Or you can teach her that being nasty works

March 13, 2013

in Be a grownup, Change, Good Marriage, Seeing Clearly, Understanding Her

This is a follow-up on last week’s What if She is Often Offended? In that post I said, “Teach her that when she is reasonable, she benefits. Teach her that you care about her, and her needs, and will try to give her what she needs and wants because you love her, not because she makes your life miserable.”

Angry woman © Lithian | Dreamstime.com

The alternative to this is teaching her that being rude, distant, grumpy, or withholding things will get her what she wants. None of us wants to teach our wife that she can get her way by doing things we dislike, but it is common for men to do this exact thing. Every time you give in to it, go along with it, or just put out up with it, you encourage her to do the same thing again.

The problem is that breaking her of these habits is a lot of work, and it can will bring about a lot of frustration and suffering. If she does not get what she wants, you will not get what you want. It becomes a battle of wills, with the loser being the one who gives in first. What’s more, she may escalate, getting nastier, or more withdrawn, or cutting off sex all together.

No, this is not loving behaviour, and no she should not act this way. Sadly, that truth alone does not stop the women who do act this way. Telling her it is wrong is not going to bring about a change. She does it because it works, and as long as it works, she will keep doing it. The only way to get past it is to stop playing along; if it stops working, she will eventually stop doing it. The problem is the time between when you stop and when she stops – and the likelihood that it will get much worse before it gets better. In some ways it is like getting off drugs – if you hold out you will succeed, but you will be very tempted to give in.

One thing that can help is trying your best to keep giving and loving in any area that has not been pulled into the conflict. Also realise that just because she escalates does not mean you have to escalate. This is the time to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile. This is not easy, but it is both right and the most effective way to go. If you stand firm, things will change, and the odds are very good they will change for the better.

Image Credit: © Lithian | Dreamstime.com

8 comments
Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com
Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com

One common reason both women and men resort to bad behavior to get what they want is that they have learned that it is only thing that works. While some people come into a marriage with this behavior already in place (perhaps it was learned in the family or a previous relationship), others develop it gradually because all their good behaviors, kind words, loving gestures, reasonable requests, etc., have only led to frustration. So if someone is trying to teach a spouse not to use bad behavior, it is extremely important to promptly and consistently reward, in some way, the good behavior you prefer. (This works with pets, and it works with people, too.)

RosemaryWest / romanticmarriage.org
RosemaryWest / romanticmarriage.org

One common reason both women and men resort to bad behavior to get what they want is that they have learned that it is only thing that works. While some people come into a marriage with this behavior already in place (perhaps it was learned in the family or a previous relationship), others develop it gradually because all their good behaviors, kind words, loving gestures, reasonable requests, etc., have only led to frustration. So if someone is trying to teach a spouse not to use bad behavior, it is extremely important to promptly and consistently reward, in some way, the good behavior you prefer. (This works with pets, and it works with people, too.)

Eleutheros
Eleutheros

This is a good tactic for dealing with a recalcitrant wife that you truly love. However, I would like to point out that any man who got himself into this kind of relationship did not get there by being this way that you describe; rather he got there because he encouraged such behavior, from the beginning.

That said, an element that is needed to accomplish this and that is likely missing within the man with a wife like this is confidence in himself- confidence that he is able to make a difference- and that he can live without her, if, in the long run that you describe here, her heart refuses to acknowledge the change in his own.

But, it is his heart that has to become confident, first, in what is good and in that which is right to do before he will have the will and the wherewithal to see such a change through to whatever end comes,

Eleutheros
Eleutheros

This is a good tactic for dealing with a recalcitrant wife that you truly love. However, I would like to point out that any man who got himself into this kind of relationship did not get there by being this way that you describe; rather he got there because he encouraged such behavior, from the beginning. That said, an element that is needed to accomplish this and that is likely missing within the man with a wife like this is confidence in himself- confidence that he is able to make a difference- and that he can live without her, if, in the long run that you describe here, her heart refuses to acknowledge the change in his own. But, it is his heart that has to become confident, first, in what is good and in that which is right to do before he will have the will and the wherewithal to see such a change through to whatever end comes,

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

 @RosemaryWest / romanticmarriage.org You are so right that many adopt it because it is the only thing that works. Showing that there is a better way is a huge help, and for some that is all it takes. Sadly most of us are so given to habit it takes a bit more than that.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@RosemaryWest / romanticmarriage.org You are so right that many adopt it because it is the only thing that works. Showing that there is a better way is a huge help, and for some that is all it takes. Sadly most of us are so given to habit it takes a bit more than that.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

 @Eleutheros You are exactly right!

 

This was very much the situation between myself and my first serious girlfriend. In time I grew to confidence that allowed me to take hard stands. This lead to some good changes. It also taught me never to get myself into that hole to start with!

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@Eleutheros You are exactly right!   This was very much the situation between myself and my first serious girlfriend. In time I grew to confidence that allowed me to take hard stands. This lead to some good changes. It also taught me never to get myself into that hole to start with!

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