" (read: learning the steps). Heck, I have to look up most of the acronyms...lol!

-K
Here.
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Posted By: KerryM Re: Getting Started and Keeping it SimpleHi, - 04/17/14 02:33 AM
BrainHurts - Thank you. The link you shared is what I needed.
Posted By: KerryM Fight happening now, would like insight... - 04/18/14 07:06 PM


I am brand new to MB and have only read the basics. After writing this as my H and I are in the middle of a fight. (I realized after writing this we are trying to resolve conflict and not MBing).

This is a good opportunity to ask for some insight about my situation, so here's the long story of a small "fight" that happened last night...

We're in out late 40s, no kids, both work, but he works less hours and 100% from home.

Last night I got home after three days of being away from my H. We were reconnecting; lying on the sofa. He was pretty sleepy and I could see that. So, I asked if he could handle a little story. He said yes. I started telling it, he said, "Get to the point." I stopped and said I didn't want to finish it, it was late. Then, I said, "it hurt me when you said that." To him, what he said was just matter-of-fact. It seemed disrespectful to me.

He said that when I said that it hurt me, he felt like someone was wagging finger, saying you did it wrong (his mother was controlling and gave no empathy). I said that wasn't it at all, but that I want him to know when something hurts me (my dad was very hard to please). Then he said that it was about the fact that he had no ill intentions behind saying "get to the point" but that he just was tired. I said that I understood. But, that I also felt a need to let him know when I feel disrespected. He also said that my timing was not so good in saying that b/c then he couldn't sleep.

FF to this morning--we went back and forth on this issue, presenting and understanding different points, and his point was that he had no ill intentions. At one point I presented a summary of MB (I'd mentioned it before and he agreed to talk about it). He got overwhelmed by it about five minutes into it, so we stopped. I felt upset that he was overwhelmed (b/c I don't want to think that he doesn't want to try). He picked up on my upset and that turned into more turmoil.

Also this morning, we were supposed to go pick up a rental tool for a house project. We were talking about the emotional stuff and missed the last rental tool by 10 minutes. In the past, I would feel horrible inside and like it was all my fault. Now, however, I feel 50% responsible b/c there were two of us doing this.

As we were driving home, we brought up that we were talking before we left and got out late. He said that he knew we were going to be late. I asked if he could have said something, he sullenly said no (probably b/c he was afraid.

So, as I was writing about this, I thought, omg, maybe I subconsciously delayed us so that I didn't have to do the project this (holiday) weekend. I thought, man, I'm really f----ed up. So, I thought more about how screwed up I am. Then, I thought about how anxious I felt around doing the project this weekend. because he becomes very task-oriented. It doesn't mean anything to him, he's not intending to be harsh, but he is 100% focused on the goal and he's not thinking about feelings. When we talk about this, he said that work crews that we had do work for us worked together and didn't take things personally. (But, I'm a woman and his wife and not some carpenter/worker.)

I also remembered that it was a small project and it shouldn't have taken long, so maybe I was just over-reacting with my dreading it. I started to think about how I sometimes anticipate the worst, when it isn't that bad.

I have spent years going to therapy trying to change, trying to be "tougher skinned", trying not to take things personally, trying to figure out how to talk with him so we won't have fights.

As a result, I have grown quite a bit and continue to grow. I'm tired of the pattern though. He isn't exactly showing me that he wants to invest much effort. OR, maybe he is because most engineer/technical types like him with his brain style wouldn't make it as far as he has. And, I do like that type of person b/c I worked in software and liked working with the analysts (little drama).

When we talk things through, we do really well. But, I wonder if these "talks" just get me to a point of being okay with things as they are. Because, I still feel like my emotional needs are not being met.

This afternoon, I realized that I didn't explain that Dr. H's experience in MT was that people focused on conflict resolution instead of MBing. I went to tell him that, a little hopeful that he'd understand that we're in CR mode. He was lying on the couch, very beaten down. I told him, he was a bit despondent, so I left.

Then, this afternoon, he said to me, "If someone asked me why we split up, I would know what to say. We don't have kids, we don't fight about money." I didn't say much. Then, I asked him what he'd say if someone asked what his wife wanted from him. After a few moments, he became more down-trodden and said, "I think you're missing the point."

Now I'm thinking that once again that was bad timing and not such a wise thing to say. If I were wise I would have asked him to expand on that. Instead, I put him on the defense and he went away.

Then, just now, he came in and said, "I feel like you answered my question with a question. I said that I realized that (although he really just made a statement), but I get that he felt unheard). So, I said, "I realize that. I'm sorry. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you." He said, "no" and walked away.

I really want to be in a relationship that is healthy for both of us. I want us to enjoy being around each other, feel safe and confident that we can resolve issues together.

Maybe I just have little faith in my husband. I am his only social connection. I feel a ton of pressure to stay, not to mention I do care about him.

It would be easy to blame all of this on him (and sometimes I do), but I can see how I am LBing too. Maybe I think I'm being helpful and I'm just being disrespectful?

Keep in mind, I'm still very new to MB and I'm only on step one (introducing it and trying to have more UA).

I am particularly interested in insight on MY behavior b/c that's what I can change.

Thanks,
-K
Is your Husband still viewing porn?

Also, how often do you spend nights apart?
Those types of discussions are so destructive to marriage. Instead of having such talks, I would focus on going through the lessons in the book Lovebusters. It is clear you both need to stop lovebusters.

He also needs to understand that his "intentions" are not what is relevant here, but the effect of his words. Instead of arguing about his intentions all that is necessary is his agreement to stop.

Have you sold him on the program yet? The goal is to teach you to have the skills to resolve your problems in a way that protects the love in your marriage.

Also, do you travel a lot? Spending nights apart leads to fights in even the best marriages.
BrainHurts,

I AM BEGGING YOU TO STOP WITH THE PORN. I GET THAT IT IS OR MAY BE THERE (I DON'T KNOW IF STILL THERE OR HOW MUCH RIGHT NOW).

WHEN YOU FOCUS ON THE PORN ISSUE I FEEL INCREDIBLY UNHEARD. THIS IS MY ISSUE IN MY MARRIAGE, THIS IS MY POST REACHING OUT FOR HELP ON SOMETHING SPECIFIC. IT IS A DOUBLE WHAMMY WHEN I COME HERE TO BE HEARD AND YOU IGNORE MY QUESTION.

I ACTUALLY HAVE BLOCKED YOUR POSTS B/C I FEEL SOOOOOOOOO UPSET BY THEM.

I AM TRYING TO OPEN UP HERE ON THIS FORUM AND I FEEL VERY UNHEARD WHEN YOU CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON SOMETHING I AM NOT YET EQUIPPED TO TACKLE.

YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE HELPING OR GIVING "TOUGH LOVE", AND YOU CAN KEEP HARPING ON IT, BUT YOU WILL NOT BE HELPING ME IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM AT THIS STAGE IN MY MB.

PLEASSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HEAR ME....PLEASE UNDERSTAND WHERE I AM.

-k
Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Those types of discussions are so destructive to marriage. Instead of having such talks, I would focus on going through the lessons in the book Lovebusters. It is clear you both need to stop lovebusters.

He also needs to understand that his "intentions" are not what is relevant here, but the effect of his words. Instead of arguing about his intentions all that is necessary is his agreement to stop.

Have you sold him on the program yet? The goal is to teach you to have the skills to resolve your problems in a way that protects the love in your marriage.


No. I don't think he is sold. I haven't sent him the website. I just presented the ideas. I think things are an "equation" to him (techie type). I might need to break this down into baby steps for him. I think I'm overwhelming him. I don't think he really gets the emotional stuff (just like I don't understand certain technologies).

Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Also, do you travel a lot? Spending nights apart leads to fights in even the best marriages.


I am away one night per week, but not very far (40 miles away).

-k
Kerry, first off, I am appalled at your disrespectful outburst at brainhurts and would encourage you to erase that post. She is a volunteer here and is asking you a very relevant question. Porn is extremely destructive to marriages because it creates a contrast effect that throws the love in a marriage completely on its ear. It is a major obstacle to a good marriage.

Secondly, Marriage Builders was written by an engineer so most men are very receptive to it because it is based on an action PLAN rather than emotions. The premise behind this program is that feelings follow actions. Many of the men here, for example, are techie types.

The key will be to sell him the big picture. If he has CONTEXT then he will be able to understand the pieces. Can you show him the article " How to Create Your Own Plan to Resolve Conflicts and Restore Love to Your Marriage?"
"No. I don't think he is sold. I haven't sent him the website. I just presented the ideas. I think things are an "equation" to him (techie type). I might need to break this down into baby steps for him. I think I'm overwhelming him. I don't think he really gets the emotional stuff (just like I don't understand certain technologies)."

Is he a big picture person? I get the sense from your description of the argument above that he does not like things broken down but needs to know the POINT. I am a very logical thinker and if someone does not get to the point quickly I will lose patience. Giving me a bunch of pieces with no context frustrates me. But if you tell me the point right up front and fill in the holes later, then I GET it.
Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Is he a big picture person? I get the sense from your description of the argument above that he does not like things broken down but needs to know the POINT. I am a very logical thinker and if someone does not get to the point quickly I will lose patience. Giving me a bunch of pieces with no context frustrates me. But if you tell me the point right up front and fill in the holes later, then I GET it.


Actually, I think, like you, he needs the point first. Then, he needs the backdrop in a logical order.

I am similar too. I can't follow without the point or the "why". But, I am a bit of a dichotomy b/c my business involves marketing. So, you often build a "story" and use "flowery" communication. I just forget at times. I am going to make some notes around the house to help me remember.
Merging threads, please stick to one thread.
Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Kerry, first off, I am appalled at your disrespectful outburst at brainhurts and would encourage you to erase that post. She is a volunteer here and is asking you a very relevant question. Porn is extremely destructive to marriages because it creates a contrast effect that throws the love in a marriage completely on its ear. It is a major obstacle to a good marriage.


x2

It is very rude and disrespectful to tell posters HOW to help you. Especially a poster who is very familiar with Dr Harley's articles, books, radio show, etc.
BrainHurts,

I apologize for my very strong reaction to your post.


To answer your questions...

Originally Posted By: BrainHurts
Is your Husband still viewing porn?


I don't know.

Originally Posted By: BrainHurts
Also, how often do you spend nights apart?


One night per week and occasionally two nights per week. Otherwise, we are together almost 24/7.
Thank you for your apology KerryM.
Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Those types of discussions are so destructive to marriage. Instead of having such talks, I would focus on going through the lessons in the book Lovebusters. It is clear you both need to stop lovebusters.


Ok. I'll get the book.

Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
He also needs to understand that his "intentions" are not what is relevant here, but the effect of his words. Instead of arguing about his intentions all that is necessary is his agreement to stop.


I have success with this when I explain it carefully and do it in an incredibly delicate way.

I think I am growing wary because I have to explain things that most people would pick up on. For example, I am talking with him from my cell phone, have my hands full and have to go. He knows where I am and what I'm doing, but if I don't explain that I have to go very gently, he will worry that I am angry.

I realize that I "taught" him this b/c I have been unpredictable and emotional myself.

There have been times in the past where he completely ignored my needs. I was sick once and he had to "finish" what he was doing before we could leave the house we were working in with no heat. I was shivering like crazy and sweating. Turned out I had pneumonia and 104 temp. He's gotten better as I've raised his awareness. I want to be a good friend to him, but it feels like a lot of work.

He is very oppositional. So, if I want something from him, I have to be extremely careful in how I ask.


Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Have you sold him on the program yet? The goal is to teach you to have the skills to resolve your problems in a way that protects the love in your marriage.


Not really. Now that I've divulged so much on the forum, I'm hesitant to send him to the website b/c I'm concerned he'll see my posts here.

Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
Also, do you travel a lot? Spending nights apart leads to fights in even the best marriages.


I travel 50 miles away one night per week. There are occasions when I am gone two nights...maybe once every 4 to 6 weeks. Otherwise we are in the same house 24/7.

We don't sleep in the same room b/c we both wake up at odd hours and he likes to fall asleep to the tv and I can't. We also don't eat together, which leaves me feeling lonely. He just eats when he wants and I do the same. I have a hard time asking to have meals together b/c it feels very vulnerable.

He's all practical. If hungry, then eat. If tired, then sleep.

We live 500 miles from my family. I feel as though I am becoming a stranger to my family. We also live 50 miles from a city. He hardly ever leaves our property.
Originally Posted By: BrainHurts
Thank you for your apology KerryM.


Thanks for saying that. You didn't deserve to be treated so poorly.

Given that I am just getting started and that he is generally resistant to change, what would you recommend I do at this stage?
Originally Posted By: KerryM
Originally Posted By: BrainHurts
Thank you for your apology KerryM.


Thanks for saying that. You didn't deserve to be treated so poorly.

Given that I am just getting started and that he is generally resistant to change, what would you recommend I do at this stage?

Follow Melodylane's advice.

Will your H listen to MB radio? Most men really like how Dr. Harley will explain things.

I can find some clips if you think he will listen. Also, it would be a great idea to write the Harleys. They are so wonderful and explain things so well.
Email your questions to Joyce Harley at mbradio@marriagebuilders.com. When your email question is chosen to be answered on the radio show, you will be notified by email directing you to listen to the rebroadcast. If you would like to consider being a caller, include your telephone number. You will be called by us to explain the procedure to you. Every caller will receive a complementary book by Dr. Harley that addresses their question.
Here's a good show about alot of different issues in marriages, i.e., how to complain in a marriage? When to Call it Quits? And others.
Radio Clip

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