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Wife Advice Needed!


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I don't often need relationship advice; my marriage has seemed strong in spite of my deconversion, but lately I've been at a bit of a loss.  I'm hoping some of the wise and experienced husbands and wives among us might be able to advise me here...


I've long known that a supportive husband (or just one who values his life!) doesn't offer criticism to his wife - even lovingly - when she's already upset.  But lately my wife has become angry even when I've expressed some criticism even after things have calmed down.


The background is that she's had problems with her younger sister.  They've clashed from time to time as sisters do, but now they're barely on speaking terms.  When my sister-in-law does talk to my wife, she seems to go out of her way to say things that will hurt my wife, but she does it in a passive-aggressive way, if you know what I mean.  Maybe she doesn't even realize she's doing it, but I can see why my wife gets upset.  She is convinced that her sister hates her now, in that passive-aggressive way.  At the same time, I can see that my wife has often come across as bossy to her younger sister.  My wife insists she's come a long way in improving her approach to her sister, but I still see this happen sometimes and I think it helps keep the shit stirred up.  I do think her sister is mostly to blame though.  Anyway, my wife has reacted badly to my suggesting that she might be adding to the problem in any way.  She seems continually angry/hurt at me over this now.


So I guess my question is:  at some point does a good husband need to just take his wife's side without reservations, even if he thinks she's not totally blameless?  To avoid offering less than 100% support?  Not just when she's emotional but for the long term?  You would think I'd know how to deal with this after twenty years of marriage, but at the end of the day I guess I'm still a clueless male.  I do want my wife to see me as no less loving in spite of my deconversion, and this situation doesn't help that.

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49 minutes ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Anyway, my wife has reacted badly to my suggesting that she might be adding to the problem in any way.

DUDE! :Doh:

 

50 minutes ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

at some point does a good husband need to just take his wife's side without reservations

AbsoDingDangLutely!  :58:

 

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1 hour ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

I don't often need relationship advice; my marriage has seemed strong in spite of my deconversion, but lately I've been at a bit of a loss.  I'm hoping some of the wise and experienced husbands and wives among us might be able to advise me here...


I've long known that a supportive husband (or just one who values his life!) doesn't offer criticism to his wife - even lovingly - when she's already upset.  But lately my wife has become angry even when I've expressed some criticism even after things have calmed down.


The background is that she's had problems with her younger sister.  They've clashed from time to time as sisters do, but now they're barely on speaking terms.  When my sister-in-law does talk to my wife, she seems to go out of her way to say things that will hurt my wife, but she does it in a passive-aggressive way, if you know what I mean.  Maybe she doesn't even realize she's doing it, but I can see why my wife gets upset.  She is convinced that her sister hates her now, in that passive-aggressive way.  At the same time, I can see that my wife has often come across as bossy to her younger sister.  My wife insists she's come a long way in improving her approach to her sister, but I still see this happen sometimes and I think it helps keep the shit stirred up.  I do think her sister is mostly to blame though.  Anyway, my wife has reacted badly to my suggesting that she might be adding to the problem in any way.  She seems continually angry/hurt at me over this now.


So I guess my question is:  at some point does a good husband need to just take his wife's side without reservations, even if he thinks she's not totally blameless?  To avoid offering less than 100% support?  Not just when she's emotional but for the long term?  You would think I'd know how to deal with this after twenty years of marriage, but at the end of the day I guess I'm still a clueless male.  I do want my wife to see me as no less loving in spite of my deconversion, and this situation doesn't help that.

 

Maybe if you just give her support without criticism then she wont feel like she has to be in defense mode around you. Which hopefully will allow her to relax, be more objective and discover for herself that she has been adding to the problem.

 

My wife has my back even when I do or say something kind of stupid. LoL. I think that's what she does for me: allows me to figure it out on my own. Put a positive supportive spin on what she does. It seems better than being angry/hurt all the time.

 

We all need someone in our corner , even when we're being an idiot. :)

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Yeah, I get the criticism, and it IS clueless male shit. Dammed if I haven't done the same thing. But of course I'm divorced now. So there you go. Let's just say that I'm trying to monitor my inclinations towards clueless male shit these days in the following relationship. You haven't failed yet, buddy. You can probably fix this thing up and move past it. I think the main thing is to remain conscious of the clueless male factors as they spring up into your mind and try and give it a minute and navigate with caution. 

 

 

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She doesn't want you to fix it and she doesn't want your opinion. She just wants you to listen. Just listen. Commiserate. If she asks for your opinion, turn that into a question about how she feels. Or ask her what she thinks would be the best course of action. (I've learned that when wifey asks for my opinion, what she really wants is for me to confirm the decision she has already made.)

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27 minutes ago, older said:

She doesn't want you to fix it and she doesn't want your opinion. She just wants you to listen. Just listen. Commiserate. If she asks for your opinion, turn that into a question about how she feels. Or ask her what she thinks would be the best course of action. (I've learned that when wifey asks for my opinion, what she really wants is for me to confirm the decision she has already made.)

Spoken as a single female who hasn't been married but even I know this: most women are just looking for you to listen (that doesn't mean saying hmmmm periodically while you tune out), and yes you should be in her corner even if she's not being objective or she will be defensive and this only serves to distract her further from being objective. She doesn't need to be arguing with two people at the same time over the same issue and if she's at all like me your opinion about her actions will not be valued at this time, because in reality she's asking for your support. So give it, and very likely if she's a thinking female, she'll figure things out on her own when she's had time. Also, just don't get involved in female spats. We're more than capable of sorting them out on our own lol. 

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I am wondering what has caused their way of relating to change? Sound like the sister-in-law has been the start of the change. I have come to the conclusion that when relatives undermine you, you have less contact with them.

 

It may well be that there is actually no way that your wife can say the right thing in this situation at the moment.

 

As for how you deal with your wife, when I learned counselling with a telephone counselling service about 30 years ago, we were told to reflect the feelings, hit the feelings, stay with the feeling. And that there were only five basic feelings. They were bad, mad, glad, sad and sexy. 

 

When you stick with the feelings, people will tell you that you really understood me. There is a cycle of exploring potential actions as well. But you always go back to “ and how would that action make you feel?”.

 

Hope that is helpful.

 

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Hey, TABA! ❤️ -hug-

 

Have you considered asking her which she'd prefer? You could just say something like, "Babe or [insert pet name here], in everything I've done so far, it's just been with the goal of being the most helpful I can be. I just want us to succeed as a team," or some personalized bullshit, I don't know how you speak to one another lol, and then just say, "Do you need my support most by "being on your side"? Are you feeling like I'm not on your side with the opinions I've shared? Just want to help and be there for you." In my opinion, this gently offers a supportive shoulder while not just shutting up or taking sides and also gives your wife the opportunity to acknowledge that she snapped at you unnecessarily.

 

I used to tell my husband that I wanted to be able to say he was blameless when his family was being a collective asshole. I told him that they were behaving like legitimate dick bags but that, after a while, it started to be difficult to say it was only them because of how he handled it. I feel like as long as your wife sees that, in offering your opinion, you are still "on her side" she might take it differently than she is currently. 

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15 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

 You haven't failed yet, buddy. You can probably fix this thing up and move past it. I think the main thing is to remain conscious of the clueless male factors as they spring up into your mind and try and give it a minute and navigate with caution. 

 

 

Problem is, when we're being clueless, we don't know that we're being clueless.  It's like being dead. 

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I appreciate everybody's feedback - thanks to you all!

 

Maybe because my wife and I do see eye-to-eye in so many ways, I think I lost sight of how differently her mind works in some respects.  I was bringing my Engineer mindset home from work, where it's great at troubleshooting stuff around the house, but not so good at dealing with the complex female mind.

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2 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Engineer mindset

Ah ha. There it is. 

 

A counselor once told me that a man's mind works like a railroad track — in a straight line — while a woman's mind works more like a bowl of spaghetti — complex connections that are not linear.

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1 hour ago, older said:

Ah ha. There it is. 

 

A counselor once told me that a man's mind works like a railroad track — in a straight line — while a woman's mind works more like a bowl of spaghetti — complex connections that are not linear.

 

Another thing I learned just a few years ago is that most men often are thinking about nothing, while women generally are always thinking about something.  I’ve asked quite a few male and female friends about this and the difference really is striking.  The men typically are incredulous that women are always thinking about something and the women are skeptical that we are not.  So no, ladies, we’re not always thinking about sex: sometimes we’re not thinking about anything at all. 

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1 hour ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

 

Another thing I learned just a few years ago is that most men often are thinking about nothing, while women generally are always thinking about something.  I’ve asked quite a few male and female friends about this and the difference really is striking.  The men typically are incredulous that women are always thinking about something and the women are skeptical that we are not.  So no, ladies, we’re not always thinking about sex: sometimes we’re not thinking about anything at all. 

I'm skeptical of this claim. I think it's more about the personality than the gender. 

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5 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

I appreciate everybody's feedback - thanks to you all!

 

Maybe because my wife and I do see eye-to-eye in so many ways, I think I lost sight of how differently her mind works in some respects.  I was bringing my Engineer mindset home from work, where it's great at troubleshooting stuff around the house, but not so good at dealing with the complex female mind.

It's really not that complex, it's just that your minds are focused on different things, yours on finding a solution for her most likely, and hers on exploring this issue by talking and having someone listen. As stated before she's just likely looking for a listener with empathy so she takes it the wrong way when you probe her actions. 

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7 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

So no, ladies, we’re not always thinking about sex: sometimes we’re not thinking about anything at all. 

 

Huh? What?   😉

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7 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

 

Another thing I learned just a few years ago is that most men often are thinking about nothing, while women generally are always thinking about something. 

This just really can't be. I can't believe that men are way more into meditation than women ;)  In all honesty, it's not that men are thinking about nothing, it's likely that they are thinking in different ways/focused on different things, even if both genders are thinking of the same issue.

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On 11/12/2018 at 2:04 PM, ThereAndBackAgain said:

 


  I do want my wife to see me as no less loving in spite of my deconversion, and this situation doesn't help that.

 

TABA, Here's what works for me and many, many other women that I talk to. When she is overwhelmed, hurt and upset, ask her this one question: ''What do you need from me right now and is there anything that I can do for you to help you feel better''. Most of the time we will tell you.  Do not try to fix the situation because we already know basically what we are going to do. We just need to vent and want you to listen. Give it a try and see what happens. Best to you hon. Big ((hug))

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It sounds like your heart is certainly in the right place. I personally don't have a problem with criticism as long as the message is delivered with kindness and personal attacks are avoided. Assuming you're already doing that,  this particular issue might just be too sensitive for her. Perhaps try just listening, validating her feelings, and paraphrasing what she describes to you as the issue (all elementary "therapeutic communication" techniques). If and when she asks you to weigh in, that's your cue that she is perhaps ready to hear whatever you have to say (positive or negative). Overall, it sounds like a small bump un the road that will (hopefully) smooth over quickly. Good luck.

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On 11/13/2018 at 11:49 AM, ThereAndBackAgain said:

 

Another thing I learned just a few years ago is that most men often are thinking about nothing, while women generally are always thinking about something.  I’ve asked quite a few male and female friends about this and the difference really is striking.  The men typically are incredulous that women are always thinking about something and the women are skeptical that we are not.  So no, ladies, we’re not always thinking about sex: sometimes we’re not thinking about anything at all. 

 

Yup, when my husband insisted he was thinking about nothing, I couldn’t believe it.  But, he is an honest man and I finally quit asking him unless he had a certain look on his face indicating he WAS thinking.

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We have actually had this problem more in the reverse.  My husband doesn’t try to fix my problems too often, but I used to get very angry and start ranting when he would tell me the problems he was having at work.  He would tell me what he was thinking during the issue and I would say, “Did you tell them that?  You should tell them!”  (I’m a very easygoing even-tempered person until someone I love is being hurt or treated unjustly - then all bets are off!).  He was very patient with my outbursts for a long time, then finally one day  angrily told me he couldn’t talk to me anymore.  I now have to bite my tongue and just listen when he vents about work if I want him to share with me.  Hard to do, but I do it because he needs to vent and I’m the only “safe” one he has to vent to.  

 

Relationships are hard - but SO worth it!

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I can only speak in the context of my experience with Mrs. E.

She tends to want to talk.  Not necessarily about a solution, but about the problem.  "I cannot advise you because..." is a perfectly good response, provided I listen and help her explore the issue.

In a similar circumstance I would tell her that I cannot advise on the issues that relate specifically to her blood relations, but I would ask questions as to why she thinks a particular thing.

Works for me.  May or may not work for you.

 

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On 11/13/2018 at 9:43 PM, Margee said:

TABA, Here's what works for me and many, many other women that I talk to. When she is overwhelmed, hurt and upset, ask her this one question: ''What do you need from me right now and is there anything that I can do for you to help you feel better''. Most of the time we will tell you.  Do not try to fix the situation because we already know basically what we are going to do. We just need to vent and want you to listen. Give it a try and see what happens. Best to you hon. Big ((hug))

 

Yessss!

 

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Yeah, criticism and advice may not be the way to go. Embrace her and tell her “You are going to have to sort this out. Let me know how I can support you as you do that.”

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