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My wife has not thrown anything in a while, slammed doors, or screamed at me in weeks/months, so surely I can handle it when it occasionally happens. Yes, when she is mad at me, she will give me the silent treatment, and I reciprocate. We normally try to reconcile quickly, because it is poisonous, but sometimes we don't talk to each other for days. Sometimes she will apologize for saying harsh things to me. Sometimes I will apologize for ordering the wrong pizza toppings. Sometimes, we will just agree to move forward like things are fine. But inwardly, we know things are not fine. Things are headed for another meltdown.

I'm like you - when I am not at my office working, I am with the kids, shopping, working on cars, caring for yard, paying bills, cleaning house, cooking food, working out, hanging with family, all of which are "wife approved" activities. I think I've changed everything about my life to keep her from criticizing me, for I am sensitive to it.

Well, when I gave her a massage the other day, she gave me one in return. She pours me a cup of coffee sometimes on the weekends, which is nice. Other than that, I really can't think of kind things that she has done over and above her usual tasks with kids and the house.

I'm sad to hear that your wife never changed her criticism of anything that you wanted to do just for yourself - like have a hobby for instance. I'm afraid I might be in the same boat. After I told someone about my situation, he told me how I shouldn't allow my wife's feelings control my feelings. For example, I ordered too many toppings one time, and my wife got mad because she had to pick off the mushrooms. She might have given me silent treatment for hours after that - I don't remember perfectly, but it was big problem apparently. My friend said what you are saying - let her get mad because I can't control that, but try not take get mad myself, let it drag me down into depression.
Sorry to hear about the dearth of "kindness." From your brief description, it sounds like most of her gestures are "reciprocal" in nature. You do for her, so she does for you. I get that this is the way that it works most of the time. But that doesn't make it right or fair. In my case, it would be nice to have had my wife think about me and provide thoughtful gestures upon her own initiation once in awhile. Typically, the rationale for her lack of kindness were typically tied to selfish motivations.

When our kids were little, for instance, she would have a couple of "lunch playdates" every week with other Moms/kids at some fast-food joint. I work from home. It would have been nice for just one of those 100+ times for her to call and ask me if I wanted her to bring anything back for me from the restaurant. Never happened. As she explains to me when I eventually raised the topic, "You don't need the calories." (Delivered as she's finishing her own milkshake, and possessing a BMI tally higher than mine.) In short, she could go out, but she really did not like the idea of having a fat husband. Her need to control my diet superseded the concept of "I want to do something nice for my husband."

Your friend's advise is wise. But it's easy to deliver and incredibly difficult to follow after years of ingrained behavior patterns. But you need more tools at your disposal to make it happen. An option that I didn't do, but wish I had done, was to engage in marriage counseling that would provide a safe environment for me to get issues on the table with a neutral third party refereeing the discussion. I needed to convey to my wife that her behavior was unacceptable and not within the norms of a realistic relationship. (In my case, my father died a few months before I was born, leaving me no real good model of what a healthy marital relationship looked like on a day-to-day basis. It took me a good decade of experience - and watching other relationships of my peers - for me to finally recognize that they dynamic in my marriage was not healthy and that I needed a change.) Your wife will not like hearing that's she's not acting in an appropriate manner. But hearing it from an outside voice at least offers a better chance of being heard/accepted and acted upon than if you try to make a similar case.

If you are like me, you likely will recoil at the notion of counseling. To suggest counseling is to suggest that there are problems, which undermines the whole premise of the facade of happiness that you try to create when appeasing her every whim out of self-preservation. If you are unwilling to go the counseling route at this point, you can at least try to read (and put into practice) the themes addressed in "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Dr. Robert Glover - a book mentioned by other posters earlier in the thread.

The basic lesson of NMMNG is that "nice guys" will use their kindness as a tool to manipulate others to get the love/attention we don't believe we can get otherwise. We don't have enough confidence to think that our partners will love us for our own qualities. So, we engage in so-called "covert contracts" where we defer our own needs/wants to satisfy the needs and wants of others. The idea is that if we provide for their needs, they will reciprocate and provide us the kindness/thoughtfulness we desire in return. This is called a "covert contract" in which we make this deal in our own minds about this exchange of kindness without ever telling our partners the terms of the agreement. Eventually, we wind up disappointed when our partners do not fulfill their end of the bargain of these "covert contracts" that they have no knowledge of.

These covert contracts make us especially dependent on monitoring the mood/status of our partner. If the partner is mad/unhappy, then we become sad / unhappy because we recognize that we will not be getting what we want from the relationship because our partner is dissatisfied. Breaking free of this cycle is a process called "detaching the emotional hose" in which you stop basing your happiness on the mood of your wife and gradually become more aware of the specific things/activities that make you the most happy. It's a process that leads you to a more authentic life for yourself, but it does not necessarily guarantee the health of the marriage. As Glover says, becoming more authentic in your own life will either strengthen your marriage or send it to its long overdue grave. I highly recommend that you become more familiar with the concepts of "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and engage in some of the "Breaking Free Exercises" prescribed in the book. (Oh, and one more thing, do not tell your wife about the book or your efforts to change yourself. That would be another element of "approval seeking" that keeps the emotional hose attached and retards your own personal development. If she notices changes in your behavior, just say that that you are working on ways to improve yourself in a way that will make you a better husband, father and friend.)

A last note: it is 100% unacceptable for her to throw things at you or slam doors in your face. As you will learn from NMMNG, you need to set boundaries (with associated consequences) on certain behaviors. When things are calm, you have to bring up the issue that you did not appreciate the times that your wife has thrown X, Y or Z at you and then state a consequence for what will happen if she does it again. For instance, if she throws anything at you again, you are taking the kids and staying at your parent's place until the issue is resolved. Or you can say that next time she throws something, that you're calling the police. Or that you're going to film the episode and embarrass her on Facebook. Whatever the consequence is, you have to be willing to protect your boundary and enforce the consequence when the boundary is violated.

Until you start re-writing the rules of the relationship - either via the help of a counselor or via a steady diet of hard-work on self-improvement - your reality will never change. If you are unwilling to take either of the steps above, your only other option is to stick it out for as long as possible for your kids before the inevitable divorce takes place. If you're still have steady sex at this point, you can probably keep up the charade for another decade or so. There's enough to work with here to keep things moving along. But, the odds are high that you will become increasingly miserable as the years pass.
 

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Wow - thank you for your insights. It is funny that you mention it. My wife comes from a very strict, Fundamentalist background. We are talking women in dresses to the floor (sometimes a few head-coverings), men in suits only, men only leaders, appearance of perfection at all times, keep away from the damned, don't send your kids to public school, go to church, Sunday school, Sunday night service, Wednesday night service, church activities in addition to this, heavy on showing good works, etc...
I think Washashore might have taken some liberties there although I'm sure his post must have been quite liberating for you, and I can understand that. But I don't recall you saying your faith is intact. Is it? Because I got the feeling you were done with religion altogether, notably the Bible. You weren't interested in people's suggestion that you find another church home, and you also stated you simply stopped believing in the Bible. So tell us where you are with regard to religion and/or your faith.

Something I disagree with Washashore about is knocking someone else's religion. Whatever it is and however misguided your wife's religion may seem to us, it is her/their religion and they are as entitled to their beliefs and standards of practice as everyone else. And honestly, it is those religions that are the strictest that I find to be the best in terms of teaching and holding their members accountable. So many religions, it seems to me, have little and usually zero, control of their flock because people run wild doing all manner of sin and wrongdoing with no regard for their religion or their faith until they get into trouble and need to call on God or Jesus to deliver them. So, if there are those that are able to convince their membership to walk in faith, do good deeds, behave themselves, raise their children well, be modest, and not take pleasure in the wrongdoing of others, then I'm all for it. Their ways of enforcing accountability might not be pleasant (and I'm sure that's why she had you confess your moral failings [notably porn] but definitely was NOT to shame your sexuality as Marduk claimed), but it certainly is better than facing the penal system, leaving victims in your wake, and corrupting your soul.

It might be acceptable for men to rally for other men and give a pass and understanding to each other for watching porn the way Washashore did, but it's still wrongdoing according to any and every faith-based (since people could just as well form a group for porn watching and call it a religion) religion on the planet, and many of them have their various ways of having people confess their sins (and ask for forgiveness). Catholics have confessionals. Jehovah's Witnesses must confess to the elders with full details over several days time and then confess to the whole congregation. That, among other things, is what Christian religions are supposed to do - guide people on the path of righteousness and away from doing wrong. To do that, they hold people accountable as part of their system of deterrents. So if you want to say you still have faith, then that's a different signal than you gave us previously, and you aren't going to find a Christian religion that understands and allows it the way Washashore just did. You can easily find some that won't hold you accountable so you can do whatever you want as most so-called Christians do, but even those churches teach and admonish against it.
 

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Yes, my wife has showed many of these traits (not swearing though). She threatened to leave me when she found out about porn years ago, so we might as well check that one off too.
It is not abusive for your wife to set boundaries with you. If she wants to leave you over your porn use, that is her prerogative and is not abusive. What is abusive is her shaming you. That doesn't mean if you feel shame it's because she caused it. It means that if she using shaming language and is critical of you as a person.

It is also not abusive for a person to talk about what someone has done to hurt them. The manner in which your wife did that isn’t great, but she may have been trying to get you to own it rather than her telling for you. It’s not wrong that you told her family about your lust problem, but it shouldn’t have been done to shame you. It’s called exposure and it can be done appropriately.

I agree that she loves me and is trying to point out my problems to fix me. I told her the other month that her getting mad for no good reason (maybe I wore the wrong clothing to church, maybe I wasn't moving quickly enough through the house, or maybe there was nothing that I did) was not helping anything between us and actually making the relationship worse. This seemed to hit her, and she mentioned later that it was actually correct. Can you please elaborate more about personal power, what it is, and what I can do to take it back?
We each have power over our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, choices, responses, behaviors, etc. With that, we are personally responsible for our all of that. Conversely, we are not responsible for those things in other people, except to a certain extent our young children. Even with children, the goal is for them to have self-control rather than being under the control of their parents. Yes, they should be under control, but that control should be balance between what they are capable of and where their parents have to fill in the areas they aren’t. For babies, they have no responsibility, but as children grow, their level of self-control should be growing as well.

In this, you are responsible for having your own needs and desires met. When these needs or desires involved other people, it is with their agreement and participation, not in a manipulative or controlling manner. This is why it is so important that husband and wife have each other’s backs, but are not relying on each other to meet personal responsibilities.

Does that make sense or do you need more information?
 

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Discussion Starter #164
The basic lesson of NMMNG is that "nice guys" will use their kindness as a tool to manipulate others to get the love/attention we don't believe we can get otherwise. We don't have enough confidence to think that our partners will love us for our own qualities. So, we engage in so-called "covert contracts" where we defer our own needs/wants to satisfy the needs and wants of others. The idea is that if we provide for their needs, they will reciprocate and provide us the kindness/thoughtfulness we desire in return. This is called a "covert contract" in which we make this deal in our own minds about this exchange of kindness without ever telling our partners the terms of the agreement. Eventually, we wind up disappointed when our partners do not fulfill their end of the bargain of these "covert contracts" that they have no knowledge of.
Thank you, MarriedTex. I think I have had a "covert contract" with my wife without ever realizing it or explaining it to her: If I work hard earning money, helping with children, go shopping, go where you want me to go, take care of the house and yard... then she will be pleased and enjoy, accept, and love me. However, after I do those things, she is sometimes mad at me for how I did something or didn't do something. I feel like she breached the "covert contract," but it never existed anyway, only in my mind. I was reading some reviews on NMMNG, and it has quite the following! I will look into it some more. My wife might be mad if she sees it in house, though.
 

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I think Washashore might have taken some liberties there although I'm sure his post must have been quite liberating for you, and I can understand that. But I don't recall you saying your faith is intact. Is it? Because I got the feeling you were done with religion altogether, notably the Bible. You weren't interested in people's suggestion that you find another church home, and you also stated you simply stopped believing in the Bible. So tell us where you are with regard to religion and/or your faith.

Something I disagree with Washashore about is knocking someone else's religion. Whatever it is and however misguided your wife's religion may seem to us, it is her/their religion and they are as entitled to their beliefs and standards of practice as everyone else. And honestly, it is those religions that are the strictest that I find to be the best in terms of teaching and holding their members accountable. So many religions, it seems to me, have little and usually zero, control of their flock because people run wild doing all manner of sin and wrongdoing with no regard for their religion or their faith until they get into trouble and need to call on God or Jesus to deliver them. So, if there are those that are able to convince their membership to walk in faith, do good deeds, behave themselves, raise their children well, be modest, and not take pleasure in the wrongdoing of others, then I'm all for it. Their ways of enforcing accountability might not be pleasant (and I'm sure that's why she had you confess your moral failings [notably porn] but definitely was NOT to shame your sexuality as Marduk claimed), but it certainly is better than facing the penal system, leaving victims in your wake, and corrupting your soul.

It might be acceptable for men to rally for other men and give a pass and understanding to each other for watching porn the way Washashore did, but it's still wrongdoing according to any and every faith-based (since people could just as well form a group for porn watching and call it a religion) religion on the planet, and many of them have their various ways of having people confess their sins (and ask for forgiveness). Catholics have confessionals. Jehovah's Witnesses must confess to the elders with full details over several days time and then confess to the whole congregation. That, among other things, is what Christian religions are supposed to do - guide people on the path of righteousness and away from doing wrong. To do that, they hold people accountable as part of their system of deterrents. So if you want to say you still have faith, then that's a different signal than you gave us previously, and you aren't going to find a Christian religion that understands and allows it the way Washashore just did. You can easily find some that won't hold you accountable so you can do whatever you want as most so-called Christians do, but even those churches teach and admonish against it.
I consider myself agnostic right now, so I don't really think there is anyway to know for sure what happens after death. I like a lot about Christianity, though - morality, God's love, etc. If I had to pick a religion it would be that one.
 

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Something I disagree with Washashore about is knocking someone else's religion. Whatever it is and however misguided your wife's religion may seem to us, it is her/their religion and they are as entitled to their beliefs and standards of practice as everyone else. And honestly, it is those religions that are the strictest that I find to be the best in terms of teaching and holding their members accountable. So many religions, it seems to me, have little and usually zero, control of their flock because people run wild doing all manner of sin and wrongdoing with no regard for their religion or their faith until they get into trouble and need to call on God or Jesus to deliver them. So, if there are those that are able to convince their membership to walk in faith, do good deeds, behave themselves, raise their children well, be modest, and not take pleasure in the wrongdoing of others, then I'm all for it. Their ways of enforcing accountability might not be pleasant (and I'm sure that's why she had you confess your moral failings [notably porn] but definitely was NOT to shame your sexuality as Marduk claimed), but it certainly is better than facing the penal system, leaving victims in your wake, and corrupting your soul.
StarFires, DIGB is not doing anything to undermine or "knock" wife's religious beliefs. If anything, he's stretching beyond his level of faith to support her view of the world and promote family participation consistent with her beliefs.

Where is the wife's compassion / empathy for her husband's position? Doesn't his worldview deserve some respect in this discussion? As a lapsed Catholic, I recognize the inherent dangers associated with putting your trust in rules developed by a group of men purporting to represent the moral, righteous path of the Lord. In terms of adhering to the Lord's will, I'll put my money on embracing the meaning behind Christ's teachings as opposed to using rules developed by men "enforcing accountability." Smells a lot like some people twisting God's authority to serve their own perverted need for control over others.
 

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My wife's religion is the Baptist form of Christianity. Yes, I try to now buy a pepperoni pizza in the order to please the family.
I may have gone a little overboard by accusing your family of being picky. I do think that they should be taken into account, but so should you. Getting what you want and something they want sounds like a good compromise that should be normal.

As long as you are not constantly bowing to the desires of others without being considered. There is a difference between a need and a desire. Finding out what you like is important. I think you said earlier that you don’t even know what you desire. Pizza isn’t a bad place to start. You have to start somewhere if you’re going to learn that your needs and desires matter as well. You are also part of the family and if you aren’t happy, that is not doing the family dynamic any good.

I don’t think that any family member is more important than another. I don’t put people in order. For example, I don’t think the relationship between my husband and I takes precedence over the rest of the family, but if our relationship isn’t healthy, it will negatively impact the rest of the family, so it must be nurtured. When our kids were young, we took time to be alone and to meet our needs as a couple. Sometimes the kids had to wait, just like we sometimes had to wait for our couple time if the kids needed us.

Wow - thank you for your insights. It is funny that you mention it. My wife comes from a very strict, Fundamentalist background. We are talking women in dresses to the floor (sometimes a few head-coverings), men in suits only, men only leaders, appearance of perfection at all times, keep away from the damned, don't send your kids to public school, go to church, Sunday school, Sunday night service, Wednesday night service, church activities in addition to this, heavy on showing good works, etc...
Another reason why I think your wife needs to read The God Shaped Brain. Your wife’s behavior is linked to how she views God. I would venture to guess that she sees God as a ruler who is looking for her sin, rather than as a Father and Savior who has resolved her sin. I seriously doubt that your wife actually reads the Bible at all, but if she does, it’s likely in small out of context parts, rather than as a whole document that is meant to be read through and compared to other parts to get a full picture.

If you sit down with her and spend time reading together every evening, it should bring you two closer. There are lots of books you could start with, but she really needs an overhaul of how she views God and I think The God Shaped Brain book would help her to relax and be less demanding and more open and loving. Again, I don’t think you will get anywhere if you ask your wife to read the book without you, but if you buy it and tell her that the two of you need to read this book together, then make a plan for what time and where you will be reading together, it will happen. Don’t try to convince her or argue. Tell her it’s important and this starts now. It doesn’t have to be every day, but at least three nights a week, the two of you should be reading things that will improve your relationship and then acting on the parts that make sense to you both.

I’m not talking about forcing it on her. I’m talking about expecting your wife to be interested in what matters to you and working with you to improve your lives and marriage. Telling her this is what you want and making a plan for it to happen. You aren’t going to make progress if you can’t express your personal desires and needs and have an expectation that your wife cares about that.

You and your wife seem to be living in fear. That is extremely dysfunctional and can lead to all sorts of problems, many of which you are experiencing right now. Unfortunately, it can get worse and even create physical problems. This can create all sorts of issues for your children as well. No wonder you rejected Christianity if that’s what you think it’s about. It’s not.
 

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I thought I posted this but I guess I didn't.

@StarFires

Moderator warning:-

You did post it. But it was deleted by a moderator following reports of an inappropriate post.

Please don't ever repost a post after it has been deleted by a moderator or an administrator.
Not sure what you are referencing, MattMatt. But please delete any posts of mine that may have quoted materials previously deleted by moderator. My apologies.
 

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Not sure what you are referencing, MattMatt. But please delete any posts of mine that may have quoted materials previously deleted by moderator. My apologies.
Don't worry. It wasn't your fault. :)
 

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Im southern Baptist and I don't believe I could even come close to tolerating your wifes demands. You are a human being and we all have faults. Not saying she is bad but you and her are incompatible. Good luck in any event. Our pastor is from Liberty and we follow Franklin G ministries but many of us have unflattering pasts and we are all imperfect. Do the best you can I guess.
 

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It's a process that leads you to a more authentic life for yourself, but it does not necessarily guarantee the health of the marriage. As Glover says, becoming more authentic in your own life will either strengthen your marriage or send it to its long overdue grave.
I did have one of this "covert contracts" in my head. You have described my exact situation. I also did the process, but, unfortunately, it sent the marriage to its grave on the long term... you see, my wife is very smart. She pretended everything was fine, but it wasn't. When the opportunity arose, she broke free...
 

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DIGB:

Your wife does not respect you because you acquiesce and because of your fundamental differences in religious belief.

You acquiesce because you have some mild codependency traits.

Now...even if you suddenly found your way back to Christ, I suspect she would still struggle to respect you. This is mostly because you allow her to run roughshod over you.

I would also bet she comes from a home with a domineering father. Not necessarily abusive (but possible), but I would be willing to bet that all decisions are carefully run through him, that he controls the money, etc.

This could be projecting, but I see a ton of parallels between your wife and mine.

The poster that told you to own your power was speaking truth. While this sounds rather fascinating and elusive to one who does not know how...it really is very simple. It starts with making decisions (big, small, in-between) based on principle, and then enforcing said decisions in a calm manner.

Her making you go to her dad over *cough* a sex drive?

"No. What's for dinner?"

The credit cards?

"No. My family will spend within it's means." (Unless it is something necessary)

The church and your faith?

"We all wrestle with faith in life. This is my personal journey, not yours. Keep your eyes on your own paper."

If she screams or yells?

"I'm not okay with yelling." (In a calm CALM manner)

If she continues?

"Are you done?"

Do you see how that works? The key to owning your power is to calmly and politely tell her to piss up a rope when she wants something that is not good for your family.

That said...you had better make sure you know what your family needs, and be open to what it may be. In other words, don't do this over everything...but rather the things you KNOW are unhealthy.

Also, always...always...ALWAYS apologize when you are wrong...but only apologize once. ONCE. Any more than that is acquiescing to her wanting her pound of flesh.

Lastly, the key to the frame of owning your own power lies in your emotional steadfastness. When she was upset over the mushrooms, did you stress? Did you let the fear to her reaction alter your routines? I bet you did. It has to stop.

Does this make sense?



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Discussion Starter #174
I did have one of this "covert contracts" in my head. You have described my exact situation. I also did the process, but, unfortunately, it sent the marriage to its grave on the long term... you see, my wife is very smart. She pretended everything was fine, but it wasn't. When the opportunity arose, she broke free...
Thank you, In Absentia - if our situations are so similar, I'm a bit worried that they could end similarly. What specifically was the opportunity, another available man? How did she break free - file for divorce?
 

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Thank you, In Absentia - if our situations are so similar, I'm a bit worried that they could end similarly. What specifically was the opportunity, another available man? How did she break free - file for divorce?
Empty nest... we finished our job as parents, so I wasn't needed anymore. She took the sexual side off the table without consulting me. I turned down the sexless marriage, so we are now separating. Sometimes, I wish there was another man... :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #176
DIGB:

Your wife does not respect you because you acquiesce and because of your fundamental differences in religious belief.

You acquiesce because you have some mild codependency traits.

Now...even if you suddenly found your way back to Christ, I suspect she would still struggle to respect you. This is mostly because you allow her to run roughshod over you.

I would also bet she comes from a home with a domineering father. Not necessarily abusive (but possible), but I would be willing to bet that all decisions are carefully run through him, that he controls the money, etc.

This could be projecting, but I see a ton of parallels between your wife and mine.

The poster that told you to own your power was speaking truth. While this sounds rather fascinating and elusive to one who does not know how...it really is very simple. It starts with making decisions (big, small, in-between) based on principle, and then enforcing said decisions in a calm manner.

Her making you go to her dad over *cough* a sex drive?

"No. What's for dinner?"

The credit cards?

"No. My family will spend within it's means." (Unless it is something necessary)

The church and your faith?

"We all wrestle with faith in life. This is my personal journey, not yours. Keep your eyes on your own paper."

If she screams or yells?

"I'm not okay with yelling." (In a calm CALM manner)

If she continues?

"Are you done?"

Do you see how that works? The key to owning your power is to calmly and politely tell her to piss up a rope when she wants something that is not good for your family.

That said...you had better make sure you know what your family needs, and be open to what it may be. In other words, don't do this over everything...but rather the things you KNOW are unhealthy.

Also, always...always...ALWAYS apologize when you are wrong...but only apologize once. ONCE. Any more than that is acquiescing to her wanting her pound of flesh.

Lastly, the key to the frame of owning your own power lies in your emotional steadfastness. When she was upset over the mushrooms, did you stress? Did you let the fear to her reaction alter your routines? I bet you did. It has to stop.

Does this make sense?
Wow - good stuff. You are totally correct that my wife comes from a family with a domineering father. He runs that family like navy ship. Basically you don't want to cross him because he will win, and he will discipline you harshly. He jokes about violence frequently. I know he is a huge fan of spanking for kids and possibly more. There is no question that he makes all of the decisions in that household.

I'm cracking up out loud reading your dialogue. Making firm decisions for the best interest of our family, being matter of fact about it, and leaving out the emotions all makes sense to me. I see room for me to improve here. Recently, I have been leaning towards, "whatever you want, wifey," thinking that it will buy me some happiness from her.

Yes, when my wife gets irritated/upset, then I do as well. I can't seem to help myself here. We both change dramatically - we stop looking at each, we stop talking to each other, we don't have sex, etc.
 

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Wow - good stuff. You are totally correct that my wife comes from a family with a domineering father. He runs that family like navy ship. Basically you don't want to cross him because he will win, and he will discipline you harshly. He jokes about violence frequently. I know he is a huge fan of spanking for kids and possibly more. There is no question that he makes all of the decisions in that household.



I'm cracking up out loud reading your dialogue. Making firm decisions for the best interest of our family, being matter of fact about it, and leaving out the emotions all makes sense to me. I see room for me to improve here. Recently, I have been leaning towards, "whatever you want, wifey," thinking that it will buy me some happiness from her.



Yes, when my wife gets irritated/upset, then I do as well. I can't seem to help myself here. We both change dramatically - we stop looking at each, we stop talking to each other, we don't have sex, etc.
Our wives are similar creatures.

One thing I want you to keep in mind as you make a decision whether or not you want to acquiesce:

If your decision will lead to her liking you but not respecting you, the answer should be unequivocally no.

Part of why your wife resents you it's because she has grown up with a firm leader. How well do you fit into that mold?

I'm not suggesting you need to be an *******, although periodically you will need to be. You also don't have to run your family like your father-in-law.

However, daughters often idealize their fathers. She is evaluating you based on how well you match up with him...and she doesn't like what she sees.

I want to make a book suggestion for you. Get the book "Hold On To Your N.U.T.'s" by Wayne Levine. I initially avoided reading this book simply based on the title, because it sounds like something that would fall into the cave man, fire-cook-meat silliness. Turns out the book is actually about understanding your role as a man, going through the process of selecting your non-negotiable unalterable terms (N.U.T.'s), and then living your life by them.

Once you figure out what your fundamentals and principles are, and live your life rigidly by them, you have to be willing to let the outcome be defined by that process. In other words, once you actually decide what type of man you want to be rather than someone who simply acquiesces to his wife, it may turn out that you are in fact not compatible with your wife.

It is like any other system of production. Quality inputs, fef into a sound process, produce quality results. If you fix your process, your results will follow suit.

Lastly, when you do this it will likely get worse before it gets better. It literally took six months of being worse before it got better in my particular situation.

Growing up the way your wife did, she will be highly resistant to change. She will rail against you, escalate, likely threaten divorce, and any number of other things to try and get you to fall back into where she is currently comfortable...even though she doesn't really like it.

The question is if you're ready to embark on this journey or not.




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Our wives are similar creatures.

One thing I want you to keep in mind as you make a decision whether or not you want to acquiesce:

If your decision will lead to her liking you but not respecting you, the answer should be unequivocally no.

Part of why your wife resents you it's because she has grown up with a firm leader. How well do you fit into that mold?

I'm not suggesting you need to be an *******, although periodically you will need to be. You also don't have to run your family like your father-in-law.

However, daughters often idealize their fathers. She is evaluating you based on how well you match up with him...and she doesn't like what she sees.

I want to make a book suggestion for you. Get the book "Hold On To Your N.U.T.'s" by Wayne Levine. I initially avoided reading this book simply based on the title, because it sounds like something that would fall into the cave man, fire-cook-meat silliness. Turns out the book is actually about understanding your role as a man, going through the process of selecting your non-negotiable unalterable terms (N.U.T.'s), and then living your life by them.

Once you figure out what your fundamentals and principles are, and live your life rigidly by them, you have to be willing to let the outcome be defined by that process. In other words, once you actually decide what type of man you want to be rather than someone who simply acquiesces to his wife, it may turn out that you are in fact not compatible with your wife.

It is like any other system of production. Quality inputs, fef into a sound process, produce quality results. If you fix your process, your results will follow suit.

Lastly, when you do this it will likely get worse before it gets better. It literally took six months of being worse before it got better in my particular situation.

Growing up the way your wife did, she will be highly resistant to change. She will rail against you, escalate, likely threaten divorce, and any number of other things to try and get you to fall back into where she is currently comfortable...even though she doesn't really like it.

The question is if you're ready to embark on this journey or not.
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Thanks, farsidejunky - I'm not a firm leader. I always ask what my wife wants, and we usually do what she wants. I think that my wife has conditioned me to this because I strive to avoid her displeasure. She plans every moment of every day. I just wake up every day and basically ask her what it is that I will be doing that day. You are right that this often makes her happy with me, but she does not respect me for this. You are absolutely correct that she compares me to her father, and "she doesn't like what she sees."

I really don't have any Non-negotiable Unalterable Terms (NUTs). I have not demanded anything really from her. She does great with the kids, she cooks meals, she keeps the house up, we have sex - so things are good. I think one are that I could set NUTs is on her occasional outbursts. Maybe I could say, "I will walk away from you when you raise your voice or say hurtful things towards me." What NUTs did you implement in your life? Did you wife stay with you and abide by them?
 

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Thanks, farsidejunky - I'm not a firm leader. I always ask what my wife wants, and we usually do what she wants. I think that my wife has conditioned me to this because I strive to avoid her displeasure. She plans every moment of every day. I just wake up every day and basically ask her what it is that I will be doing that day. You are right that this often makes her happy with me, but she does not respect me for this. You are absolutely correct that she compares me to her father, and "she doesn't like what she sees."



I really don't have any Non-negotiable Unalterable Terms (NUTs). I have not demanded anything really from her. She does great with the kids, she cooks meals, she keeps the house up, we have sex - so things are good. I think one are that I could set NUTs is on her occasional outbursts. Maybe I could say, "I will walk away from you when you raise your voice or say hurtful things towards me." What NUTs did you implement in your life? Did you wife stay with you and abide by them?
Get the book. You're already mixing up what a non-negotiable, unalterable term actually is. Hint, it has nothing to do with demanding something from her, and everything to do with what you are willing to accept.

If one of your NUT's is to be financially sound, then she does not get to spend on credit cards unless you actually have the money socked away to pay for it. if she still insist on doing it, you don't "force" her to give up the credit cards, as she ultimately does not have to do so. Rather, you begin the proceedings for divorce because what she wants is not compatible with what you want.

A less extreme example could be over plans for the weekend. So you decide to take charge of your life again, and you really want to do something on Saturday night. Don't ask her what she wants to do, tell her you are going to do it and invite her to join you. She may have alternate plans. That is totally okay. However, if she gets angry because you're choosing to do what you want to do and not joining her, shrug your shoulders and tell her to have fun. Then go do what you want to do on Saturday night.

Right now, you are effectively another kid, competing for a nipple. Why would she want to have sex with, or respect, or see as equals...or *cough* a head of household, someone who defers to her in everything.

Furthermore, if one is unwilling to stand for the little things...there sure as hell is a legitimate question as to whether or not they will stand for the big things.

This causes your wife to be insecure. This insecurity manifests itself into her nitpicking you, treating you like crap, etc.

Keep in mind that this is likely not deliberate. With my wife, it is subconscious. Even when I point it out to her, she doesn't see the correlation. But then again, my wife has always been led. Even when she was "on her own", her father was still pulling the strings.

Let's start with something simple. Do you have plans for this weekend?

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My NUT's:

*I will be in a loving, respectful marriage.

This includes not only how she addresses me, but how I address her as well. It includes regular sexual activity 'with' my partner rather than 'to' my partner, and stopping (no matter what point we may be at to include PIV) if she seems checked out. This means I apologize when I am wrong, and not just simply ignoring it and hoping it will get better should she choose not to do the same.

*I will be financially secure.

My family will spend within its means. if you take the time to peruse my old threads, you will see that we had significant issues with that. Those have been solved due to some financial management practices as well as the sale of a business that we started from scratch in 2013.

*I will always make time for my own growth.

I train in MMA three times per week, and teach kickboxing classes two of those three nights. It is my outlet when I need to get rid of my frustration, whether it's career or family related. It makes me a better person. It makes me a better husband. She often does not like it. I don't really care. She does not get a say in how I choose to grow.

*I will always make time for my son.

The modern man-child is not something I want to see my son grow into. He needs to understand that being assertive is not toxic, no matter what modern society may say. He must be equipped to be a person who can take care of himself. We must have fun together.

Do I always do the right thing? Nope.

I sometimes become too selfish, or sometimes acquiesce too much. Ultimately, comfort creates problems in that you have a tendency to revert to old habits. It is perfectly normal. It just requires an effort to refocus.

Does my wife always respect these? Nope.

When this happens, I begin to ratchet down my level of service to her. She has very high expectations of me, many of which involve assisting her with things that are not anywhere in my purview of responsibility. I do so out of generosity. When she loses respect for my boundaries, I lose my generosity.

She doesn't like it, but frankly, if she can't respect my boundaries, the last thing I'm concerned about is whether or not she is happy.

But...

She damn sure respects them, because she knows I won't tolerate her crossing them.

This is why I said it's so important that you can't allow her emotional state to dictate your own. Enforcing boundaries (or NUT's) requires taking a stand, and you can't stand for something without somebody being upset about it. This is the same approach you will likely have to take with your wife.

There are two sayings that really resonate with all of my boundaries. One is from Maya Angelou, while the second is from me.

1. Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

2. Love yourself enough to refuse to tolerate the intolerable.



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