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.”
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 What’s more, she may escalate, getting nastier, or more withdrawn, or cutting off sex all together.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.