Author Topic: I can't keep up with her...  (Read 8170 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Teenyweeny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1664
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2011, 02:36:51 PM »
As far as open communication goes, it's important, but only within reason and hardly in all cases.

Here are some hypotheticals where it is almost certainly better not to say anything:
Does my wife really need to know I can't stand her mother because she's loud arrogant and pushy in her opinions?
Does my wife really need to know that I am attracted to her sister?
Does my wife really need to know that I think her education leaves a lot to be desired?

Because of the inaccuracy of reading I will point out twice that these are hypotheticals and are not the case here. But I am sure my point is pretty clear.

The problem is it's not always obvious to me when I should and should not say something. "Just ask your wife" is too simplistic and does not work when your upbringing and culture are very different. Just asking can in fact be quite offensive.

For example:
"Why did you gain 80 lbs in the last month?"
"Is your mother a member of the KKK?"
etc..

Well, if your wife has started to notice that you never interact with her mum, then you owe your wife a tactful explanation. "I find that your mum has very strong opinions, and you know how hot-headed I can be, so in the interests of keeping the peace I think it's better that we see each other in small doses."

If you think your wife's sister is hot, then you don't need to tell your wife that. But you should work on seeing your wife's family as your family, so that this won't be a problem to you. And if you don't find your wife as attractive as other women, then that's a sign you need to work on your marriage in lots of ways.

If you think your wife is poorly educated (as in, it bothers you and is something you think about), then you need to put a lot of work into your marriage because you don't respect your wife's other achievements and areas of expertise, otherwise this perceived 'lack' wouldn't bother you.

In your last two examples, it might help you, before asking, to think about *why* you want to know, and what you want to achieve.

So if your wife has gained a lot of weight in a short time, are you worried because you think it might indicate a medical problem? Then tell your wife, "Honey, I love you and I think you're gorgeous, but I have noticed you've gained a lot of weight recently, and I'm sure you have noticed it too. Of course, it's normal for weight to fluctuate a bit, but this is a big change over a short period of time. It would really make me feel better if you were to go to the doctor, because I'm worried about you."

You want to know if your MIL is a member of the KKK? Why? What would that change? Presumably you are asking because she's a racist jerk. Why would knowing that she's a member of a club for racist jerks be important at this point? You know who she is, or you wouldn't be asking that question.






Reason

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 774
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2011, 03:08:52 PM »

If you think your wife's sister is hot, then you don't need to tell your wife that. But you should work on seeing your wife's family as your family, so that this won't be a problem to you. And if you don't find your wife as attractive as other women, then that's a sign you need to work on your marriage in lots of ways.


So, essentially, we agree. There are many cases where it's better to say nothing. They are certainly actionable cases and someone more attracted to their wife's sister than their wife needs to do some serious introspection and find out how to rekindle the flame or give up on the relationship. But to actually say that to their wife would not be at all wise.

Not everything can just be talked out. Fortunately, in my case, there was nothing wrong with talking but as I did not feel confident of in that being true I see nothing wrong with checking my approach against multiple people. Thank you for your input though, it does provide an interesting perspective.

Teenyweeny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1664
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2011, 03:20:23 PM »

If you think your wife's sister is hot, then you don't need to tell your wife that. But you should work on seeing your wife's family as your family, so that this won't be a problem to you. And if you don't find your wife as attractive as other women, then that's a sign you need to work on your marriage in lots of ways.


So, essentially, we agree. There are many cases where it's better to say nothing. They are certainly actionable cases and someone more attracted to their wife's sister than their wife needs to do some serious introspection and find out how to rekindle the flame or give up on the relationship. But to actually say that to their wife would not be at all wise.

Not everything can just be talked out. Fortunately, in my case, there was nothing wrong with talking but as I did not feel confident of in that being true I see nothing wrong with checking my approach against multiple people. Thank you for your input though, it does provide an interesting perspective.

Actually, I think there are very few cases where it's better to say nothing to one's spouse. And I think that maybe you think that communication is a blunter tool than it really is.

So, if you find your wife's sister hot, of course you don't say, "Honey, your sister is super sexy."

But you can say, "Darling, I've been thinking...it's been a while since we had a date night. How about, from now on, we set up a regular date, once a month. I'll get a babysitter for the evening, and we'll go out for dinner, just you and me. I'd hate to ever take you for granted, and I feel like I've been doing that lately. Maybe we could even use a little weekend away."

Because, of course, the hot sister is a red herring. The real issue here is that you're not as into your wife as you once were. If you had that spark, her sister could be Grace Kelly, and you wouldn't notice. So talk to your wife about kindling that flame.

The point that I'm consistently making here is, before you open your mouth, have a think about the underlying problem, and talk about that. Most issues in marriages are symptoms, not causes. And after all, if someone has a broken leg, you don't just keep giving them painkillers. You get them to the hospital and get a cast! Why should the health of your marriage be any different?



Reason

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 774
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2011, 03:30:02 PM »
In that case, please try to put yourself in the shoes of a man that does not know the difference between "Honey, your sister is smoking hot!" and "Honey, it's been a while since we had a date night."

Is it still better to speak up or is it better to keep his mouth shut and try to figure out the problem before even approaching the wife?

Not everybody is a master wordsmith with a degree in psychology after all...

Teenyweeny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1664
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2011, 03:40:16 PM »
If the above post is meant sincerely,and you genuinely can't tell the difference between those two statements, then I strongly urge you to consider personal and/or marriage counselling in order to help you in your relationships.



Surianne

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10769
    • Prince ShimmerShine Moondream's Blogging Adventure
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2011, 03:45:12 PM »
Well, let's look at this case.  You want to know if your wife is enjoying her workouts or would prefer to work out differently.  That's not something that requires master wordsmithing -- you simply want to know her preference, yes?  It's not an offensive question in the slightest.  So just...ask?  I'm just not sure why this is even comparable to telling your wife her sister is hot, or asking her if her mother is in the KKK?

If the above post is meant sincerely,and you genuinely can't tell the difference between those two statements, then I strongly urge you to consider personal and/or marriage counselling in order to help you in your relationships.

I think that's wise advice.  If you're not just goofing around with the examples (hard to tell sometimes over the internet!) then I think you probably do need more help than we can offer.

rashea

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9658
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2011, 03:48:52 PM »
Reason, I think the point that people are trying to make, is that talking to her should always be on the list of possibilities when you're trying to solve a problem. Instead, it's been missing. If I were to write a list of options on how to solve something with my SO it would be something like (I'm trying to write all options):

1) tell him to change x
2) change y about me but don't tell him
3) combo of 1 and 2
4) present the problem and offer my suggestions for how to solve it and then get his
5) do nothing and live with it

From there, if I choose the option of talking to him about it in any way, (so 1, 3, and 4) I might come here to ask for advice on how to frame the discussion.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

Reason

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 774
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2011, 04:06:41 PM »
I am goofing around with examples if that wasn't clear. Very often however, it is far from obvious what will and what will not offend another person, even if you know them well.

The problem is, in the past when I just chose to talk to her about some (what I thought to be minor) issues she wound up in tears. After this happened 3 or 4 times, I decided there is something wrong with the manner in which I present a problem. Making my wife cry is a result that I very much want to avoid. Hence I ask for advice.

Talking is very often not on my list as a first action. Most because I am not very good at it. Even writing down how I feel I seem to have managed to anger a couple of people and I don't even know them.

Surianne

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10769
    • Prince ShimmerShine Moondream's Blogging Adventure
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2011, 04:16:05 PM »
I am goofing around with examples if that wasn't clear. Very often however, it is far from obvious what will and what will not offend another person, even if you know them well.

The problem is, in the past when I just chose to talk to her about some (what I thought to be minor) issues she wound up in tears. After this happened 3 or 4 times, I decided there is something wrong with the manner in which I present a problem. Making my wife cry is a result that I very much want to avoid. Hence I ask for advice.

Talking is very often not on my list as a first action. Most because I am not very good at it. Even writing down how I feel I seem to have managed to anger a couple of people and I don't even know them.

In that case I think counselling (just you, or both of you) might be the best bet for you.  It's a great first step that you recognize you have issues with communicating.  A counsellor should be able to help you look at your approach, do some role play of actual conversations, stuff like that.  On a messageboard unfortunately we don't hear tone or see facial expressions that might be part of the problem, and I think most of us (at least not me!) aren't trained for helping with something that extensive.

thlayly

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 64
  • I love animals, singing and reading!
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #39 on: December 12, 2011, 04:33:58 PM »
I'd just like to say that recognizing that communication is difficult is a wonderful step to take.

But I must agree with some previous posters; if "Talking is very often not on my list as a first action... (mostly) because I am not very good at it" it becomes less an etiquette concern and more a relationship concern. If these communication issues were between people in a less close relationship than husband and wife, I might view it differently.

I do think that without concrete examples- not hypotheticals but rather what was mentioned or discussed with your wife to cause such upset- I will continue to think this is more a communication issue.
"Zen 'ow can I if she mek me?"

Teenyweeny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1664
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2011, 06:22:12 PM »
Good communication takes practice, that's one thing I've learned. Also, that what you say is the smallest part of communication.

Firstly, communicate with yourself. Be really honest about your motives, and what you hope to achieve. This is the hardest part. Even if your motives are ugly, know them, and talk about them.

You also need to really really listen to your partner. Ask questions that show you understand. Try to re-word what they say to be sure you get it, "when you say X, do you mean Y?"

Finally, when you speak, try to be tactful, and mindful of the other person's feelings. However (and this is something I struggle with), be prepared for a negative reaction if the topic is difficult. Sometimes their reaction will be justified, sometimes it won't. As my SO said to me, 'don't hold back on me just because I get angry and defensive sometimes. I'm wrong to do that, and I shouldn't get to do whatever I want just because I'm a -bleep- sometimes. If I get angry, and you think I'm being a -bleep-, get angry back. I'll probably deserve it.'

Now, I don't mean shouting or name calling, or insults. But sometimes we get angry with each other (respectfully, but still, we're both pretty pissed off). One thing I had to learn is that *that's ok*. Anger is an emotion. It's ok to feel it and show it,as long as you fight fair.



Reason

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 774
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #41 on: December 13, 2011, 09:57:35 AM »
Thanks for the replies/advice.

I agree I need practice talking, at least in the culture I live in now. I have no issues back home. Practicing expressing myself without sounding abrasive is actually a large part of my motivation to join this forum.

I absolutely do not agree I need counseling. There is nothing so wrong with me that I can't re-adjust with a bit of polish.

I could say that for health reasons every man should have a six pack and be able to do at least 100 pushups/20 pull ups (this would be hard to argue with), but does it mean that every man should get a nutritionist and a personal trainer? More often, just knowing what one wants and working towards it is plenty...

Surianne

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10769
    • Prince ShimmerShine Moondream's Blogging Adventure
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #42 on: December 13, 2011, 10:01:36 AM »
Counselling was merely a suggestion that I intended to be helpful.  I am sorry if I offended you; I don't think of counselling as something people do when they have something wrong with them, so I was not implying that you did.

Petticoats

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3494
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #43 on: December 13, 2011, 10:41:00 AM »
Thanks for the replies/advice.

I agree I need practice talking, at least in the culture I live in now. I have no issues back home. Practicing expressing myself without sounding abrasive is actually a large part of my motivation to join this forum.

I absolutely do not agree I need counseling. There is nothing so wrong with me that I can't re-adjust with a bit of polish.
I could say that for health reasons every man should have a six pack and be able to do at least 100 pushups/20 pull ups (this would be hard to argue with), but does it mean that every man should get a nutritionist and a personal trainer? More often, just knowing what one wants and working towards it is plenty...

As someone who's in counseling, I don't like your assumption that seeking counseling means something is wrong with a person.

A lot of times, counseling is valuable--as PPs have pointed out--in improving *the very thing* you have expressed that you have difficulty with: communicating. Both with yourself and with others. Couples counseling, so I understand, is particularly valuable in this area.

Teenyweeny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1664
Re: I can't keep up with her...
« Reply #44 on: December 13, 2011, 11:23:25 AM »
I've been in counselling, precisely to get that 'polish'. There was nothing heinously wrong with me,I just needed a little help.