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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think my husband would benefit from this book.

My problem is as follows:

-I don't want him to think I'm unhappy in our marriage. I'm not, I think it could use improvement, but I'm happy in it.

The book has a lot of testimonies of men who have a marriage on the brink of disaster until the men go through the NMMNG program, after which point they either i)divorce, or ii)have the healthy marriage they wanted.

I don't want him to think that I'm advising him to read this book because I think our marriage is on the brink of disaster.

-I don't want to make his already low self esteem (hence the book) lower by giving him what will likely seem to be a huge criticism.

-I'm nervous about it because I once read another self-help book and told him how much I enjoyed it, so he read it too, and it really upset him. (So you have these needs but think I'm like that? Unacceptable!) We were at odds for a good week, afterwards.



Posting in general because I'm hoping to hear both men's and women's perspectives on this.

Women's perspectives because many women have a good nack for working with men's egos while still getting the point across (something I'm personally terrible at)

Men's perspectives because they probably have a good insight into my husband's side.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/suggestions!

Athena
 

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Hi Athena

I wrote this in another thread, that epic Alpha one, so apologies if you've already seen it.

My husband and I are still healing from a very serious disconnect that started after our first child was born. We are doing very well, but I don't feel that we are as close and connected as we used to be yet.

Although the initial catalyst to our coming back together was expressed verbally and we managed to talk and explain things that helped us understand, further talking us not helpful. My husband finds it excruciatingly difficult to express his emotions verbally, although he feels them very deeply. I, on the other hand, will talk forever, examining each feeling and motivation minutely.

For years I've tried to get him to do that too. But I've recently realised that he hates it so much it's counter productive; I know him well enough to improve things for him without him having to expressly ask; he actually values any change I make much less if he has to ask for it; and the main thing he needs is to feel totally loved, safe and that he can trust me with his inner life.

So I've changed things by myself. I am trying to open myself fully to him, as he is now, not judging or wishing he was different or more like he used to be. I'm not going to ask anything of him emotionally, I'm just going to love him as purely and constantly as I can so that he can feel I'm a safe person for him again.

And I won't be expressing any of this to him. But he can feel it already. He's already relaxing and being more loving and open.

I've decided if I want to be loved, the first thing is to love without expectations or judgements.
I don't know if any of this applies to your situation. But it's my perspective on loving my husband without wanting him to change. Loving him as is. I'm lucky in that he is actually fantastic, but obviously not perfect and sometimes I've thought I wish he'd read this or that, or I wish he'd do things differently.

I'm not doing that anymore, even to myself. It's been interesting over the last couple of weeks to notice how often I fall into negative thinking patterns about him, even though previously I would have said I adored almost everything about him. I'm trying to notice them and stop them immediately, reminding myself it's not helpful.

As I said, it's only been a short time, and it could be a coincidence, but I have noticed my husband being more open, more loving, doing more of the things I wanted him to do, like bringing me my favourite ice cream as a surprise, spontaneously cuddling me in the kitchen and we've been having lots of sex.

You said you were basically happy, so maybe this approach might be useful. Obviously I wouldn't recommend it in a seriously troubled marriage. I got a lot of ideas from some of Mavash's posts about her husband, they might help you too. Just do a search on her username, or shoot her a pm.
 

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The suggestion would make him feel more insecure I'd think.

I haven't read it, but if there are specific actions in the book that you want your husband to take, I would wait til he does them himself, tell him "I think it's hot when you ---(whatever it was)"--with smiles, hugs and such. That would go over better and should increase his confidence while at the same time you get what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Lyris, thanks for the read and reply!

I hear what you're saying. Many of the "nice guy" traits that my husband carries are not a problem, (though I think he'd personally be happier if he didn't have them).

While we are happy most of the time, we get into some low point about... 6 times per year, and they're typically about some grievance that he's been harbouring for a long time, until he loses his temper about something tiny and it's only after a day's worth of arguing I find out what was truly wrong.

They typically stem from jealousy or insecurity on his part. He works really hard in our relationship, and pursues me as if we were still courting (which I love) but to such an excess that I find it exhausting!

For example: our most recent argument was truly about the fact that he found some old electronic communication between myself and a former sexual partner. (How he found it I don't know, it's from years before my relationship with my husband and I didn't even know it still existed). But what he lost his temper about was that I zoned out while he was talking about a logistical issue with his ex-wife. This was almost a year after he found that old electronic communication, and all this while I had no clue that it had happened.

This sounds very complainy. I'm truly content about 90% of the time and we're not at any risk for divorce or anything like that. I just think it could be better. I want him to be a little more... ok with life in general and our relationship in particular.

I want him to be comfortable and to bring his own self-care to the table. I feel he is dependent on my approval and scared of losing me to imagined threats.

Anyway, my first preference would certainly be to accept him the way he is, as you advise. I don't really want to be in the husband-changing business!

Do you think there's anything I can do myself to make this easier for him? (And by extension, easier for me if he manages to feel a bit more confident after a while?)

Confused,
Athena.
 

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Does he have a friend or brother you could enlist to give it to him? Make them promise not to pull you into the equation. Just they thought he could benefit from reading it....
 

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Athena, have you read the book yourself?

Your husband's victim pukes are not healthy. Also you describe some fear of abandonment and maybe some toxic shame. These are all covered in the book along with other behaviors and thought processes. It sounds like he could benefit from the book.

The problem is that most men who read the book "to fix the marriage" are really doing it to get the approval of their wife. Along the way they learn they need to change for themselves, and the marriage is only a side effect. This is why the author Dr. Glover says NMMNG will either improve a marriage or put it in a long overdue grave. It sounds like you have a generally pleasant marriage so I would not worry about it killing the marriage.

The worry is that he will think he has to do this for you, not for himself. And then it will not be authentic.

I like MarriedTex's suggestion of enlisting a male friend or relative to broach the subject with him. Some of the basic tenets and actions in the book include having more male friends, getting good exercise, spending time doing hobbies or other activities with men, and spending time alone (a day hiking or driving for example). So I think you could be encouraging of him doing something with the guys. If he wants to take up a regular exercise be supportive of the time requirements, and negotiate in a positive way if there is a schedule conflict.

Try to encourage really open and direct communications. This might be something you have to lead with, by being direct and open yourself. And gently encourage him once in a while to be more direct with you.

Covert contracts are where someone does something in order to get something in return, but the other person doesn't know it. For example he might cut the grass thinking you will be pleased, and then he expects sex tonight in return. But you didn't know about that deal! So if you feel he is getting mopey about something, ask him directly if there was something he expected or had wanted which didn't happen.

You can in a positive way encourage him to be direct with his desire for sex. For a true Nice Guy sex is a scary thing, especially the fear of rejection. So he may not be very direct in his requests. Tell him you want to know if he is desiring sex, and encourage him to tell you what he wants to do in the bedroom. Make an effort to have good and frequent sex with him, and tell him that if you are not in the mood you will tell him so but it is not a personal rejection.

He is probably a Touch love language person, so try to increase the non-sexual touch. It may reduce his need for sex and it may reduce his anxieties about rejection.
 

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Been married for 21 years. Any and all attempts to change my husband (even for the good) were met with some serious resistance and shut down. Even now that we're better all I have to do is say ONE THING negative in relation to him (even minor things) and he retreats. As soon as I go back to loving him AS IS he's runs back and can't do enough for me.

No way in heck would I ever ever recommend he read a book. My stance is I think he's perfect right now. Is he? No but I've made a choice to love him anyway despite of his flaws. I'm aware of them yes but I turn a blind eye to them as they aren't dealbreakers.

Right now I'm the happiest I've ever been with him. He's just over the top in love with me right now and I accomplished this by stopping any and all attempts to get my husband to DO anything.

I would suggest YOU read the book. I did and it helped me understand him better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The suggestion would make him feel more insecure I'd think.

I haven't read it, but if there are specific actions in the book that you want your husband to take, I would wait til he does them himself, tell him "I think it's hot when you ---(whatever it was)"--with smiles, hugs and such. That would go over better and should increase his confidence while at the same time you get what you want.
Hi Mule, thanks!

That is definitely good advice, and something I do to a small extent but could do more.

The trouble is that I think he could benefit from some introspection from a couple of angles that he doesn't currently consider, but that I don't think I can bring up on my own. (Nor am I qualified to offer him any kind of psychological-advice!) Thought the book might be a good help from that perspective, but like you say I think it might make him feel more insecure which is the exact opposite of my goal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Married Tex: I don't know any of his male friends well enough to conspire with them, and he doesn't have a brother. I'm going to try to think about if there's any way I can work this angle though.

Other problem is I may be the worst secret-keeper in the entire world, which sounds awesome on the surface but really means that I cause problems with my over-sharing of information! :) But I'll think on this one, it certainly does sound appealing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thor: Yes I've read it. The title sounded like him, so I started to flip through it out of curiosity, and then it was describing him so effectively that I couldn't put it down!

He's actually partially recovered from a lot of the things discussed in the book since we we've been together. I don't think we could have made our marriage work if he was still the victim he was when we first met.

He is absolutely touch as a love-language person. Which is a pain right now because I'm away a lot on business (for the short term) and it's exacerbating his insecurity because I can't show my affection for him in the way he likes to receive it.

After reading the book and discovering these covert contracts, as well as after reading Mem's barometer thread, I started to try to be a better partner when it comes to work around the house etc. He says he likes to do the majority of the cooking and cleaning, (and and and) so I had been sitting on my butt a lot, thinking he really did like it. But who likes cleaning? I should have known better. So I've been working at taking back my share of housework.

I believe all this extra work he was doing for me was part of a covert contract.

Does it help to not let him make this contract in that way? I don't know. I feel less useless as a partner though, so at least I'm benefiting...

Anyways. I do believe the victim pukes are unhealthy, and I'm worried about what else is simmering beneath the surface. I know I'm not qualified to psycho-analyse my husband (nor do I particularly want to, I'd rather treat him as his own complete individual). But I'd like all of that to stop, or be reduced!

Another thing I've started doing since I read the book is telling him I love him because of his own personal qualities, rather than because of the things he does for me. I don't think he believes it. I really do, though, my husband is an amazing man.

You can tell I'm confused and anxious about this because this is a very rambly posting. Congratulations if you're still reading at this point! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mavash: I hear you. I certainly wouldn't respond well if my husband was trying to change me, so I can't expect him to like it either!

While I'm certainly not dealing with deal-breakers, I know these issues make me unhappy with some regularity, and that he's unhappy because of them more often than I am (until his low simmer erupts and boils over onto me as well). I would like to make that better somehow. Am I reaching for the impossible? I know it's not all sunshine and rainbows in marriage.

Athena
 

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I'm a husband thats just finishing ,his needs her needs.Found it VERY informative and helpful.I can see alot of my/our mistakes in it .We're working together and I think things are the best they've ever been in our marriage.:smthumbup:
My question is what is NMMNG?I assuming I can get it from Amazon.
Thanks for all the help!
 

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Mavash: I hear you. I certainly wouldn't respond well if my husband was trying to change me, so I can't expect him to like it either!

While I'm certainly not dealing with deal-breakers, I know these issues make me unhappy with some regularity, and that he's unhappy because of them more often than I am (until his low simmer erupts and boils over onto me as well). I would like to make that better somehow. Am I reaching for the impossible? I know it's not all sunshine and rainbows in marriage.

Athena
It took me 18 months of getting serious before I got to the sunshine and rainbows part of my marriage. This after I'd sufficiently effed it up for longer than I care to admit.

What I've learned is many times all it takes is ONE to change a dynamic. So if you can analyze the events that cause him to erupt and boil over you have the power to stop it. I totally see my part in how I cause my husband to behave in ways that make me unhappy. Yes I caused it. :(
 

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Athena1 - my H doesn't like reading much (unless it's about building or boating or fishing)...never mind self help books! Arrhh!!

But he loves lying in bed all cuddled up and having me read to him. I've read a His Needs Her Needs, Love languages , She comes first :D, and a few others.

I'm happy because he gets the info i want him to hear, he enjoys being read to and we get to share and talk about some good stuff in a really safe cozy atmosphere..

Would this work for you maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Waiwera that is just the kind of idea that I wouldn't think of myself, but that just might work. I think I'll try this with something that seems less directed at him, and see if he is into it. If that works, I'll move onto my secret NMMNG agenda. He does love hearing me read, so I could see this working, AND it could be something that I can keep going back to as a way to open topics and ideas between us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It took me 18 months of getting serious before I got to the sunshine and rainbows part of my marriage. This after I'd sufficiently effed it up for longer than I care to admit.

What I've learned is many times all it takes is ONE to change a dynamic. So if you can analyze the events that cause him to erupt and boil over you have the power to stop it. I totally see my part in how I cause my husband to behave in ways that make me unhappy. Yes I caused it. :(
Hmm, it would be nice to change the dynamic without needing to bother H about it. I'm not sure what in particular I'd need to do though... events that cause him to erupt and boil over tend to totally blind-side me.
 

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I'll move onto my secret NMMNG agenda.
This is manipulative and it won't work.

Hmm, it would be nice to change the dynamic without needing to bother H about it. I'm not sure what in particular I'd need to do though... events that cause him to erupt and boil over tend to totally blind-side me.
Try harder. There are triggers I promise you. I changed our dynamic without bothering my husband at all.
 

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My husband does that secretly resentful thing too. He does it less than he used to, I think that's mostly because of maturity.

The only thing I ever did directly that I think helped was to talk afterwards, after it had all come out and things had calmed down, and discuss why it was a bad way to handle things. And sometimes, if I could see he was resentful about something I'd remind him of those other conversations. Occasionally that would work.

My husband also gets periodically mildly depressed, so I am now very mindful of that.

Truly though, I would never give a book like that to my husband. It would be saying you, as a person, are not good enough and I want you to fix it. That would hurt his feelings very much, and he'd just retreat immediately.
 

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Hmm, it would be nice to change the dynamic without needing to bother H about it. I'm not sure what in particular I'd need to do though... events that cause him to erupt and boil over tend to totally blind-side me.
You need to pay more attention. Empathy and intuitive love are what helped me, not having things explained.
 
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