Why The Fuss

Three Reasons why Husbands and Wives Fuss

Reason One

They sit on the couch to watch a movie. He’s been looking forward to time together and who knows maybe afterward lovin’ will follow. The fire is glowing and popcorn is in the bowl, the movie starts up.

She reaches drags the laundry basket over and begins to fold clothes, or stitch a blouse, or look over her checkbook for that missing deposit. He looks with disbelief and his temp rises. Fifteen minutes into the movie he’s in a huff and the night tailspins. What happened?

Women are great at multitasking, men are just okay. Men like to focus, it helps them complete a task like fixing a drain. Women can spread attention out, it helps them take care of kids in the middle of working on a spreadsheet. Men hate the interruption.

This basic difference is a major cause of fussing in most marriages. In the scene above he felt his wife rude and not in the movie with him. In short he felt rejected. See if this multitasking difference affects your marriage and if so discuss how you can fix it.  Agree to parameters.

Laura will mention that she wants to fold a basket of towels then, “I’ll be with you.” She is already with me but the multitasking makes me feel she is distant. Knowing the multitasking will last a short while, I am fine and realize that this is not a rejection, just the way she is. Next reason in a few days.

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How To Listen

Listen with Your Heart

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice,

you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me

why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do

something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen.

All I asked was that you listen. Not to talk or do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap.

Ten cents will get you both Dear Abby and Bill Graham in the same newspaper.

And I can do that for myself.

I’m not helpless.

Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,

you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.

But, when you accept as a single fact that I do feel what I feel,

no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince

you and get to the business of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice.

So, please listen and just hear me. And if you want to talk,

wait a minute for your turn; and I’ll listen to you.

CoachOurMarriage

After the Argument

So you blew it and had a big blow out. What do you do after the argument?

You want to fight!?

First, let your anger cool. Whether a few hours or a day, allow your anger to settle. Next, sort out impulse thoughts from reality. An impulse thought is one fueled by emotion, in this case anger. “What a witch, she always ignores me to ding me. She needs to learn to be more sensitive.” “He’s stupid, can’t even remember to do the littlest thing. He needs a dose of discipline.”  Share these thoughts  and you’ll reignite the battle. Here is your next step.

After your anger has cooled and your thoughts are more rational, follow this principle: approach your spouse with what you need to reconnect.  If you need her to take responsibility for her action, approach her by taking responsibility. Say, “Hon, I take responsibility for my part of the blowout.” Chances are greater that she will respond in kind, that she will take responsibility for her action or words.

Don’t tell her what she should do. “Hon, you need to take responsibility for your action.” She will not do it. Humans do not respond well to commands or “you shoulds.” If you want her to say she is sorry, then say you are sorry. If you want him to say he’ll try harder, say you will try harder. Think of what you need, what the marriage needs, and offer it. “What if she does not respond?”  Stay in that step until she does.  Keep reaffirming your part, keep saying you apologize.

Next, tell her what you will do in light of taking responsibility for your part. “I will work on my anger.” Then give a practical step. “I will buy that book, take that class, get coaching.” Again, she will respond in kind, “And I will be more careful with my sharp tongue and soften my delivery.”

Finally, ask forgiveness. “Please forgive me for what I did, said, etc.” Your spouse will likely say he/she forgives you and ask you to do the same. Now you are in good territory. The last step is to hug. And that’s easy. This is called a repair and if you don’t have them in your marriage it will fall apart.

Make Her Your Hero

There are reasons your wife attracted you.

Make her your hero.

Her smile captured you.  Her wit thrilled you.  Her energy mesmerized you. Strong chemistry and a combination of the above reasons with a few more thrown in drew you together to a lifelong commitment, but now that commitment is eroding. To reestablish bonds, make a list of what attracted you to your wife and her strong qualities; then contemplate those reasons.  The key is to focus on her qualities until she becomes your hero.

My wife became my hero when she gave birth to our son. After ten hours of labor the doctors called for an emergency C-section. Exhausted from stress, with full concentration, presence and determination she endured the surgery showing no fear. At that moment she became my hero. That was twenty years ago and she is still my hero today. I often focus on her strengths, no matter how simple or small.

Focus on your list. Spend time thinking about your wife, her strengths, all she does, and let your admiration soar. When marriage struggles the negatives hit us, “she’s always nagging and telling me what to do,” yet the more we focus on those negatives the more we demote our spouse. She needs to be your hero and she needs to know it.  Go for it, don’t be pragmatic. Say she’s the most. This is about romance, about love, about making someone feel she’s the absolute best.

Let her hear how you feel. Tell her what you appreciate about her. It may be as simple as how she matches clothes, or how she focuses on the kids, or her work; but clearly voice what you appreciate. When she becomes your hero, you will know it and so will she. You will adore her and believe me she will return the favor. Imagine how her life will change when you tell her she’s your hero.

Wives. You can easily switch out the pronouns and follow the above to make him your hero, but he won’t be having any babies soon.

The Switches in a Man’s Mind

In a man’s head are a few switches. Here’s how he works when these switches get flipped.It's On or Off

His build switch. When this switch gets flipped he begins to fix; he tears down, moves rubble and builds. This switch flips when he hears a problem. That’s why listening is difficult. You voice a concern just to vent and be heard, the build switch flips and he tries to fix you. It is hard for him to do nothing.

His fight switch. Flip this switch and fur flies. His emotions evaporate and he seeks to destroy. Good if you are attacked in a parking lot, bad if he sees you as the enemy. This is why he can say mean things about you, the kids, the house.  He may regret actions later, but now it’s search and destroy.  A husband needs to manage his warrior switch. A wife needs to avoid it. In some men this switch is too easily flicked and their aggression is too severe, these men are abusive and need help. They should be avoided.

His charm switch. His most beguiling switch connects to his needs.  He needs comfort, encouragement, and love; when those needs arise his charm switch flips and the romantic gentleman appears. His needs fall under the categories of food, comfort, encouragement, and sex. When these go unmet for along time his building switch flips. When that fails his warrior switch flips. When allowed to access his emotions he can funnel them through his charm circuitry and avoid the building and warrior switches, when he can’t, look out.

Men little understand these switches, only that they work. He is either building, fighting, or needing. The more he learns about these switches the better he can control their results. These switches are why men are doers and not talkers. It is why they like sports. Sports combine building – the game plan – and fighting – the game.

Because of these switches men find it hard to understand women. He can learn, but it takes time and teaching, and a little less switch flipping.

Marriage Tip: Trash Talk

Keep from trashing your spouse.

Trash Talk

Trashing your spouse to someone damages your marriage in several ways.

  • What we feed grows.  Trash talk reinforces the negatives in your mind making you feel worse about your spouse and marriage.
  • It alters memories.  Research shows that the more a marriage spirals down, the more we select bad memories.  Eventually, bad memories dominate and reinforce the idea our marriage is doomed.
  • It adds agreement to your thoughts.  Power of agreement is strong and telling someone about your spouse’s bad points causes that person to agree with you.
  • It makes a new enemy for your spouse exposing him/her to more criticism.
  • It sows a destiny. Thoughts become words, words become actions that create destiny.
  • You no longer protect your marriage, you open it to criticism.
  • You reinforce faith that your marriage will crash.
  • Finally, you lose respect in the eyes of others.

Think on positive qualities of your spouse. If you need help it is fine to say, “Our marriage needs work,”  but you need not criticize your spouse. Get help from someone capable.  If you must talk to a friend to vent, be general, but refrain from dissing your spouse. Write us.

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