I talked the last two days about things we put up with for a long time but eventually find unacceptable. I suggested learning to escalate issues more quickly could help with what matters to you, and learning to see when she is having a significant problem with something could keep her from having a blow up. Even better than these two things, is discussing what is unacceptable to each of you.
By “unacceptable lists”, I don’t just mean things like abuse or adultery – things that are never acceptable, not even once. I also mean the kinds of things you can let pass if they happen occasionally but will not or cannot accept for long periods. A lack of sex would be on this list for most men. A lack of respect, or time together, or the house being a disaster, or the kids being allowed to run wild 24/7 would be other examples. Nothing but fast food, family visiting too often, and never being able to see the kitchen table for all the stuff could also become unacceptable issues. Many things on the unacceptable list are not the kind of issues that lead to a divorce, but they lead to frustration and cause us to feeling unloved and/or disrespected. Because of this, these things hurt marriages and need to be discussed.
Why not make a short list of what you find unacceptable, and ask your wife to do the same. Swap lists, and agree to update them from time to time.
Need a last-minute Valentine’s gift?: Over at The Marriage Bed we have some nice, free, full colour Valentine’s Coupons. You can open them in Word and fill them in with what you want to give, or you can print out the PDF version and write in what you like.