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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So.. I imagine it would be difficult to post a question here and get any meaningful advice, as no stranger can know the history of a relationship.

This will probably be very disjointed.

I guess I could preface this post with, I'm a normal flawed human being just like everyone else and probably guilty of many of the things I struggle with my spouse about. I work a 9 to 5. My wife is a stay at home mother, she also handles all the care of the animals she likes to keep, and all household tasks etc. I handle the income, the bills, and any mechanical stuff etc.

Basically, I just want the constant tension I feel to go away. I want to choose what I do, without the eggshells. Without being judged as lazy because I don't constantly want to be outside improving some part of this farm "we" are supposed to be operating. A farm in which, if I were to express my indifference as to whether we have farm animals etc or not would no doubt make me less of a man in her eyes. Men are supposed to have land and improve it, all that jazz.

My problems are probably not even worth mentioning in the grand scheme. I love my wife, she loves me too. We've fought a lot in the past, we've made some meaningful changes to accommodate each other. My wife has a temper, she lashes out. I hide, I don't want to talk to her nor be around her when she gets upset. I know she'll say something she doesn't mean. I don't like the awkward silence just waiting for something to happen, anything she can grab onto and use as a weapon in the current moment. Not physically. A mistake I have made in the past. An "unproductive" hobby.

We'll kiss and make up later. She'll accuse me of being a recluse and giving her the silent treatment. Which may be true to an extent, but it's not because I want to punish her. I just don't want to be yelled at, cursed at, belittled, nit-picked, nor sit in an awkward silence waiting for any of the aforementioned to happen.

How do you communicate with a person who's reaction to a critique is always anger? How do you discuss what bothers you when the retort is always a list of my own shortcomings? All of which I am fully aware of.

How do I stop disengaging and hiding from her when she is irritated? How do I tell her that her nitpicking is unnecessary and demeaning? I know when I make a minor mistake, I don't need to be told that I should have done something differently 3 or 4 times in a "I'm just thinking out loud" tone of voice.

My wife like's to be outdoors. I do too, not nearly as much as her. Anything not done outdoors, reading, video games, television, or just taking a load off, is considered by her as unproductive. While the things she enjoys, working with her animals, or trimming trees on our property etc. is considered productive and thus more important than the unproductive hobbies, therefore immune to criticism.

I find myself getting snappy, not caring, wanting to overindulge in alone time because I get the impression that I am not allowed those things. How do I stop this trend in myself? I don't want to be that kind of person, the selfish, I'm going to do what I want regardless type.
 

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I'm of two minds on this one.

First, her side. I knew a couple who didn't share hobbies. His hobby took up a couple of nights a week plus project time. I was involved in the hobby with him. He would show up to events without her. He would hold events at his home, his wife was never seen. Always away in a different room. Before a few years had passed he was ready to divorce her and be with his affair partner who was involved in his hobby. Well in the end she got involved with his hobby and he stopped the affair. From this I learned that if your spouse has a big hobby that is important to them, you need to know enough about it to at least talk about it.

Second, your side. Very often when dealing with younger people we find a young man who has a hobby (usually music or sports). When he meets his new girlfriend she is very interested in him, but resents the time he spends on the hobby. Eventually she starts to resent his band or team members. She starts to make rules about when he can play or be with them. To keep her happy he abandons his hobbies. She (much to late) realizes that the hobbies were part of what she was attracted to in him, and now he is boring. She soon starts cheating with a guy who is more interesting. What I learned from this is that the hobbies are part of the person you fell in love with, and changing that person is taking away something you loved.

So what is my advice?
1) stay involved in her hobby.
2) Realize that it is her hobby and not yours.
3) If you don't want to do something don't
4) If you want to do something do.

There is no point walking on eggshells. They are going to break anyway so just get it over with. You are probably wondering what that looks like.
She: we need to trim trees tonight.
He: I'll be glad to play catch with the kids while you do that. Do you need me to bring out the latter and cart?

What you have done here is accepted her hobby and offered to do things you would like to do in support of her. You have acknowledged the importance of her interest. You have put your foot down and refused to be drawn into the project. And you are going to be near her (outside). It's a balancing act.

One last thing: Don't accept abuse. When she verbally attacks step away, and inform her that you will not be talked to that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm of two minds on this one.

First, her side. I knew a couple who didn't share hobbies. His hobby took up a couple of nights a week plus project time. I was involved in the hobby with him. He would show up to events without her. He would hold events at his home, his wife was never seen. Always away in a different room. Before a few years had passed he was ready to divorce her and be with his affair partner who was involved in his hobby. Well in the end she got involved with his hobby and he stopped the affair. From this I learned that if your spouse has a big hobby that is important to them, you need to know enough about it to at least talk about it.

Second, your side. Very often when dealing with younger people we find a young man who has a hobby (usually music or sports). When he meets his new girlfriend she is very interested in him, but resents the time he spends on the hobby. Eventually she starts to resent his band or team members. She starts to make rules about when he can play or be with them. To keep her happy he abandons his hobbies. She (much to late) realizes that the hobbies were part of what she was attracted to in him, and now he is boring. She soon starts cheating with a guy who is more interesting. What I learned from this is that the hobbies are part of the person you fell in love with, and changing that person is taking away something you loved.

So what is my advice?
1) stay involved in her hobby.
2) Realize that it is her hobby and not yours.
3) If you don't want to do something don't
4) If you want to do something do.

There is no point walking on eggshells. They are going to break anyway so just get it over with. You are probably wondering what that looks like.
She: we need to trim trees tonight.
He: I'll be glad to play catch with the kids while you do that. Do you need me to bring out the latter and cart?

What you have done here is accepted her hobby and offered to do things you would like to do in support of her. You have acknowledged the importance of her interest. You have put your foot down and refused to be drawn into the project. And you are going to be near her (outside). It's a balancing act.

One last thing: Don't accept abuse. When she verbally attacks step away, and inform her that you will not be talked to that way.

All good advice. I have stepped away, and said I won't be spoken to that way. With differing levels of success. Never an outright apology, but, sometimes an acknowledgement later on.

I wish it were as cut and dry as far as the 4 steps you listed. Unfortunately it's much more nuanced. I don't think I explained it well above.

When I am willing to do what she wants to do, which is always some form of work on the property that she as deemed necessary, everything is great. To be clear, I am often willing, and often enjoy the work. Sometimes she's entirely too overbearing about "getting it done" and takes all the joy out of the work. However, most of the time, if I just do what she wants done, she's happy. However, if I don't, or disagree that a certain thing needs done immediately, or at all; First I am given several reasons why I do need to do the thing. If I still disagree, or give a counter then comes the anger & passive aggressive behavior.

Good example:

Her: Are you going to cut down those trees while you're getting hay and bring the logs back too? I want to use them.

Me: No, I don't have the proper equipment to load them on the trailer.

Her: You have the tractor there.

Me: The hay buck is not suited for loading logs, I can't scoop up the logs with it.

Her: Can't you use a chain or something and drag them on the trailer if you park by the hill?

Me: That's not safe.

Her: (Angry & sarcastic) My dad and I used to do it all the time, you're telling me you can't?

Me: I'm not doing that.

Her: Leaves muttering something her dad that I didn't understand.
 

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Good, examples are good. There is this image in her mind of what a man is. It is largely based on her father. This problem is more common in men, but the solution is the same. You need to communicate to her in a meaningful way, that you are not her dad, she did not marry her dad, she married you, and she ought to be very happy that she isn't married to her dad. To tell a story from generations ago that illustrates how to deliver this message. A young wife went crying to her mother in law because her husband had criticized something she had done because it wasn't the way his mother had done it. This wise old pioneer woman told her how to fix this. She said, Next time he says something like that I want you to slap him as hard as you can. then say "is that how your mother did it?" Now obviously I'm not suggesting that you hit your wife, but you need to change the dynamic. You will never win being compared to her memories of her father. So when she says "My dad and I used to do it all the time, you're telling me you can't?" your reply should be., " since I have the knowledge of how to do that job safely that is how I'm going to do it. Would you like me to do it before or after the hay?" The important bit is to explain that you are your own man, and you are every bit as good as dad, but different. Keep reading.
 

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Brother, I was you in 2014. It's a large part of what brought me to this site. Things can improve, but you are going to have to be the one to initiate the change.

You have to reach the point where you're willing to see the end of your marriage if there is not significant Improvement. If you haven't reached that point, then why bother?

The first step is to read the two books that Steve mentioned.

The second is to stop fearing her anger.

The third is to get comfortable with the word "no". Read the book "When I Say No I Feel Guilty".
@MEM2020 @ReturntoZero
 

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All good advice. I have stepped away, and said I won't be spoken to that way. With differing levels of success. Never an outright apology, but, sometimes an acknowledgement later on.

I wish it were as cut and dry as far as the 4 steps you listed. Unfortunately it's much more nuanced. I don't think I explained it well above.

When I am willing to do what she wants to do, which is always some form of work on the property that she as deemed necessary, everything is great. To be clear, I am often willing, and often enjoy the work. Sometimes she's entirely too overbearing about "getting it done" and takes all the joy out of the work. However, most of the time, if I just do what she wants done, she's happy. However, if I don't, or disagree that a certain thing needs done immediately, or at all; First I am given several reasons why I do need to do the thing. If I still disagree, or give a counter then comes the anger & passive aggressive behavior.

Good example:

Her: Are you going to cut down those trees while you're getting hay and bring the logs back too? I want to use them.

Me: No, I don't have the proper equipment to load them on the trailer.

Her: You have the tractor there.

Me: The hay buck is not suited for loading logs, I can't scoop up the logs with it.

Her: Can't you use a chain or something and drag them on the trailer if you park by the hill?

Me: That's not safe.

Her: (Angry & sarcastic) My dad and I used to do it all the time, you're telling me you can't?

Me: I'm not doing that.

Her: Leaves muttering something her dad that I didn't understand.
"Sounds like you and your dad have a job to do."

Or even better just simply "no".
 
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Glamdaring said:
If I still disagree, or give a counter then comes the anger & passive aggressive behavior.
I have similar sitch. I never disagree, I never counter, I never ask for any kind of apology, I never get angry. But, I use passive-aggressive behavior that would make a 1940 shrink quite proud. And, because I understand that the right, or wrong, of that action, or any other action, is determined in its motive, I make no apology for it.

I have learned that it is in my best interest to simply allow her to have her bombastic say. Let her pontificate about when, where, how, or whether some other man's method is right and mine is wrong. I totally eliminate all the stress I used to endure which resulted from conflict between her and I.

It was Dr. Phil who asked his TV guest the question...."...do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?...."....

Since I adopted this method, I am BOTH right AND happy :) .... because, just like you, I know, based upon education and experience, that my decisions are correct, safe, and proper, when it comes to application of mechanical physics. What some other person did in similar circumstances, has utterly no relevance, because in this circumstance, I am the "man in the can", and my training and discipline are wholly sufficient to make the decision. If someone else made a different decision, then the most likely reason is that the scenarios in question were not truly equal, and there were mitigating factors which allowed his method to be safely successful.....which are being ignored by my wife because of her hasty, hurry-up-and-do-what-I-want-you-to-do attitude.

When the end of the day comes, our tractor and ancillary implements will be stored in our shed without any damage, and my children, me, and my wife will sit down to the dinner table uninjured and whole, and with that, I will be happy. The only thing I will have to endure is her being annoyed.... but I will have done the job God gave me, and due to this, I will be right. Since I am made in God's image, I have to deduce that God really doesn't give a rat's ass whether she is annoyed, only that she is safe and continuing to be my precious wife, and the mother of my beloved children.

Score: God is happy and right.
I am happy and right.
W will be happy again tomorrow, because I will not point out that she was wrong. I'll leave that one to God.
 

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Good, examples are good. There is this image in her mind of what a man is. It is largely based on her father. This problem is more common in men, but the solution is the same. You need to communicate to her in a meaningful way, that you are not her dad, she did not marry her dad, she married you, and she ought to be very happy that she isn't married to her dad. To tell a story from generations ago that illustrates how to deliver this message. A young wife went crying to her mother in law because her husband had criticized something she had done because it wasn't the way his mother had done it. This wise old pioneer woman told her how to fix this. She said, Next time he says something like that I want you to slap him as hard as you can. then say "is that how your mother did it?" Now obviously I'm not suggesting that you hit your wife, but you need to change the dynamic. You will never win being compared to her memories of her father. So when she says "My dad and I used to do it all the time, you're telling me you can't?" your reply should be., " since I have the knowledge of how to do that job safely that is how I'm going to do it. Would you like me to do it before or after the hay?" The important bit is to explain that you are your own man, and you are every bit as good as dad, but different. Keep reading.
In my experience, explaining in these situations rarely does any good. Besides, you are allowing her to frame the discussion that it is somehow your responsibility to do, then you are defending yourself.

This causes both of you to lose respect for you.
 

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Two observations based on your posts so far...with the disclaimer that I am a woman so my post will be colored by that point of view! My post also assumes the best of both you, that you love each other and each desire a happy relationship...

First, she is likely escalating her behavior in response to your backing off. I have a husband who is extremely conflict avoidant and will retreat the moment he thinks I'm upset about something. This caused a lot of negative feelings for me early in our marriage... I interpreted his avoidance as not caring at all about what was important to me. The escalation isn't good... and achieves the opposite of what she is likely hoping for (to understand you, to hear what you are thinking, to voice your disagreement) but she may be so frustrated that she just doesn't see it. You should talk to her about this dynamic during a neutral time, not while fighting. Explain to her why you retreat, how her tone/words make you feel and suggest a better way to discuss hot button topics with her. What you wrote in your opening post was good. Women tend to relate and empathize with the feelings of the other person, while men (or at least my husband) tend to feel that they need to hide their feelings all of the time. Once my husband let me know how my actions made him FEEL, the light bulb went off in my head. I had previously truly thought he was ignoring me or just didn't care, I didn't realize that I was hurting him. Seems dumb now that I look back on it, but I could not see past my incorrect assumption at that time until he pointed it out to me.

Second, you said your wife is a stay at home mom. I presume that means she's at home most of the time, and probably ruminating all day on the things she wants done around the house/on the property. I assume the things she's asking you to do are things she mostly couldn't do herself? (Using your log example.) If she's the go-getter type of personality, I am sure she finds it frustrating to have certain items on her to do list that she cannot advance forward and it's staring her in the face all day long. I am the same type of personality and I had to learn to chill out. I remember being home when my kids were infants and how much it drove me nuts to sit at home all day looking at unfinished projects. When my husband would come home, I would be energized and want to tackle my projects but he would be tired and want to unwind. I knew I wasn't cut out for being a stay at home mom (for multiple reasons)... but once i went back to work, I would also come home tired and want to unwind and not want to deal with projects at home all of the time. Not saying your wife shouldn't stay home, I'm just saying I can understand both sides of the situation. I think you should create a sort of schedule with her. Maybe decide mutually how much time you can spend on a major project (not regular chores, I'm talking about renovations or repairs etc.) And how much time is downtime to relax. If you have a job that supports the family financially you're not a lazy person for wanting some downtime at home. Do you and your wife ever get time to spend together doing fun activities out of the house? Go on dates together? Maybe try breaking her out of there a bit more...



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Farside is right. This is her hobby. If she wants it done her way, the way she has done it before, then she can do it. It is not your fault that you are not her dad. She chose you because you were not her dad, and she needs to stop trying to make you her dad. Don't explain that you are your own man, demonstrate it!
 

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I used to have a similar attitude to your wife, until I met my current partner whose approach is just like farside explained.

I resisted it until I came to TAM to find out how to get my partner to change and lo and behold, I was informed that he didn't need fixing, I did.

So I'd suggest that you learn to utilize the approach suggested by farside, and supplement with a single BRIEF explanation that you will do things your way and should she have an issue with it then she can do it herself, and you will do it when you have the time not when she demands.
 

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All good advice. I have stepped away, and said I won't be spoken to that way. With differing levels of success. Never an outright apology, but, sometimes an acknowledgement later on.

I wish it were as cut and dry as far as the 4 steps you listed. Unfortunately it's much more nuanced. I don't think I explained it well above.

When I am willing to do what she wants to do, which is always some form of work on the property that she as deemed necessary, everything is great. To be clear, I am often willing, and often enjoy the work. Sometimes she's entirely too overbearing about "getting it done" and takes all the joy out of the work. However, most of the time, if I just do what she wants done, she's happy. However, if I don't, or disagree that a certain thing needs done immediately, or at all; First I am given several reasons why I do need to do the thing. If I still disagree, or give a counter then comes the anger & passive aggressive behavior.

Good example:

Her: Are you going to cut down those trees while you're getting hay and bring the logs back too? I want to use them.

Me: No, I don't have the proper equipment to load them on the trailer.

Her: You have the tractor there.

Me: The hay buck is not suited for loading logs, I can't scoop up the logs with it.

Her: Can't you use a chain or something and drag them on the trailer if you park by the hill?

Me: That's not safe.

Her: (Angry & sarcastic) My dad and I used to do it all the time, you're telling me you can't?

Me: I'm not doing that.

Her: Leaves muttering something her dad that I didn't understand.
And, you say... "I'm not ok with where this conversation is heading"
 

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In my experience, explaining in these situations rarely does any good. Besides, you are allowing her to frame the discussion that it is somehow your responsibility to do, then you are defending yourself.

This causes both of you to lose respect for you.
No one can plausibly argue that you are "ok" with something you are not ok with.

No explaining.
 

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OP, how long have you been married? Do you have any children? I work full-time & long hours. When I get home, I don't want more work nor drama from my retired spouse. He's outside right now tinkering on some projects. If he requires for me to work on his hobbies after a long day at work, I would go nuclear right now. I want to relax & play around the computer. This is my downtime & my right to enjoy the rest of my day in a peaceful manner. Don't let your wife abuse you. We teach people how to treat us. Teach her!
 

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A farm is non-stop toil. The work will never be finished.

How did the two of you end up living on a farm? Is it her family farm? Did she grow up on it? You may think this is a casual endeavor for her, but it sure doesn't seem like it to me.

It sounds as if the two of you have a poor dynamic when it comes to disagreements in general. I suggest marriage counseling. Learn how to disagree and resolve conflict in a more healthy and productive way.
 

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op,

what type of animals is she raising and for what purposes ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Go read "no more mr nice guy" and "hold on to your nuts"
Both should take you 5 hours to read (both of them) and will give you some good perspectives.

Your walking on egg shells and letting her emotions control you... those books will help you break that mold
I read your first book last night. Lots of introspection. There are an uncanny number of things in that book that accurately describe me, some, difficult to admit.

Looks like a lot of, or at least 50% of the problem is me. I am going to read it again. I have planned a camping trip with my 2 brothers for the end of this month.

This is going to be a journey.

Thank you for recommending that book.
 
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