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Posted by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 9:02 AM
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(Ok, this is totally long, but I hope someone will be able to get through it)

Again, my DH last night told me that he doesn't understand how to continue to work out our differences. Mind you, I didn't think there was ANYTHING wrong right now. The discussion was not in the heat of any moment.

I guess it started with a party on Saturday. We were at this party from 2pm, and at about 10, I said I was ready to go home whenever he was ready. He wasn't, and he thought I should go take a nap if I was tired. Earlier in the day,  I was sitting chatting with some ladies, as DH was playing drinking games. He does not drink much at all, and this game actually looked like fun. I drink less than he does, because I have a history of not being able to stop once I start...better to stay away. But this party was a big drinking party, so yeah, I might have looked like I wasn't having fun, but I was kids, beautiful day, friends...what more could you ask for? And so around 10, people were getting stupid, and I didn't need to be there anymore. (um...we're 32 and last keg stand was over 10 years ago!!) DH wanted to stay, so I tried to get out of the uncomfortable (for me) atmosphere, and lay low. He claims that this is when he started thinking "Why did we come together? Should we have to drive separately? etc." Yeah, I was upset, because this is the first time in a long time I've gone to something with these friends, as I usually stay home with the kids when DH goes out with these friends. I had had enough, and I was hoping to go home now. I felt he was disrespecting my feelings. I had already gone with him to this party. I felt that we had a pretty good compromise going here. (BTW, the whole me not drinking thing...DH TOTALLY agrees with me that I should rarely drink, so he was in no way pissed that I was not drinking, except for the fact that the "drinking Emily" is more fun and social than the "not-drinking Emily") But DH felt that I was disrespecting his feelings too. (and understandably, as we both had different needs) I don't know how to strike a happy medium.

So fast forward to last night. We had gone to a BBQ put on by our church group (no one was drinking) and it was pretty chaotic trying to please our kids and make sure that everything was going smoothly (lots of people!!). We don't really know many people in our church, so it's pretty uncomfortable, especially for me, but we keep trying. So we were stressed. Last night, in bed, my DH says that he needs help with something. Basically US!! He's frustrated that we recharge differently. I need my quiet time, and he needs his busy time. That's how we recharge. But he is not comfortable having different ways to recharge. I told him I thought it was ok to recharge differently, as long as each person knew and accepted that that was the way that the other recharges.  He keeps talking about "is this as good as it gets? Is this what marriage is all about? Are we living the "dream?" etc" So he's obviously unhappy.

Now, one thing that I was kind of upset about is the fact that although he understands my need for quiet time to recharge, he has just cut my sleep down from a possible 6 hours to a 2 hour chunk and another 30 minute chunk. I did thank him for sharing, and that I was glad he was able to talk about this when we weren't fighting. I didn't bring up the fact that I was tired and I have a flippin' funeral to go to today. (which has been causing me tremendous stress for the past 2 1/2 weeks...someone on my caseload was actively dying, which I'm SURE put strain on my ability to validate,etc him)

Then he starts to talk about the 5 Love Languages again, and it's back to his need for affirmation. He says that I affirm, but he needs more validation. He doesn't want me just to thank him, he wants me to describe how his actions have made my/our family's life better. He actually used these examples:
- changing the furnace filter (I told him that I have changed the furnace filter, how would he affirm that? He said, "I would say, "my allergies have been bothering me when I'm outside, but when I come inside, they get better. Changing the furnace filter really helps!"") Does that really come out of anyone's mouth?
- putting salt in the water softener (it didn't run out, so I don't even notice that it's been done.)
- cleaning the hair out of the tub drain (he suggested saying, "It's so nice to not have to step in 2 inches of water when taking a shower")
- fixing the clothes washer (I did affirm him and validate him on this one)
- fixing the hot water heater (I didn't even know it was broken, I thought the hot water was simply low)

So I am totally confused as to how to help him/us. He actually asked if I felt that he affirms me, and I told him that in a way he does, but I appreciate actions helping out with the house's daily routine. (dishes, kids, meals, etc)

This is what I think the real problem is...he actually said that he feels that if something happened to him, nothing would change in the house. He says that he feels useless. That has got to be an awful feeling. I don't know how to help. He says I have a routine down. Well, in my mind, I figure things won't get done if I don't do them. And I leave little things out and around to see if they get done, and they don't. If something needs to be done, I tend to it, because it simply needs to be done. I could count on one hand the number of times he's done __________ (fill in the blank).  I have attempted to ask him for help, but I feel rejected, as he may roll his eyes, or give some excuse. For weeks, he was simply going to bed at about 6pm for a nap. That is the hardest time...meals, baths, bed. So maybe I should start nagging? I don't know. I like to avoid conflict. I ask my mom for more help than I ask my DH because I don't have to live with my mom being pissy. (and she's not pissy about it, she just helps where she can)  I'd like for him to feel needed, wanted, loved, affirmed, validated, etc. But I'm at a loss.

One thing I brought up was the fact that my best friend is in the same situation (but no kids). She is like my DH, her DH is like me. I explained to my DH some ideas I've given her (like she could ask him to show her how he takes pictures while out on a slow stroll...she usually kicks butt on her walks, he usually strolls. It bugs the heck out of her, not out of him). But I can't think of anything for us, probably b/c I'm in the middle of it all. I actually thought that staying for *most* of the party would have been sufficient to fufill his need for activity and my need to get the heck outta there. (guess not)

I will try to remember to look up that book by Dr. Egg-something (that's how I'm going to have to remember it at the bookstore), as it looks like it may address some of my concerns.

Oh, DH actually said, "if you have to have quiet time to recharge, you should be able to do it here (at our house rather than at a party). I could take the kids to the park or something." I told him that I agreed, and it would be wonderful for him to take the kids to the park. But he told me that he needed me to tell him when to do that. I'll try it when I get a chance. The only time we're home as a family all day is on Sunday, and it's Up, Eat, Church, Eat, Nap, Activity, Dinner, Activity, Bed. Not much room for him to help me out.

Any ideas/suggestions/etc?
by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 9:02 AM
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by Group Owner on Jun. 20, 2007 at 10:55 AM

I may have to respond more later...but I did read the whole thing :)

The one thing I do have to say is this...even though it may be frustrating, at least he's communicating to you in a healthy way, he didn't do it passive aggressively, he didn't wait til he was mad and burst out about stuff.  So you did lack some sleep, but for a man, it was great for him to be able to try to communicate with you...he just could've chose a better time for your sake.

And Emily, I have to say you made me laugh when you listed the examples he gave for the need for affirmation...too funny (though probably not funny to you), but I can relate, I just don't always notice stuff, like I have time with the kids, etc.

Maybe you guys can come up with a list, something on paper to get started.
You would each write:
Things I can do to get recharged...
How my spouse can help me with these things...

My Love Language and what I think it means for me...
How my spouse can show me love with my love language...

And that other book, Love and Respect, is really good too...the one by Dr!  I think since your husband's love language is affirmation, this book would apply to him even more because I think the need for affirmation goes hand in hand with a need for respect.

Don't know if any of that helps, :)


by Member on Jun. 20, 2007 at 2:00 PM
Wow, thanks so much!! I will have to send those suggestions to my email. Yes, respect is a big one. He came from a rough home, and I understand that he needs to feel respected. I just wish he didn't think that my failure to validate or respect was on purpose. He said that he didn't want counselling b/c he says that we have skills that we don't use, and why pay someone to give us more skills that we don't use. Now, he's not talking about giving up. It's just frank and honest discussion. Yes, I am very grateful that we had that discussion. I just needed the "Large Coke" rather than the medium!! :-)
Yeah, the examples were funny to me too. I was able to not get emotional, which allows me to really focus on what is being said and to think about how we can work this out. But when he was telling me those, I was seriously thinking, "really? How many kids do I have to raise?" And that type of negative thought kept creeping in my head, which is not productive. So I did keep saying to myself (well, guess not to myself...), "God, please help me grow from this experience and apply the things I've learned to help this situation." Or something similar, but probably the wee hours of the morning!!
Anything else you think of is definately appreciated!! I am so grateful for such a positive board!!
by Group Owner on Jun. 20, 2007 at 2:06 PM
Well just to make you feel better.  When I try to explain to my husband about my love language (physical touch), sometimes he is like 'what?' and 'really?'...I get it because I'm the one needing it, but he will say stuff like "I just don't get it"...kind of like how you feel when your hubby tells you some of the stuff.

Even when I try to explain it, to me some of the stuff I say doesn't make total sense, but I know in my heart that what I'm saying will make me feel more!   So, the good thing is your hubby is in touch with himself and understands himself on a deeper level, that's guys can really build on that.  I think this trait comes way more natural for women.
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