Thursday, April 13, 2017

Common Marital Mistakes

Let's look at a recent entry on the Dr. Laura Blog about "marriage mistakes all couples make", which I'd cynically say starts with getting married in the first place.
1. Screaming.There is absolutely no justification for yelling at your spouse. If you’re upset about something, count to 15, and then calmly express yourself.
Guilty, guilty, guilty. I am. It's one reason I'm in therapy. I don't want to scream. My my wife would scream at me if she could. She does the equivalent through texts. One time in particular I screamed at her was when the kids were away for the night and I'd jumped through all of the hopes and I was hoping for some long-overdue lovemaking, and she made it clear it wasn't going to happen, basically because she didn't feel motivated to do it.

Yes, I screamed at her. I screamed at her that I was tired of being crapped on and rejected. I screamed that there were women who'd actually wanted me and it was a rotten thing to do to marry me when she didn't. Yes, I'm guilty.
2. Ignoring. If you’re actually too upset to talk, just say, “I’m not ignoring you. I just need to take a little time-out to pull myself together, and then I’ll be good to go.”
I've never, ever ignored my wife. She has ignored me many times, and you know what? The more she ignores me, the better! It means less stress for me, less work for me.

Well, let me qualify that. It's OK as long as she's not going to be home alone with the kids, because then her ignoring me could be an indication that she's having a psychotic break.
3. Trying to agree on everything. Coming to a complete consensus on every issue is not going to happen.
Are you paying attention, guys? There will be disagreements, including unresolved disagreements. Do you really wants to legally and financially bind yourself to such a situation?
If you have a difference of opinion, ask yourselves who cares more or is impacted the most. Then let that person make the decision and take the responsibility. However, if you’re not willing to accept the responsibility for something, you can’t bitch about it later.
Yeah, here's what happens with us. My wife will announce or request something. If I disagree, well, that's too bad. She's going to go ahead anyway. I might ask her questions, especially about the possible problems that might result from her decision, and she'll usually accuse me of being pessimistic and raining on her parade. Then, later, when what I was concerned might happen does happen, I'm stuck dealing with it because my wife will say she can't and that she didn't know things would be that bad. The one exception is that she wanted to keep homeschooling, and has wanted to return to homeschooling, but we put the kids in private school and have kept them there, but it was because a couple of experts, including one we needed to sign off on the homeschooling, said my wife wouldn't be able to keep doing it.
4. Making assumptions. Don’t assume anything! If you want to know something, ASK.
Generally good advice, but it can also be helpful to think through what the likely possibilities are before or without asking. Sometimes you'll realize you don't really care all that much and so there is no point to asking.
5. Not communicating. A lot of problems can be avoided if you simply talk to each other.
In our case, the less communication, the better. If she's not communicating with me, then I'm not being given more tasks to do, hearing about how I'm wrong or insufficient in some area, or how much sex is a burden to her. Or I'll hear less about some inane TV show I don't care about. So it's good if she communicates less. And I'm better off if I communicate less, because talking rarely improves anything for me. Rather, anything I say can and will be used against me.
6. Lying. If you ever think, “Boy, I hope my spouse never finds out about this,” then don’t do it.
I'm generally for honesty, but really, not telling her things she doesn't need to know is fine, at least in our case.

Sometimes, a spouse has something wrong with them, so that if you tell them something innocuous they'll launch into a tirade and be in a bad mood for a couple of days. Sorry, honestly, especially volunteering something, isn't the best policy in that case.
7. Not making your spouse a priority. Your spouse needs to be adored and appreciated, and given affection, attention, and compliments. Get your pride and ego out of the way, and stop dwelling on what you should be getting.
Generally, yes. But at some point, when things are not right, mitigation is necessary. Let's take the example of a trauma center surgeon. She's there saving lives. And that's her priority. But if she never thinks about her own needs, as in "I really need to be relieved so that I can tinkle, then get something to eat," then she's eventually going to collapse. Making your spouse a priority without them doing the same thing can only last so long.

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