This One Exercise Could Radically Change Your Marriage, Part 2

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Yesterday, I shared this powerful testimony from a wife. If you missed it, make sure you go back and read it before reading my response.

Hi Elizabeth,

Your testimony is powerful.  Brilliant. Moving. Discerning. Persuasive.

Over the years, I have coached countless wives to make a positive list of qualities about their husbands. I gave this assignment to counter the overwhelming negativity toward their husbands. This exercise has radically changed their view of their husbands.    

As men, this is difficult for us to grasp.

Guys ask, “How can wives come up with so much bad information about us? Why do they dislike us so much? On the one hand, we don’t feel we deserve this amount of disrespect, and eventually we feel we can never be good enough in their eyes. Talk about entering a pitch black room! They tell us we aren’t the kind of loving men they crave – we aren’t romantic enough, making them laugh – and then they show us disrespect because of it.”

Generally speaking, men do not have this list of negatives, feeling overwhelmed by their wives’ shortcomings.

Yes, some men are like some women on this (I get the emails to prove this), but typically men focus on a couple areas (like appearance), but they do not judge so severely the character of their wives and create a list of 15 things (with subpoints) stemming back to 2001. Women predominantly write emails with these negative lists because of their strong orientation toward “feelings” (giving them total recall of past events), whereas most men compartmentalize and soon forget a lot of emotional stuff. These men have feelings, but not like the feelings wives report to me.   

Regardless of the gender differences, you capture well what many women would echo.

I have a growing concern about young women caught in this emotional nightmare, a nightmare of feelings so controlling that these gals intend to walk out on their husbands.

Did you know wives are leaving their marriages two to three times more often than husbands? My guess is the “progression” of feminism in America and the decay of moral values is to blame.

Divorce isn’t looked down upon like it has been in the past, neither is living together before marriage. So couples approach marriage and view the commitment all wrong, and society supports this.

Our society tells us we don’t “deserve” to be miserable; we “deserve” to be “happy.”  Do whatever makes you happy.

Women also tend to be swayed by emotions more than men and they now work full-time much more than in past generations. The wife is already somewhat financially able to leave the marriage before it even begins.

So I’m not really surprised that women are finally doing whatever they want in the arena of their marriage. We reap what we sow. America has been sowing some really sinful seeds and now we are reaping an even more sinful society.

Bottom line, your husband was not the man you wanted him to be or felt he could be. In your case, you fixated on what he failed to give to you (the negative list) because he failed, in your opinion, on a number of fronts. Until you compiled a new list of positive qualities, you headed into depression of sorts – hopeless and despairing. Thank the Lord these positive features you listed neutralized the negativity and launched a whole new positive attitude toward the good-willed man you married. Thank you for doing this.

As I continue evaluating this, I’m curious about the following questions:

- Have you read romance novels and/or watched “chick flicks?”

- I assume you were never in love with anyone else, correct?

- Did your husband do anything evil or habitually sinful that downgraded him in your eyes to such an extent that you lost all feelings for him and you wanted to leave?

If the answer to these are “No,” can you figure out why you entered this state of overwhelming negative, disrespectful feelings toward a man you now discern as a good-willed and good man?  

If you have a son, we need to figure this out because your future daughter-in-law could have the same struggle with your son and leave him. Heaven forbid.

I am campaigning to help good women like yourself step back and see what you recognized. You can assist me.

Thanks for helping me, Elizabeth!

As you read my response to Elizabeth and the questions I’ve asked her, how would you respond? Leave your responses in the comments below, because truly, your feedback helps us do what we do.

We are encouraged when we hear of marriages that are energized by love and respect!

With Love and Respect,

Dr. E