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Got on the call tonight with Taz and Jane. We were not off the call for five minutes (actually not even off the call but were muted and had the phone set to the side), and we got into 3 or 4 fights!!

 

HD HAS to say what he has to say. If I am hurt, he will explain defend and argue about what he MEANT to say, how he did not MEAN to say THAT, and how I MIUNDERSTOOD him.

 

Someone stop the roller coaster, I want to get off...

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Steve - here is an excersise that I have found helps me quite a lot. Print this out and read it aloud to yourself, (perhaps daily) as a gently reminder....

 

Dio vi bendicta.....TP

 

Love Is the Greatest

 

If STEVE could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, Steve would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If Steve had the gift of prophecy, and if Steve understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if Steve had such faith that Steve could move mountains, but didn’t love others, Steve would be nothing. If Steve gave everything Steve has to the poor and even sacrificed his body, Steve could boast about it; but if Steve didn’t love others, Steve would have gained nothing.

 

Steve is patient and kind. Steve is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Steve does not demand his own way. Steve is not irritable, and Steve keeps no record of being wronged. Steve does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Steve never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

 

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now Steve's knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

 

When Steve was a child, Steve spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when Steve grew up, Steve put away childish things. Now Steve see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then Steve will see everything with perfect clarity.

 

All that Steve knows now is partial and incomplete, but then Steve will know everything completely, just as God now knows Steve completely.

 

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

 

1 Corinthians 13

 

New Living Translation (NLT)

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SO proud of Stephen. Our daughter and I went out to dinner with my sis-in-law and niece last night, and when we got home, he was ON THE CALL!! This is one of the first times (or first times in a LONG time) that he has been on the call without me asking him to. Thanks, Honey!

 

I got up and decided to go for a walk, and even though he was working from home, he said that he did not have any meeting and offered to go with me! We ran into a neighbor and visited with him and his granddaughter for a couple of minutes, then spent the rest of the time chatting and planning for our trip this weekend to take our daughter to college. It is going to be tough, emotional, but full of love and pride. She is a good kid and God has great things in store for her!

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(Saturday)

 

Things with Eeyore and I have been going well - we are both readying for our daughter's departure to college, and so we are leaning on each other for support a LOT! Yesterday, our son went to spend a couple of days with a couple of buddies, and won't be home until after we take our daughter to college - they had to say goodbye to each other, and it was REALLY emotional for both Eeyore and I. But, it is drawing us closer instead of putting something between us, which RARELY (if ever) has happening in our relationship - it is NICE and it is creating a deeper connection between us.

 

About a week ago, as Eeyore and I were dealing with our latest bump, LT posted the idea of asking myself the question, "Why is ML to your wife such a struggle for me?" I spent some time on the evening that Eeyore spent at her SIL's house making a list of "reasons" - I was honest with myself, more honest than ever before, and wrote down exactly what I thought and felt, without judgement and without any "filters". This was something that I did alone and with no intention of sharing with Eeyore, just me and God working through my struggles. At the end of the process, I had written 12 PAGES in a small notebook of "reasons"! And, as I read through them and prayed about the list, it became VERY, VERY CLEAR that they were all things that I could do something about - they were either blatant lies, irrational fears, immature thoughts, or perceived hurts. All things were COMPLETELY within MY CONTROL to deal with and take to God - reading them on paper made it MUCH easier to take to God and to ask for forgiveness about and repent of. The power of the thoughts, fears, and hurts were GONE, and God was able to step in a heal them, almost instantly! And, I was able to OWN the things that I could control or the things that I was "off-base" about - it was a very freeing and healing time for me, and it changed my view of myself in the area of LM...

 

Since then, Eeyore and I have been more intimate (physically and emotionally) and she has noticed the change - I did tell her about the 12 page list, but not about the content. She asked me one question - how much did her weight show up on the list? My answer - ONCE. She said that knowing that was the case was a HUGE relief for her, because she has been blaming herself for my lack of interest - I told her that my issues were much more selfish and self-focused and irrational, and was ALL stuff that was about my "stinkin' thinkin'" and not about her. It all AFFECTS her, so I didn't dismiss her fears or hurt in this area, but I did take a new level of ownership and dedication to FIXING this area of our lives, and I can tell that we are already reaping benefits from God's cleansing of my brain in this area.

 

For me, this was NOT a lengthy, drawn-out, introspective withdrawal from life and relationship - it was a quick evening of prayer and honesty without any self-blame or shame or guilt. It was freeing and forgiving and it was a time of God's presence with me through dealing with pain and hurts from decades of NOT looking at this area of my life. I praise Him for my change and for the cleansing and renewing of my mind and the freedom that He has given me within my relationship with Eeyore. In so many ways, He has changed me beyond what I ever thought was possible, and now, over three years into our marriage recovery, He has done ANOTHER miracle within me and my marriage.

 

God is Great.

Stephen

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I did tell her about the 12 page list, but not about the content. She asked me one question - how much did her weight show up on the list? My answer - ONCE.

 

Honey, you forgot one HUGE part of that day...

 

Yes, I asked you how many of those things were about my weight. But more than that, I asked how many of them were about ME... you said none (other than the one about my weight). I asked how many were about me being critical, a bad wife, ugly, etc. And NONE of those things were on your list.

 

These are the things that I hear in MY head when you don't ML with me... I am fat, ugly, mean, unlovable, too critical, too outspoken, not understanding enough, too old, you have seen me too many times in my "bad days" or at my "bad times", or our struggles just don't make me appealing any more, and on and on and on...

 

Hearing that my weight is not an issue is important, but the rest of this speaks to me more than you will EVER know.

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I'm proud of you for finally dealing with this, Stephen. Imagine, you look at the problem, take it to God, and He heals it. Who woulda thunk it? :roll:

 

I know this is an emotional time for both of you, and it's very cool to see you two drawing closer together instead of falling apart. I know that three years ago neither one of you ever thought you'd get here, and yet here you are . . . all because you just didn't quit, even when it seemed impossibly hard. The bumps are smaller now and the turn arounds are quicker, and I love the fact that most of the time you are in a very good place.

 

It has been awesome to watch your love story unfold . . . thanks for the front row seat! :D

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I posted this today, on another wife's thread, whose husband is struggling with arguing and defending...

 

Steve and I had a conversation/argument about this very thing last night... arguing and defending...

 

There were three specific instances that I had to point out to him about arguing and defending.

 

1) When you are in a conversation, and suddenly you argue or defend, that is NOT acceptable.

 

2) When your wife points out something to you, and you argue and defend, that is NOT acceptable.

 

3) When your wife says something to you (not pointing out a hurt or offense, but just a random comment), and you argue and defend, that is NOT acceptable.

 

Simple.

 

1) When a conversation is "going along just fine" (as my husband puts it), then suddenly turns "bad", it might just be because you (the husband) argued or defended.

 

2) When you DO hurt your wife, and she points it out to you, or you drive badly, or you step on her foot, or whatever, DON'T argue or defend.

 

3) And lastly, here is an example from the last one... I pointed out some RANDOM thing while Steve was driving, not about his driving, not something that he did wrong, not a criticism, just a comment, and guess what... he STILL argued and defended!!

 

A wife MUST feel safe to talk about the hurts, and if she can't make a comment about the weather or anything generic, she will NEVER feel safe enough to talk about the things that she MUST in order for healing to occur.

 

When I am not feeling constantly attacked by my husband (yes, arguing and defending feels like an attack, whether he "means it" or not), I can feel wonderful, and the love that I feel for him overflows my heart in a way that I cannot imagine when I do feel attacked. I WANT TO love him, be proud of him, show him off, be beautiful, kind, gentle, considerate, loving, adoring. But when I am feeling constantly attacked, I feel this horrible need to lash out, get away, argue back, and I feel hate, distrust, anger, resentment, bitterness, etc. All because he made one "simple" comment that brings me to my knees. And enough of these and I don't want to do this any more... and now, after 20 years, one of these and I want out. Not all of the time, but when there is a barrage of them, when it seems like that is all that I getting, I just want to run away as fast as I can. But when things are good, and they are rare, I can handle an occasional one, but I cannot stop and allow it to happen, because at this point of our marriage, one "permission" just leads to more. Yes, there is grace, but this is NOT something I want to encourage. So, but putting my foot down FIRMLY, I am stopping a lot of the "crazy making nonsense" in our marriage.

 

I realize that most of this was written to your husband, so please feel free to copy this to him if you want to. But I wanted to post this to you to encourage you to stay strong and don't allow the arguing and defending... point it out right away, and if you need to, walk away, drive away, whatever you need to do. I have left our house several times when Steve would not STOP... he HAD to make his point, and even though it was "killing me", he would not shut up. That is NOT acceptable.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nothing "cute" about it...

 

Came home last night and within 15 minutes I had abused my wife by not listening to her, defending and arguing, manipulating the conversation to try to explain my thinking, and generally being a selfish, self-centered jerk. Slept on the couch.

 

Wrote the following apology this morning:

Melissa,

I apologize for what happened last night - I acted in a very selfish and uncaring way, and completely disregarded your feelings. I acted how I wanted to act without caring how it made you feel and then decided that your pain and hurt were of such little value to me that I spent time trying to explain my reasons for treating you so badly.

 

Your feelings ARE important to me and I acted in a way last night that did not truly represent how I feel. There is no reason or excuse my behavior - I can only say that I see how selfish I was and how much I hurt you and also that I realize how unimportant I made you feel.

 

I am truly sorry and in the future I will work very hard to not treat you like that again.

 

As I lay down last night, God and I had a nice chat about what I did to Eeyore - my focus the entire conversation was on me, not her, and I made the choice to treat her without regard for her feelings. Then, once she was hurt, I just kept on rolling instead of stopping and apologizing and listening her. Once again, what I wanted was more important that what she needed. This is the underlying tune of our marriage, our entire relationship, and every time it happens, Eeyore's pain and hurt intensives.

 

Then, after telling her "I understand how much I hurt her..." and "blah, blah, blah", we had another stupid conversation about toilet paper where I interrupted her, didn't listen to her, and defended my actions, once again. I hate it when I get here, arguing about every &*#$^&@ thing we talk about, and I know that it's my fault. I want so much to NOT do something that it's all I do.

 

Eeyore, I am sorry for CONTINUING to fail you as a husband and as a source of life. I am not being your partner, I am being your enemy, at a time when you simply need a partner and a friend. You do not need or want more suffering, you want life and love and peace - I am sorry for not being that person right now. I will be, beginning now, and I will continue to work and grow into the husband you need and the man that God wants me to be. I do love you.

 

S

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Quick question for you . . . and again, for anyone listening, Stephen has learned to look at this stuff without getting stuck in his head . . . do you think it was the car situation that set you off? It seems awfully coincidental, although I realize it could have been the alignment of the planets, the phase of the moon, or the fact that you missed the light at 615 & 20 . . . :roll:

 

I'm asking because I know this comes on the heels of some other challenging stuff . . . stuff that you've handled well without reverting back to abusive behavior. But every camel's back has its straw, and I'm wondering if you were starting to get a bit agitated on your way home last night. Maybe that talk with God needed to happen while you were driving, so that you could have dealt with your (very legitimate) frustration before you took it out on your wife. Becoming aware of when this stuff starts can help you diffuse it before it explodes.

 

Then, of course, there's your unrelenting need to say your piece no matter what, but there's not much more to be said about that. You still need to find the . . . whatever it is . . . that will stop you when you get in that place. I hope that's something you're also discussing with God. We're all out of ideas.

 

I have no doubt you'll turn this around. Now I think it's time to focus more on preventative medicine. You need to stop this when it starts, not after you've once again made Eeyore feel like she's all alone.

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I'm theoretically shaking my head. Am feeling for you, Eeyore. I just heard the tail end of Stephen's call with Steve tonight, so don't know what the suggestions or lessons were that he was given.

 

You are certainly being clear. That's not the problem.

 

God help these two people, I pray. Let deliverance flow! In Jesus' Name!

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Saturday

 

Things here are still a struggle - I would say that we've hit quite a "speed bump", but it was pointed out to me yesterday that our marriage has progressed only to the point of SITTING in our convertible in neutral and not actually going anywhere. So, I have gotten the impression that the situation is a bit more like I keep stepping out to test the doors of our convertible in the driveway rather than actually taking a road trip somewhere.

 

It is hard to realize the illusion of progress that I have allowed myself to believe and contrast that with the reality of what my wife feels - to her, this is all the same, and that the emotional issues that we have always had are still as strong (or stronger) and that any growth on my part in pursuing a true connection with her is minimal, at best. It is the truth, this is something that she says whenever we hit this point, and it is time for me to face the simple fact that this is the truth of our marriage, as it stands right now. It is what it is, and it is time for me to accept it for the reality that it is, instead of trying to convince myself and others that it is anything more than reality - we have an emotionally disconnected relationship, and always have had.

 

That is not to say that I am happy with that, not by any stretch - I have allowed it to persist, out of denial or by twisting reality into something it's not, but I have allowed and accepted the lack of emotional connection as "OK". I am FINALLY starting to see, however, that dealing appropriately with my emotions will drive positive CHANGE, within me and within my marriage. The key is "dealing appropriately" - this is not something that I have ever done, and something that I am starting to finally get a grasp on (keyword: starting!). I am still an "emotional klutz" and I will be for a while, as I figure out what's effective for me to deal appropriately with my emotions - but, I am committed to learning how to be an emotional person, in balance, which is what I believe God wants for everyone - a healthy, balanced state of mind that creates a positive environment around them, focused on my wife and family. This is the definition of "source of life", I believe - it is hard to be a complete "source of life" when emotions cause the negative behaviors that drive wedges between Eeyore and I.

 

All of this to say - I am completely committed to becoming a complete source of life and strength for Eeyore. My biggest hurdle has always been my emotions and just not knowing what to do with them - for years, I have simply tried to ignore them and stuff them, and more recently I have been able to identify them, but I still haven't grown to the point of doing something positive with them. I am finally growing in that area, and I honestly do not want to go back to an unhealthy place of not dealing with them appropriately - I see and feel the difference of making choices to deal in a positive manner with my emotions and I know that I am growing through learning how to do that. I still have a long ways to go, but I will not stop.

 

I also am completely committed to using this emotional growth to help Eeyore heal from the hurts that she has - the ones that I have caused and those that do not have anything to do with me. So far, that hasn't happened - maybe some progress has been made, but not enough and certainly not consistently enough. I know that Eeyore feels "second place" right now and that nothing is really changing between us - I commit to making her mind change in that area, by having my primary goal be using my emotions to create that positive environment between her and I, every day. I love her and I want nothing more than for her to be happy and healed and to be able to completely be herself.

 

Hope that makes sense...

S

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This is a really hard place for both of you to be.

 

Eeyore wants you to share your emotions, but at the same time, reality is that some of them are going to hurt her. She's willing to take that chance, and you have to be willing to let her be hurt. I know that's hard, because the last thing you want to do is hurt her more. You also have to be willing to let her have her emotions without trying to fix them. Sometimes we girls just need to be mad for awhile. ;)

 

Remember when I was scrubbing your arm? We had to get that thing down to a raw, bloody mess before new skin could start to grow. Emotionally, that's kind of where you're at. It's gonna get messy before all of the old stuff is off and it starts to heal.

 

You're both doing some really hard work right now, and neither one of you is giving up. I am so proud of both of you - it's painful and messy, but you're sticking with it and you're doing your best to love each other through it. This is another one of those brick walls that will open up a whole new place for you once it's gone.

 

{{{Hugs}}}

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Last night, during our argument, you asked me several times what I wanted from you. Here is my best attempt to explain it to you.

 

When something gets stirred up in me... a couple of examples have been your competitiveness bringing up feelings of worthless, and your feeling for another woman's loss bringing up feelings of extreme hurt because your emotions seem stronger for this situation than any involving me... ever...

 

When I bring these up, you spend a lot of time explaining how it happened, why it happened, how it is really a good thing (yes, feeling your feelings for the first time IS a good thing, and I won't deny that!), etc. But even though WHAT you are saying is true, you are missing something that is SO basic.

 

Here is an analogy for you. When my feeling are stirred up, it is like Looney's analogy of a "ping pong ball shot into a box car"... maybe several of them! My feelings go hay-wire... stirred up probably what seems like way out of line for the situation.

 

And in both of these instances, your "solution" is to "not do it", which is NOT to "not do" what is hurting me (ie. caring for another woman more than me, or being so competitive that I feel worthless), your solution is to not attend the funeral (a fact, not an emotion, as I pointed out last night) and not play that game (another fact).

 

So, what I need from you is this... when that ping pong ball is flying all over the place, bouncing off the walls, and bouncing off you, I want you to sit in your easy chair and listen. I say "easy chair" because I need you to be a SOLID, FIRM place in all of the mayhem. So, sit there, be stable, be comfortable, and ride it out! Let the ball hit you, let it fly, don't try to fix it with "facts" or "solutions".

 

Most of all, I need you to OFFER love, support, empathy, sympathy, reassurance, kindness. Tell me that "of course you don't care for this other woman more than me". Apologize for "all the times when you were sad for me or scared for me but were too immature to show it".

 

See? Not so hard. Listen. Offer. Validate. Then maybe even Embrace. And don't do it any more. Yeah, Repent.

 

Sometimes the apology comes in a sentence. And sometimes it needs to come in hours of listening and offering and validating.

 

You apologize, then if I bring it up again, you are so quick to tell me that you already apologized. Well, my emotions don't care. They still need to come out. It is your choice how you handle that.

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You know what, I think that is the best possible analogy that you could use - very well put, and I understand what you need from me. I know that you do not want me to deny my feelings any longer, but in doing that, it is just as important for me not to deny YOUR emotions, which is what I am still doing. Choosing "good" actions based on my emotions, at your expense, is as bad as the choices I used to make with my "bad" actions.

 

Sorry, hon, for being such a jerk last night and for making your emotions something that we fought over, instead of healed from. You ARE more important me than anything or anybody else, and I want nothing more than to be there for you when you need me. Thank you for the awesome word picture - that will help me to move forward and to be your "solid place". I love you, and I want you and our live together.

 

S

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[sunday]

 

Things here suck right now. There are so many things that are wrong, and we are against the ropes, big time. Tired of all of the failures, tired of being the problem, and tired of struggling. And, that's just me - Eeyore is even more tired of all of this (and more) than I am, of course, and that's what's important.

 

Our finances are a complete disaster, due to my neglect, my horrible choices, my lack of involvement, my continual isolation, and my lack of faith. We are behind on basics and behind on our debts, and today, I sat down with our landlord to discuss the situation. There is only one answer here - me standing up and taking my proper role, and working with Eeyore to make some tough decisions. I am also planning to start working with someone to hold us accountable to our financial goals and to our budget - I need help and guidance and mentoring to make these changes and to make them stick. I am also looking for a part-time evening job, something to bring in some additional income for a time to dig out and start paying down the large amount of debt that we have.

 

My anxiety and stress over our future (relationship and financially) is very high, as I am sure Eeyore's is, too. She spent the night at her brother's last night, and we talked after my meeting with our landlord. The discouragement is overwhelming, for both of us, and I honestly don't think that either of us are sure or confident of our future (although that statement is me putting words into her mouth, rather than anything that she has specifically said to me).

 

S

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I just got home after being gone since yesterday morning. HD gave me a couple of compliments, and apparently since I did not respond the way he wanted, he decided so share with me how HIS stress is high and HIS anxiety is high and how tired he is and how he wants to just go to bed, after he feeds the horses.

 

I don't want to hear about HIS emotions. But guess what?! Once again, he throws in my face "what I want from him". He said, "Well, I am just trying to give what you want. You are always saying that you want me to share what I am feeling, the good and the bad". No, that is NOT what I am asking of him. I am asking him to be by my side, share LIFE with me, good or bad. And yes, this does include sharing emotions. But it does NOT include betraying me, then telling me how bad he has it.

 

This is the betrayal... I told him that HE needs to take ownership of all of the times that he just stuck his head in the sand, especially in regards to our finances (although it has been in regards to everything in our life!). He agreed, admitted it, etc, etc... then when I told him that he needed to talk to our landlord and his dad (landlord because we are not able to pay our rent/mortgage payment this month, and his dad, in case he is able to help us, as he has in the past). I told him that he needs to admit that he messed up, humble himself, and own it. Again, he was all in agreement, until we talked about talking to REAL PEOPLE, then suddenly he was NOT going to do that!

 

Well, what is ownership? Just owning it to me? What good does that do? Especially in this situation... when others NEED to be involved.

 

I left for work and did not come back last night. I am back in body but my mind and heart are so not here...

 

And he suddenly wants to share his emotions with me. And I don't even care. I feel like I have been stabbed in the back, and now he is twisting the knife.

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When I walked in the door Sunday night to return the car Eeyore so graciously let me use, she told me that she was home, but didn't want to be, and there was no way she was sleeping with Stephen that night.

 

Then we all started talking about what was going on. We reminded Stephen of some basic J&K 101 principles, like the difference between sharing and dumping. It was cool to watch and feel his attitude turn around - that usually happens pretty quickly these days, and the difference is like someone flipping on a light in a pitch black room, instant and obvious.

 

It's also very cool to see how Eeyore opens right back up . . . she is an amazing helpmeet.

 

They ended up going to bed together. :)

 

(pssst . . . Stephen . . . you promised you'd post . . .)

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LT - thanks for the reminder!

 

It was definitely a great conversation and I agree that I could feel the "light turning on" and the revelation settling in...

 

I think that the best part of the conversation was the analogy that Eeyore came up with that really spoke to me - the main problem that we ran into when Eeyore came home on Sunday was that I had a conversation in my head (based on what I was feeling, and where I knew that I was "weak", over-tired, over-stressed, etc.), and then shared the CONCLUSION of my conversation (the actions I had decided to take based on where I was). I was thinking that this was "sharing my emotions" because I spent the time thinking about where I was and what the likely impact would be on Eeyore (I tend to do emotionally clutzy things when I am over-tired and over-stressed), but Eeyore and Looney pointed out that I was sharing my "final decision" and that's not truly sharing and being "in the relationship"...

 

Eeyore's analogy was that of an Algebra problem - we all remember that we could not get away with simply blurting out an answer, or writing down "x=47"; our teachers REQUIRED that we SHOW OUR WORK, so that they knew we understood what we were doing. They needed us to SHARE THE PROCESS of reaching the answer, and that's what Eeyore needs from me - THAT is the relationship, THAT is the emotional sharing, THAT is the WAY to happy. And, THAT is what I want!

 

Stephen

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