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Free Dog and Chrystal - working towards an OHM


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Hello all, my name is Eric and this is my first post. After reading some of the forums I should have put pen to paper long ago.

 

 

I have read J&K's books, watched the DVD's and read a book by Ken Nair. All very helpful and informative.

 

 

We have been on this journey now for six months and I praise God for the phoenix like rising of our marriage in that short time.

 

 

I came with a background of pornography, self doubt and just plain stubborn selfishness. I praise God for His faithfulness, that after twenty-eight years He still is there and working on me, turning my heart of stone into one of flesh. I am learning daily how to die to self, and yes it is not easy.

 

 

To make a long story short, I need help understanding and implementing the responder/initiator concept in our marriage. We have come along way but I find myself stumbling at being an initiator. So far it seems I have been RESPONDING to my wife's lead, I need to take the ball up and start initiating. Would appreciate any advice you all could give.

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I find myself stumbling at being an initiator. So far it seems I have been RESPONDING to my wife's lead, I need to take the ball up and start initiating.

 

must be in the name. ( sorry, couldn't resist - a little saracasm there )

 

My advice to you, is to just DO IT!

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Hi there,

 

Identify the areas where you have hurt your wife. if you are struggling, These are the areas where you being the initiator "positive, of healing" is very important.

 

For example, my husband is the spender I'm a saver. I always felt like I had to go without because he would spend our extra money. he initiates by not spending on himself, asking what things I would like and making sure that there is room for me to get them.

 

If you wife has taken care of everything at home initiate by making supper, cleaning doing laundry. this isn't a one time thing :)

 

Your wife has already explained how you hurt her. think of those conversations and what you can do to fix the hurt.

 

good luck

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Hi Eric, I'm glad you're here! (This is your wife :wink: --I know your wife's name isn't Crystal, but I guess I was feeling particularly fragile the day I named myself.)

 

I'm not sure if I understand the responder/initiator concept either. Maybe you could be more specific in your question. What is it I do that seems to you like I am the initiator and you the responder?

 

On the Thursday night conference call that I listened to, Joel explained that the problem in a lot of marriages ---like ours--- is that two responders are married to each other. (Like---two wives!) So, like, when I get upset with you, you feel sorry for yourself---"I'm being such a good boy, why is 'mommy' getting upset with me?" That's when you're being a responder. I think now that you're more aware of SELF PITY, you aren't as apt to respond like that, right?

 

In times past, I was the initiator when I pretended to be confident and happy. I ignored my "silly" feelings in deference to whatever you wanted to do. I believe that's one way I was the initiator before, but I'm not sure.

 

I don't think initiator necessarily means leader. (or does it?) But it does mean that you take responsibility for my feelings instead of me taking responsibility for yours. Helping me with housework when I want you out of the way is not being responsible. Helping me with housework when I do want help IS being responsible. Getting upset for not knowing the difference is being a responder.

 

Thanks for reading the forum and posting! The more specific you can be with your questions, the more help other posters can offer.

 

Have a great week, Eric! I'll see you Wednesday if not sooner! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

By the testimony it sounds like your wife was able to help you understand what her heart has been saying to you for a long time. Your wife is your marriage manual. If you are confused ask her to break it down so you understand. Sometimes men will suck it up and not communicate to their wives their confusion. If you get stuck don't try to figure it out on your own, simply ask your wife to explain so you can understand. You won't be less of a man. It would make her world if you do this then if you stay stuck which frustrates a wife to no end.

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  • 10 months later...

Woke up today and greeted Sue with a kiss and a hug. We had our coffee and whatever then went on our morning walk. Things went pretty well. i went to sharpen mower blades and Sue started tidying up the house for our fourth of July bonfire.

 

After lunch we shared a bowl of ice cream and then we went to attend to some shopping and other things. That is when things started downhill, slowly at first. i started to cave in as she started venting, when we arrived home and she was venting outside i really regressed and started in on defending and trying to fix it all up ... i was very immature. Not that this was the first time. i have read both books a couple times, read some Ken Naire a couple times watched the DVDs, read another book, but STILL can not seem to get it in my thick skull that Sue's venting is healing for her. i still get all caught up in the fight or flight of it all, it is so frustrating for Sue. She is trying to open up, start to let defenses down but El Jerko keeps going off the deep end.

 

We are scheduled for an intensive at Septembers end and it will not come too soon.

 

i know that i have no need to defend, i know that through Christ i can do all things. That Christ is working so i can be that safe place Sue needs. Wicked man that i am, i do what i do not want to do and do not do what i should, but thanks be to God that by Christ's ressurection He will supply the grace needed to over come self.

 

So what is it i am not getting here?

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Woke up today and greeted Sue with a kiss and a hug. We had our coffee and whatever then went on our morning walk. Things went pretty well. i went to sharpen mower blades and Sue started tidying up the house for our fourth of July bonfire.

 

After lunch we shared a bowl of ice cream and then we went to attend to some shopping and other things. That is when things started downhill, slowly at first. i started to cave in as she started venting, when we arrived home and she was venting outside i really regressed and started in on defending and trying to fix it all up ... i was very immature. Not that this was the first time. i have read both books a couple times, read some Ken Naire a couple times watched the DVDs, read another book, but STILL can not seem to get it in my thick skull that Sue's venting is healing for her. i still get all caught up in the fight or flight of it all, it is so frustrating for Sue. She is trying to open up, start to let defenses down but El Jerko keeps going off the deep end.

 

We are scheduled for an intensive at Septembers end and it will not come too soon.

 

i know that i have no need to defend, i know that through Christ i can do all things. That Christ is working so i can be that safe place Sue needs. Wicked man that i am, i do what i do not want to do and do not do what i should, but thanks be to God that by Christ's ressurection He will supply the grace needed to over come self.

 

So what is it i am not getting here?

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Woke up today and greeted Sue with a kiss and a hug. We had our coffee and whatever then went on our morning walk. Things went pretty well. i went to sharpen mower blades and Sue started tidying up the house for our fourth of July bonfire.

 

After lunch we shared a bowl of ice cream and then we went to attend to some shopping and other things. That is when things started downhill, slowly at first. i started to cave in as she started venting, when we arrived home and she was venting outside i really regressed and started in on defending and trying to fix it all up ... i was very immature. Not that this was the first time. i have read both books a couple times, read some Ken Naire a couple times watched the DVDs, read another book, but STILL can not seem to get it in my thick skull that Sue's venting is healing for her. i still get all caught up in the fight or flight of it all, it is so frustrating for Sue. She is trying to open up, start to let defenses down but El Jerko keeps going off the deep end.

 

We are scheduled for an intensive at Septembers end and it will not come too soon.

 

i know that i have no need to defend, i know that through Christ i can do all things. That Christ is working so i can be that safe place Sue needs. Wicked man that i am, i do what i do not want to do and do not do what i should, but thanks be to God that by Christ's ressurection He will supply the grace needed to over come self.

 

So what is it i am not getting here?

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Woke up today and greeted Sue with a kiss and a hug. We had our coffee and whatever then went on our morning walk. Things went pretty well. i went to sharpen mower blades and Sue started tidying up the house for our fourth of July bonfire.

 

After lunch we shared a bowl of ice cream and then we went to attend to some shopping and other things. That is when things started downhill, slowly at first. i started to cave in as she started venting, when we arrived home and she was venting outside i really regressed and started in on defending and trying to fix it all up ... i was very immature. Not that this was the first time. i have read both books a couple times, read some Ken Naire a couple times watched the DVDs, read another book, but STILL can not seem to get it in my thick skull that Sue's venting is healing for her. i still get all caught up in the fight or flight of it all, it is so frustrating for Sue. She is trying to open up, start to let defenses down but El Jerko keeps going off the deep end.

 

We are scheduled for an intensive at Septembers end and it will not come too soon.

 

i know that i have no need to defend, i know that through Christ i can do all things. That Christ is working so i can be that safe place Sue needs. Wicked man that i am, i do what i do not want to do and do not do what i should, but thanks be to God that by Christ's ressurection He will supply the grace needed to over come self.

 

So what is it i am not getting here?

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I hope somebody please responds to this guy besides me. I know he didn't say much to go on, but he needs some help.

 

This is my husband. This is his second post in a year. I brought him here, logged in for him, placed the computer on his lap and asked him to post. It seemed as if he hadn't even read most of the responses to his last post until yesterday, but I will see to it that he sees your response if you reply to him.

 

We are very minimal conflict type people, as you could probably guess. Post J&K books doesn't LOOK a whole lot different to outsiders than things looked before. Oftentimes it doesn't feel a whole lot different to me either. He feels like he is a hugely changed man, and I know he is.

 

I'm grateful that we both have a heart for serving Christ now and we have a whole lot more in common to talk about than we did before. Our marriage is much more intimate than it was before emotionally and physically. I have little to complain about.

 

However, it feels like we have been on the same plateau of life for ages. Two steps forward and two steps back. It's mostly husband performance oriented. He does well, he does badly, he does well, he does badly.

 

I've been trying to get him to understand the difference between loving connecting with me and loving me. He tries real hard to connect with me---if I'm "up" then he succeeds and he likes that. If I'm not "up" he fails and he internalizes and tries to fix himself.

 

Going back to what he was trying to tell you about yesterday.

 

We had a bonfire yesterday evening for our families. In the past our bonfires were so relaxed and fun and easy to prepare for because it was all my family----they are so easy to get along with, there's nothing to worry about. His mom has lived nearby for the past year, this is the first 4th of July bonfire of ours that she has come to. I stress out big time any time I anticipate her coming to my house. I always have---unless she changes, I always will. In our preparation for our bonfire I yelled undeservedly at my husband and his response was to go in the house and read his Bible to figure out what he did wrong.

 

How can I be such a horrible wife to criticize him for sitting down and talking to his Lord? :evil:

 

There is so much that he is not getting about this program. He feels like he has it down pretty well. We both feel like we'll go to the Intensive in September and we'll be told that Eric is doing just fine, it's his wife that has the problem. I dread the Intensive.

 

Please, somebody respond to this guy. I don't know what to tell him anymore. He's tryin. I'm getting tired of him trying and I go back and forth between feeling smothered and feeling neglected. I'd really almost rather him go back to full time neglecting, because it's easier for me. I'd know what to expect out of him. I'm afraid that the Intensive will only intensify this back and forth swing and make it even more unpleasant for me.

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Could someone please respond to this guy besides me. I know he didn't give a whole lot of information, but he needs some help.

 

This is my husband.

 

This is his second post in a year, so it's a big deal that he posted.

 

I'll explain a little more about the episode yesterday. We go through it constantly. Two steps forward, two steps back, we have been on this plateau for what seems like forever. I've been trying to explain to him recently the difference between loving to make an emotional connection with me and loving me. It makes no sense to him. For him it's the same thing. When I'm "up", he loves the connection and he constantly "works" for making that connection. It's tiring for me! When I'm not "up" he turns inward to try to figure out what he's doing wrong.

 

That's what happened yesterday. I love these family get-togethers, we do them several times a year. Used to be it was only my family and usually some friends, very low stress kind of preparation. This year his mom and brother live here and they were coming. I always stress out whenever his mom comes over. I always have and I probably always will unless her personality changes drastically and unexpectedly! Yesterday afternoon I stressed out and I yelled at my husband undeservedly. His response was to go in the house and read in his Bible to figure out what he had done wrong. How can I call myself a Christian and get angry about my husband reading his Bible? :evil:

 

I'd sometimes rather life to go back to the way it was before J&K. I was neglected all the time and I knew what to expect. Now it feels like I go between being smothered and being neglected. I dread the Intensive, because I feel like it will only intensify the swing back and forth. Both of us feel like we'll be told that Eric is doing a fine job and his wife is the problem. I've told Eric many times that I was a much nicer woman BEFORE J&K. It's true. Besides J&K, there have been other factors including menopause and his mother moving nearby.

 

So. Please someone respond to this man. He's a pretty good guy who tries his best and always has.

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Man! We're having a hard time posting and reposting and making a mess of things. Sorry. Can somebody clean up after us?? Only one of my three posts needs to be here. I thought I had lost the first one. Sorry!

 

Humbling!

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Damsel was right on with her comments. Read them again slowly and pensively. I would only add a couple of things that helped me.

 

One is get on a consistent diet of exposure to the principles. Read the books again and again on your own. Also, dedicate 20 minutes or so everyday (with a goal of 4 days absolute minimum every week) reading with your wife, letting her tell what really clicks with where she is at and what the means to your relationship. Ask for practical advice of how to implement that with her (need to do more of that myself). Get on the phone call with your wife at least once a week for at least an hour. If you have the dvds watch one hour once week with your wife. The constant input keeps the principles before you all the time.

 

The hardest thing for me to get from my head to my heart (therefore in my practice) is the concept of getting the focus off me and on to damsel. When she begins to "complain" about something my ego gets defensive. But, as I work to get the focus onto her and realize she is "venting" I find myself more often in a mental and emotional position to minister to her. When she 'starts in on me' my gut screams "It's not my fault, you don't understand". But, when I realize that she is not talking about fault (though she may even be using that word) it is really about her feelings (feelings of being valued or not, secure or not, cherished or not) that helps me to focus as well not on whose fault it is but how can I heal her feelings and make her feel valued, secure and cherished. Getting the focus off of me is the hardest yet, most rewarding principle in my efforts to build a better marriage with damsel. Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the posts. i appreciate your ideas of the LOVE analogy (forgot what that is called). Yes, it has been very difficult to get myself out of the way. Maybe it is sinking in, but if it is it is like rain water into a sink hole, drip by drip.

 

I know that to live Christ like is to die to self, i am a very self centered person and have found this to be difficult.

 

As crystal said our marriage is better than it was by a long shot, but going back is not an option either. I am hoping the intensive will help, but i feel i cannot get my hopes up.

 

I pray for Crystal that she be able to find a safe place, Lord knows she deserves one.

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Thanks for the posts. i appreciate your ideas of the LOVE analogy (forgot what that is called). Yes, it has been very difficult to get myself out of the way. Maybe it is sinking in, but if it is it is like rain water into a sink hole, drip by drip.

 

I know that to live Christ like is to die to self, i am a very self centered person and have found this to be difficult.

 

As crystal said our marriage is better than it was by a long shot, but going back is not an option either. I am hoping the intensive will help, but i feel i cannot get my hopes up.

 

I pray for Crystal that she be able to find a safe place, Lord knows she deserves one.

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Eric - thanks for jumping back on Eric, keep coming here, reading and applying what people are telling you. On the intensive, why not get your hopes up, don't you expect God to meet you there? If he is going to be there why not be hopeful?

 

Crystal - nobody is going to look at your situation at the intensive and put the problems back on you. They are going to look at your situation and say to Eric, "why aren't you laying down your life for your wife and loving her as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. Why aren't you listening to her heart and loving her in the manner that she needs?" You will be validated in your feelings and in your God-given desires for your marriage; and he will be challenged to pursue you in love and put to death the flesh that prevents him from laying down his life for you.

 

I know that September seems like a long way off, but if you both plug in here, continue to read the books and join in listening to the marriage mentoring calls leading up to it I am confident that you will both be blessed!

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Crystal, Keep thinking about your apprehension about going to the Intensive and being told that you are the problem. I keep feeling bad that you are worried about that. I keep remembering a list of questions Joel wrote on another string for a wife to think about in evaluating how her husband was doing:

 

How is he doing on the 20 hugs, smiles, kisses?

 

how is he doing on reading ten minutes a day? And you?

 

How are you two doing on watching the DVD set one hour per week?

 

How are you guys doing on getting on at least one call per week?

 

How is he doing on being a positive and loving force in the home in general, during the week?

 

 

 

Those are just the most basic things that would be expected from a husband before a wife would begin to respond. Not included in that list is also the matter of whether the husband is listening (per J&K's method) to his wife's heart (including venting) and healing her. Also the whole concept of the husband going first and being the initiator and the wife being the responder. Sounds like your husband is still responding to you.

 

Back to your apprehensions about being told that you are the problem at the Intensive, if your husband had this down, you would not be feeling like you do. If he had it down, he would not be up and down with you fearing that becoming worse after the Intensive. It seems to me that you will both benefit from the Intensive. You both seem to be willing to work on this and that is what it takes. Do you have your own string Crystal? I feel bad writing on your husbands. I wish the best for you. September is not that far away. Keep asking for help here and on the calls and you guys will find it. Damsel in Distress

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Thanks Damsel,

Yes, I have a thread under Couples. I haven't added anything to it recently. I might give it a try again. It's not easy.

 

Maybe I'll try starting with answering your questions on my own thread.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It has been awhile since I last wrote. Thanks GMS and damsel for your advice.

 

I do have a question that I will try to phrase. It involves moods and how to deal with them. We all have our "moods" now and again and they really are not a big deal, but...

 

I used to deal with Crystals' moods by running or becoming moody myself.

I tend now (maybe then too) to try to fix them (mainly for my benefit). The question becomes how to deal with them? I know the validate, apology ... i also know that when she is ready, and only when she is ready will we talk about it, if it needs to be talked about. How can I assure her that I am here for her with out taking off to the "Badlands" for the afternoon? My question probably wasn't worded well, but I hope someone can give some advice here.

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Good husband, Great marriage is a book we carry - he actually has a chapter on the badlands.

 

Basically this -

 

If your wife is in a mood, let her be in it.

 

"anything I can do for you?"

 

"You seem stressed, frustrated, sad. (whichever it is) Can I do anything to bless you or do you just need to be stressed, frustrated, sad for a while?"

 

Use your mind and heart - what can I do right now to be a blessing?

 

"would you like some coffee?"

 

Give her a hug.

 

Don't judge her. "why are you upset? I woke up feeling good and you look sad!"

 

Your job is to initiate positive words and actions of love - not to react to her.

 

When you react, you are being the wife.

 

I am bummed because she is bummed. That is being a wife.

 

If she is bummed, lift her up. Bless her. That is being a husband.

 

Most bad marriages have two wives.

 

Quit responding to your wife and initiate positive words and actions of love regardless of where she is emotionally at the moment.

 

Be a husband.

 

Men can go to the moon, build computers. We are amazing. The problem is that the average clueless husband turns his brain off at the door when he comes "home" to his wife. (wherever she is at the moment is home)

 

When he is with her, he is no longer that creative, powerful genius that he must be at work to create, thrive, build. Instead, he becomes a pile of mush who acts like a two year old.

 

Don't do that. Your BEST energies, creativity, energy, resourcefulness needs to be applied at home.

 

We guys aren't clueless because we don't have the ability. We can do ANYTHING we set our minds to do, including being great husbands!

 

We just have to put our brains in gear and DO IT.

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We own and enjoy "Good husband, Great marriage".

 

 

Eric's last post was written after a very bad weekend together. He's the one who put me in my "mood". He goes looking inside his own head how to fix my "mood", and that makes things worse. I had had a good week with my best girlfriend who came down for the week before that weekend, and I think I got spoiled by how easy it is to talk to a woman friend. Conversation is polite and respectful---we tenderly pass the discussion back and forth to eachother, like a teaparty. Talking with Eric, I realized is more like tackle football, I have to intercept and take the discussion away from him and keep the ball moving toward my goalposts. This past week I actually began using the taboo words "Shut up!" to Eric. I was forbidden as a child to speak so rudely. I don't think ever before in our marriage I have used "Shut up" as much as I have in the last week.

 

I have to brag that Eric didn't discourage my outbursts too much. He would start taking the conversation his direction and I told him to shut up so I could finish what I was saying, then when I would give him a chance to say what he was going to say we both noticed that what he was getting ready to say was WORTH knocking down, so I didn't feel bad about not letting him speak his mind.

 

This week we had a pretty fair weekend together. We always have at least one weekly date---we've been doing this since Eric began believing Joel and Kathy (about 19 months ago). I'm gradually slowly turning his world upside down. He has always assumed that as a man he's the one who drives and decides where we're going. As a woman, ha! I've always given in without complaint. He and I are working on the assumption now that I will be the one who drives and decides. Just for a time----long enough to break him of the silly idea that he's the decider. Kinda silly I guess, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. It's awkward for me---I constantly find myself making decisions based on HIS wants instead of my own, so it's a good exercise for ME too. Decisions need to be made together---not with the assumption that one or the other is in charge. I think it's really making him feel "wifey" maybe, and maybe that's why he keeps whimpin out on me. I don't know, but I'm really not being a dragon! Not a real dragon anyhow, just a woman who's been suppressed for a long time.

 

 

I was a dragon about a can of corn on this Saturday evening and he emotionally ran away again.

 

You know what---I called him "dum-dum" and he whimped out completely. The can of corn offence wasn't nearly as hurtful as his whimping out when I called him "dum-dum". The reason, I guess that I got so bent out of shape with dinner prep is precisely because he had been listening to me vent about OLD long ago hurts and those hurts were all brought to surface in my mind. He listened and sincerely apologized----that was very good, but then he couldn't hold up when I "clobbered" him with a current act of disrespect. He did something that I had asked him not to do. But he was caught up in being mister wonderful and he did something "for me" that I asked him to let me do myself. It was dumb and I couldn't believe he could go to his old ways of not hearing what I had said.

 

Great conversation came out of these past two weeks. We are beginning to distinguish between HIS own idea of Mr. Wonderful and MY idea of Mr. Wonderful. He gets so caught up in trying to be what he thinks is wonderful and what I say or feel or think doesn't matter.

 

This is not new stuff for us----if you read my threads, it's the same theme over and over every single week.

 

But overall, My Mr. Wonderful is growing larger than Eric's Mr. Wonderful and I hate to say it, cause every time I do things get worse instead of better, but our marriage looks/feels like a nice place to be. I'm going to keep most of my praise for Eric between him and me---cause I plain and simple don't trust Eric's Mr. Wonderful that he has in his own head.

 

HIS Mr. Wonderful is our enemy.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Mr Wonderful" is not an easy character to kill off, but he must be if Crystal is ever going to experience the freedom she needs to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever. It is not like I purposely start out he morning with the intent to "Mr Wonderfulize" her, but the jerk pops up at the most inopportune times!

 

My check list is most rediculous, why I still have it is anyones guess, my guess is that it still exists because I still have alot of pride to clean out of my heart. Not me, but rather Christ through the Holy Spirit.

 

My most recent regression came on our recent trip last weekend when I was really no better for crystal than I was one or two years ago. It gets so disconcerting for her that I'm sure she feels like no progress has been made.

 

I know it is pride because I tend to try to prove I am a good husband when people are around to impress, especially if "I" think they don't treat thier wifes good. For example, as we were hiking with the other family we met with I was walking with Crystal and her friend judging the other husband saying in my head "Why isn't he walking with his wife like me, he is ignoring her but I am not" (not exactly my words but so close one would not know the difference). Such foolishness and immaturity the only thing it does is inflate the head and then it falls because the weight is too much to hold up.

 

This then lead to critisizing our good friend up in Madison and our return trip was a total disaster with my head so big it wouldn't fit in the Car! It would be great if this were an iosolated occurence, but sadly Crystal has to put up with this quite regularly and it throws her out of whack.

 

When I analyze our good days one thing stands out, those days are good because Crystal is able to express herself freely because El Jerko is gone and I am able to listen to her and keep from falling when I stumble and this creates a zone of comfort and ease for Crystal.

 

Today I will list as a "good day"as Crystal was able to relax, not that I didn't stumble but I didn't "look to the list", praise God, but focused back onto her.

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Guess I am too impatient, Crystal knows all about that. So I will make another post, or would blog be a better word?

 

It has been over a year and a half since I started with the program, and yes things have gotten better, it just seems things have not progressed far at all.

 

I still crawl in a hole or spiral down the commode or worse yet, run away from mommy when she is venting. I am still caught up in feeling criticised each time she questions me. What Crystal has to put up with! I have read both books at least twice, watched the DVD's, read Alter's book and a Ken Nair book, and I ask, "Why is this not sinking in?" Is it my Czech. head that is so thick? :shock:

 

What Crystal tells me is she needs a strong place to come to, this is from her heart, I have heard it, how to do it? "Die to self", "Be humble", "Love as Christ loved the Church", excellent advice, but although I am 50 plus :oops: I am not very bright.

 

We are going to the intensive at September's end, at least I will Crystal may not want to travel with me who can blame her too.

 

I was going for whinny hear hoping someone would hear, but I don't like whinny, Crystal needs maturity, and as Paul said " I will press on to the end" (I cannot quote it so will paraphrase here) forgetting what has happened and press on to the mark, the mark be that "safe place" Crystal

needs.

 

I would say more, but the Bug House calleth.

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