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Free Dog and Chrystal - working towards an OHM


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FreeDog,

 

I think you answered your own question...

 

but rather how what I do affects Crystal, focusing on how she feels...

 

Yes, this is it! Ask yourself how she feels about what you are doing, or ask her! Then repeat it back, hopefully in the form of an apology. Yes, a L.O.V.E.R. apology...

 

Ask yourself how you would feel if someone else was treating your wife the way that you are!!

 

I think so many guys do well, then run away from doing well when it starts to "feel uncomfortable". Well, that uncomfortable feeling is just a glimpse of what your wife is feeling. God allows you to feel that yucky feeling so you WANT to STOP it! Not so you can continue it.

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I would ask myself the following questions...

 

Who am I? What am I - what is it that defines me as a person?

 

If we truly believe we are a Christian. Someone washed clean through the Blood of our Savior, then is it really so difficult to act like a Christian. By virtue of His sacrifice, we are to always put others above ourselves. We are never bound by our past, we are always looking at the future.

 

When we are being selfish. we are not walking in Faith. We are not appreciating the gift our Father gave us in Salvation. As Christians, we know our ultimate reward lies in Heaven.

 

See, you get to make a choice. God gives us guidelines through His Word on how we can live our lives to obtain true peace and contentment. Or we can ignore His love and walk in darkness. If you want to define yourself as a Christian, you wake up each day, asking the Lord "What can I do to glorify you today?" We know the Word says Christianity starts in the home. So if you start each day with that thought included in your prayers, it becomes natural to serve your wife as the servant leader you are called to be.

 

Be bold - God says we can. Ask the Lord every day to challenge you. Ask Him to throw it at you, because by Faith, you know you can do everything through Christ who gives you the strength. Thats a pretty powerful statement. When we think of this enormous entity that created the heavens and the earth - can you imagine the power, and through His Son, He has given you the power to do EVERYTHING. Thats pretty awesome.

 

So understand the power you have, when you harness it for the Glory of God. Nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible. You are not selfish. You can love your Wife. You can bring healing, love and Glory to God through you....you are a King - through the Blood of Christ you savior.

 

Harness that power God has given you.

 

 

TP

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The problem, FD, is that you are wanting this to just happen. You want to wake up one day and just naturally put Crystal first, without having to struggle or even think about it.

 

That does happen eventually, but not before you put in the hard work of making good decisions in the moment, fighting your flesh, and actively choosing to put her needs above your desires. And that seems to be the thing you're not willing to do.

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Yes, I don't disagree with you Looney, that is well said. With what MJ said it comes down to relationship with Christ, am i really walking in faith? Does not seem like it or it would be easy to walk in kindness. There really isn't a lot to say until I actually put into practice what I know and then make the mistakes to have corrected, Not easy sitting on the fence, going to have to fall on one side or the other, and the path of least resistance is the wrong side.

 

OK, for someone that is relationship poor, what does a "real" relationship with Christ look like? I am an excellent deceiver and probably have conned myself into thinking my relationship with Christ is good. The fruit of it is rotten though.

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OK, for someone that is relationship poor, what does a "real" relationship with Christ look like? I am an excellent deceiver and probably have conned myself into thinking my relationship with Christ is good. The fruit of it is rotten though.

 

When you have a business relationship, you do three things: 1. You propose 2. You listen 3. You do whatever it takes to make the client happy

 

Most people don't get that God is talking to us... and we have to listen and do... we have all kinds of wrong thinking about how God 'talks' to us...

He talks in His 'still small voice' in our conscience.. He talks through our spouses and friends.. He talks through His Word.. He talks through nature...

 

But if we are NOT listening, then we won't hear...

 

If you go to a customer and you don't do steps 2 or 3, then the customer goes away... that's pretty easy to figure out...

 

If we go to God with our agenda, our needs, our thoughts and we 'pray' without taking the time to listen or do, well then we think we have prayed and we wonder why God doesn't answer... He seems to go away.. He doesn't really go away, because He has promised us He will never leave us or forsake us... The Bible tells us that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.. His ways are higher than our ways... so the first step in relationship is admitting that we are lower than God, that we need Him and thaat we are willing to listen to whatever He shows us and then go do that. Everytime you do THAT, you are putting another block in the house called relationship... and it's a brick house that the Big Bad Wolf can't blow down!

Edited by 4evrHZdtr3
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Thanks for responding so quickly,I really didn't know what to expect in terms of answers, but your advice, 4evr, is really practicle. Yes, I tend to go to God in prayer with my agenda and can't say I listen very well. He knows my needs before I come to Him, and knows what I need at that time...so my agenda is just hogwash, and arrogant.

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I'm building walls tonight by not listening. I asked Crystal what was the need she had that I was not meeting and she said "It feels like you can't follow a conversation." I said "Oh, i can follow, it isn't hard, what need do you have that I am not meeting?" She said "It feels like you can"t follow a conversation." Oh, that's the need, yes my walls were up and it took a bit to sink in. The earlier she wanted me to read HD's recent post on BH's thread and post. Since I had just figured out her need I wanted to stay in conversation and said I would post in the morning. Oh...another need she spoke of. So now for the post...

 

After reading HD's post I realize that yeah, self-pity (he calls it self-abuse), as a very passive guy I abuse Crystal with my poor me routine to keep her from sharing feelings and to have her pick me up and carry her. Tried using it again tonight, I think I was able to catch it, pretty sure Crystal was waving red flags in front of me though. problem I have that keeps occuring is that when she says something like "I feel you going stupid" that I find myself sliding down a slippery slope, not being able to climb out. She used to throw me lines, thankfully she doesn't anymore. But I don't seem to be able to make the connection to come back to her right away, it takes a bit, sometimes less time some times more. Like tonight, it has actually seems to have helped posting here, that I said anything coherant or not is another story.

 

I had an incident at work this week show me the depths of my rebellion and how it has hurt my wife. I flaunt rules and authority. God showed me how I flaunt His authority and relay on my flesh, Jer. 17:5-6 calls it independant man or flesh-man. It hurts Crystal because on one hand it rejects relationship with anyone but me, it also puts my employment at risk which is detrimental to her well-being and my families well being. I never really realized it, but it is very childish and definately not thinking of Crystal.

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Crystal, I apologize for putting you and my family at risk and not thinking how my actions have negatively affected you all this time. How you are abused with my mother/son in wanting you to carry me. This is has been apattern for years, I don't deserve you, but I thank God you are still here, it is only by His grace you are.

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Just finished reading HD's newest post on BH's thread and all I can say is, "Wow, you put the answer very simply". The passive guy cycle BH laid out more or less mimics mine. So by writting out the cycle in a circle I can see some things to try with out even studying it, making it circular does help make the picture clearer.

 

How often do I absorb the feelings and end up in seif-pity, that is the trip down the slope that i find hard to stop. Amazing, Crystal pointed out that my "discussing" the post with her after supper was really my futile attempt to gain her approval. I can see what she means and I know the feeling at the time, now to break that is to impliment what I know and that is break that childishness, it really is blatant. A lot of what I do is to seek Crystal's approval and it really wears on her.

Edited by FreeDog
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Yo, Dog - just checking in real quick to thank you for the positive feedback. I am glad that it is helping - it wasn't that long ago that I really couldn't put into words how God helped me change, but He is starting to help me figure out how to explain it...

 

Mother-son is so prevalent and so pervasive - what's important is that TRUST and BELIEVE our wife when they point it out to us. Don't resist, don't defend, and don't seek her approval to make yourself feel better - remember that WE are the source, not our wife.

 

Stephen/HD

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HD, I, and a lot of others no doubt, appreciate your advice and are glad for the insight, you do have a way with words, thanks for the encouragement.

Last night it was very evident that I have caused deep hurt in Crystal with my years of self-gratification. After we went to bed I got up and looked for a pair of ankle socks to put on, I thought they were in my drawer but they weren't. As I was rummaging I crinkled some paper, and then went to the kitchen to get some Tylenol and I spent sometime eating a few nuts before returning to bed. When I got back to bed I didn't realize Crystal was awake, she said "Do you feel satisfied now?' (the crinkling paper reminded her of pictures). In stead of hearing her, and realizing that I just hit on that hurt of self-gratifying by getting up and not coming right back, what I did instead was to start into defending mode. She wouldn't go there, thankfully, so we just dropped it and went to sleep. Before i went to sleep it dawned on me that my actions hit that wound, she had reason to feel the way she did and it was for me to own that feeling and reassure her, not abuse her by getting andry at her for not trusting me, I give her no reason to trust me at this point.

 

This morning before leaving for work I was looking for her to "pick me up" because I was "just as innocent as I could be". Thankfully she shut it down, praise God for the strength He has given her to do that now, remembering your words, HD that it is THIS moment that counts, not the past nor the future, I was able to see that my actions were childish and self-centered and the turn around was fairly quick, and that only because of Crystal's help.

 

It has taken way too long to realize that I really do seek appreciation/approval from Crystal, not so much others anymore, and then recognize it when it is occuring. It has roots in self-pity, which is not humility like we want to think, but very much rooted in pride.

 

So that is the story so far. Crystal is THE most wonderful gift, I really don't deserve her, but thank God that He gives her grace.

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Something that Crystal is abused with often is when I use my "Hearing disability" to have her carry me. In gatherings and small groups if she is around I will play stupid and say I can't hear,so she will take care of me, even in restaurants with waiters and with cashiers. This is a deceptive manipulative thing for the truth is when on my own I can hear, at least enough, to do the things I need to. Crystal has been so abused with this that it has taken her a bit to back off and wait, she is quick to answer the tellers questions because "I can't hear". She is doing better and backing off.

 

We were going to a Bible study together at our pastors house and I see looking back that yes Crystal was right, I did lean on her. Now, for various reasons, I have been going alone and telling her what happened, being conscious of her and things she would be interested in. It has been a good exercise. Problem comes when I let my pride have a toe hold, I think "I did good", then it's foot comes in the door. I know one thing for certain that sin/pride is definately sitting outside my door waitng to devour! That is why I need to stay in the house of relationship.

 

I appreciated Crystal's attitude this morning. I had worked a double yesterday and was slleping soundly. She turned the light on and it was 6:05, time to be LEAVING for work, not getting up for work,lol. Yes she did help, but really the attitude was if you were single you would have to deal with the consequences. She is very awesome!

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Freedog - just a quick question, don't have a lot of time tonight...

 

You mentioned in this last post that you have a "hearing disability" - I wasn't sure if this was something physical/medical, etc., or if this was a

perceived thing that kicks in when convenient for you to act like you didn't hear something your wife said. I have done the same thing, which is why I ask - it's part of how I worked to make Eeyore feel insane.

 

I finally went to my doctor and had a hearing test to settle for myself that I did NOT have a hearing problem - I went with the commitment to myself that I would do whatever needed to be done if I did have a hearing problem. I do not have any hearing loss, so it definitely settled the internal debate for me that it was something intentional and manipulative on my part that I needed to own, confess, and change...

 

Stephen/HD

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When i was in grammer school I was diagnosed with hearing problems and sat in front of the class, worked with the speech pathologist...but it never seemed that bad and was able to do just fine. Back around 2000 I went to have my hearing tested, by a hearing aid seller and yep I had real bad hearing loss, bought a couple hearing aids thinking it would help, never did help. I talk soft, with the hearing aids I talked evn softer, they increased volume but over all never really helped. I lost one at my sons chorus recital and then the other one wore out. I find if I pay attention that my 54 year old ears are just as good as other 54 year olds, granted I can't hear as fast anymore , but I have more of a selective hearing loss than anything. It is something that i have abused Crystal with to take care of me in "people" situations. I am finding it really takes concentrated effort for relationships.

 

This past weekend Crystal attempted to tell me about my immaturity and she ended up getting it thrown back in her face in the form of a tantrum. We had ahd a graet lunch and were on our way home. This tantrum lasted into the next day causing much distress to Crystal. She is right to point out that I am an arrogant [edit]. She has no rest really as she does not know when I will stomp on her with my anger, it was out of the blue but looking back was controllable, if I had been listening, I chose not to listen and almost lost the best thing in my life.

 

I can't explain it, but when the anger comes it just wells up, and then it affects the spirit in that it wants no-one around and works to that end. It pushes Crystal out and she is left with hate instead of love. I know i didn't go into detail, Crystal was left screaming just to be heard, my ears were plugged with arrogance though. This is becoming more common than we would like. Today on the way home from work i pulled off by The River and yelled at God, actually felt good and then it was easy to see what God had done and what a gift Crystal is. He can take that, Crystal can't. My hope is for a decent marriage were Crystal does not have to deal with the anger.

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Sometimes anger is caused by a breach in our spiritual self....in other words we get some type of traumatic wound and then it's kind of like a gaping hole where we let the enemy work and we make excuses... "Oh look, my arm is broken, so I can't help you with the chores today"

 

There are Scriptures to cover this.. look up all the Scriptures about anger and remember Jesus is the healer of the Breach... (Isaiah)

 

AND don't think that I am saying you have some kind of wound and can't help yourself.. that is NOT what I am saying... it's a matter of choice combined with faith.

Making up your mind that the pain you cause Crystal with this anger is not worth it to you.. that you don't want to be that person anymore and that Jesus in you is bigger than that... AND asking God by faith to close the breach...

 

when the little boy offered his entire lunch to Jesus- ALL his fish and loaves, Jesus multiplied it to feed 5000.

When you offer your entire heart to Jesus, he will enlarge it and make you able to feed Crystal from His resources...

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Thanks for the response 4evrhz, and I will look up those scripture on anger. I hear what you say about not saying I have some wound and can't help myself. I have no more excuse for my anger than any "normal" person does, my childhood was "normal" as far as I know. I know enough that I know it is my choice to do the things I do..and it hurts Crystal to no end.

 

HD I have a question for you. Right be for you "put all in" you were in dire straits, what happened to turn you around? I remember for a long time your posts mirrored us and our journey. I had an arrested blowout with Crystal this weekend that I never want to repeat again.

 

So, my weekend, Sunday and Monday, is coming up. Honestly I have not been looking forward to the time off and I am sure Crystal has been dreading it for a while as well. Sometimes I feel if i could have a day to myself it would be OK, but that is selfish, and I need the time at home not with me. One thing that comes up is that there really is nothing to do. Usually after Church we go to lunch, talk, come home for the evening and watch dvds, tv or read. Mondays we sometimes watch Joel and Kathy, go to lunch, talk/walk, come home for the evening. Sometimes a movie, sometimes we journey to local cities. Locally it is generally a bust. During nice weather there are things outside to do and more opportunities for things to do. What am I asking here...for p[rayer for the weekend to listen to Crystal and not react to it but hear her, that is an anxiety. So make the request known to God... OK, think I answered my own question, still prayer would be appreciated.

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HD I have a question for you. Right be for you "put all in" you were in dire straits, what happened to turn you around? I remember for a long time your posts mirrored us and our journey. I had an arrested blowout with Crystal this weekend that I never want to repeat again.

 

FreeDog -

Yeah, definitely been down that road, many, many times - the things that we put them through, huh?

 

For me, the biggest change came when I was able to stop putting myself under so much pressure to get everything right and started believing that my wife's primary goal in life was simply to have a good relationship with me. She chose me, she loves me, she wants me to want to be with her - that's ALL that she wants. That helped me to understand that when I feel angry when she was sharing her heart, that was ON ME, and not on her - all she wants is to IMPROVE the relationship by sharing her heart; if I feel upset or angry about that, then it's hitting something in me that NEEDS TO GO.

 

I also started trusting my instincts more - I know, inside, how to do this. I know, inside, how to treat my wife properly - I am not new to this ministry and I am not knew to knowing what God says about treating someone that I love. So, it's up to me to make the decision to CHOOSE how I want to act, and that means that I need to stop blaming my actions on anyone or anything else. That also meant that I needed to stop IGNORING my own emotions or pretending like my feelings weren't important, didn't matter, or were "second rate" - that's not what God teaches us about ourselves, and not what He wants us to believe. He does want us to make a decision, IN THE MOMENT, to act appropriately and in the best interest of our marriage and our relationship to His precious daughter, and He wants for us to learn how to take our emotions TO HIM. He loves us, you and I, and He wants the BEST for us - and that means in our emotional world as much as in our marriage, etc.

 

Finally, I started to work hard at "connecting the dots" between what I believe, how I act, and how that results in my wife being treated (the "circle of events", if you will). If something "didn't go right", I would do some forensics (after apologizing and doing what I could to show Eeyore how I was committed to her and our marriage and validating her feelings) to break down the events and what I was thinking at the time. I could then find areas where I could challenge what I believed and how I could act differently the next time - LET IN THE TRUTH, be objective and honest, and put together some ideas to build a different result in the future. I would not allow any self-judgement or beating myself up - that's NOT the least bit productive, and is NOT how God would talk to you, so don't talk to yourself that way either.

 

All of this started to change my thinking, in conjunction with all that I had already learned from J&K basics - no more was I the "screw-up husband" that I believed I was, and instead I started to believe that I was capable of change and capable of loving my wife in the way that she needed to be loved. I walked differently, talked differently, thought differently - because I BELIEVED differently, and because I was TAKING action to make DIFFERENT HAPPEN. There is nothing more empowering than DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT because YOU CHOSE to do something different.

 

I hope that this helps - this isn't a long drawn out investigation of yourself and your mind, and this isn't an excuse to escape. This is a quick, prayerful, "ride to work in prayer" kind of internal work - secondary to focusing on your wife and loving her. This is also NOT something that you can do "in crisis" - you have to resolve the crisis through the tools we have at our disposal as husbands (apologize, own behavior, validate, validate, embrace, listen, validate, etc.), and then work through the "Why" later...

 

Stephen/HD

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First of all, I apologize Crystal for thinking that i need "time off" from hearing about the pain that I have been causing. You could use a break from the life sucking toddler though. As you said, it's like buying tomato plants, dumping them on the ground and then getting mad at them for not making tomatoes, you have to do the work planting and watering first. If you want to be a runner you have to go through the pain, then it gets easy and the pain then changes into "good"; no pain no gain.

 

Thanks for the reply HD, i think there is a lot of ideas that are useful. How we/I look at myself as compared to how God and my wife see me. To make the right decision in the moment means taking thoughts captive and releasing the positive ones.

 

I like your idea of ' connecting the dots" as opposed to self-bashing that I am familiar with, which once again starts with knowing who we are in god's eyes. Thanks HD, I need to think on these things more, be prepared for more questions, lol, if you don't mind. I really don't want Crystal to go through another Monday like last Monday.

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Freedog,

 

One thing that I don't think that I stated as clearly as I wanted to was that, in relation to the "connecting the dots" idea, it is very important that we look at the overall pattern of our repeated behaviors - we should be able to boil down a lot of different specific situations into a fairly common and similar "circle of events", that we can then own as part of our "emotional avoidance pattern". THAT is the pattern that we need to look at and find how the different parts of the pattern are connected, and how we can plan to make different choices "in the moment" when we identify that the pattern is engaged...

 

I had the "bad habit" (it was simple rebellion and unwillingness) of looking at the specific events of a specific incident ONLY and not the bigger picture - when I did that, I was TOO limited in the scope of what I was willing to look at and own and change, and it REALLY hampered me from growing up.

 

Hope that makes sense...

 

Stephen/HD

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Yes HD it does make sense.

 

Just off the top of my head I see this happening: Crystal shares her heart-----I get angry (shown as defending, fixing, denying, acting confused, absobing...), in short I get angry at her for her sharing how I am affecting her; like getting tomato plants and plopping them on the ground and then getting mad at them for not making fruit.----I don't "hear", she says it louder, etc., until a wall is built so high and thick, built by my rebellion to hear and believe what she is saying is true. She wants to improve relationship by sharing her heart and I get angry with that, in reality I get angry with God for Him trying to improve my relationship with Him.

 

Then the self-abasement comes and we are done.

 

I know that the way I see myself and the way God sees me are two different things. When I self-abase I am in effect dishonoring God and Crystal. God fearfully and wonderfully made me with a purpose, Crystal chose me to be her confidant and friend. Truth is I do know how to act, I am not confused or ignorant, the behavior I show is behavior I chose.

 

I do know the "anger feeling" well enough to be able to catch it and turn it over to God, I also know that Crystal will be anxious about sharing her heart, why shouldn't she be after all the pattern I have given her validates her anxiety. I hope to give her a different pattern, one based not on wrong thinking but on God's word and not how I preceive myself. My pride is so close to the surface any little thing sets it off. Funny but I used to think self-abasement was humility, but it is just as much pride based as arrogance is.

 

We will see how things turn out.

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Was an all right weekend. Crystal was able to share her heart, I missed meeting her voiced needs a couple times, got angry at her for pointing out how my selfishness was bothering her; was able to pull out quickly and move forward. All in all, better than last Monday with room to improve. My greed and selfishness readed up as I didn't fill her tank all the way, then got angry at her when she pointed it out, then ignored her when she wanted to show me on the map where she wanted to go. Was able to quickly turn around but still it hit her hard to realize that even on a "good day" that rebellion is still close to the surface.

 

It is a difficult thing to come to grips that my heart is deceitful above all things...and this is what Crystal points out a lot. Hard to grasp it because I think "No, really, I know my heart and it isn't that bad." But it really is; last evening Crystal made the comment that she can't believe how selfish it is, then again it isn't as selfish as it used to be so there is hope to kill it. Killing this rebel is a lot of work and he dumps a lot of garbage on Crystal. It is still hard to differentiate between her sharing feelings and me feeling it as criticism, I really want to grasp it be cause it kills so many moments and does not help afterwards.

 

It is amazing, God knows my heart and still loves me, He does not deal with me as He could/should.

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Freedog,

 

It is amazing, God knows my heart and still loves me, He does not deal with me as He could/should.

 

If you truly believe this, then you have the answer to all your recent questions.

 

You know Crystal's heart. Love her. Do not deal with her as you could but as God says you should.

 

Easy Peasy!

 

God Bless

David

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Freedog - you said:

Was an all right weekend. Crystal was able to share her heart, I missed meeting her voiced needs a couple times, got angry at her for pointing out how my selfishness was bothering her; was able to pull out quickly and move forward. All in all, better than last Monday with room to improve. My greed and selfishness readed up as I didn't fill her tank all the way, then got angry at her when she pointed it out, then ignored her when she wanted to show me on the map where she wanted to go. Was able to quickly turn around but still it hit her hard to realize that even on a "good day" that rebellion is still close to the surface.

 

Each of the areas that I turned bold are the MOST IMPORTANT moments for you to notice in the cycle of events that you have described - this is VERY similar to many of the times when I would hurt Eeyore. These are the CHOICES that we have to learn to make IN THE MOMENT - notice that it is NOT the initial thing (the stuff I put in italics) that you need to FOCUS on, but rather the ACTION that you took based on the fact that Crystal pointed something out to you.

 

Let's face it - we WILL mess up, we WILL fail, we WILL still things to hurt our wife, etc. BUT (BIG but), what we do when the fact that we "messed up" is MUCH more important that what we initially did!!! It took me a LONG, LONG, LONG time to figure this out, and a TON of hurt for Eeyore in the process; I beat myself up SO much for the initial thing that there was NEVER a chance for me to recover and to do something positive IN THE MOMENT so that we could quickly recover.

 

This is SO important to figure out - this is LISTENING to your wife, this is ACCEPTING feedback, this is WILLINGNESS, this is INITIATING positive love IN ACTION. And, this is when we start to move our focus away from WHAT we did and move to what we CAN DO - moving away from PASSIVE to INITIATION.

 

Hope that makes sense...

Stephen/HD

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