My stuff, your stuff, my stuff, your stuff.

One of the tricks to making your marriage better is learning to know when a problem is due to “your stuff” and when it’s due to “her stuff”. By stuff, I mean baggage from your past, things you picked up from your family of origin, habits, preferences, and things you do that you know you should not do.

  • If it’s your stuff, deal with it, and don’t make her pay or feel bad for your stuff. Don’t get defensive, don’t try to justify or explain, just deal with it.
  • If it’s her stuff, be as gentle and loving as you want her to be when it’s your stuff. Realise that making her feel bad about her stuff, or about how she treated you because of her stuff, is not helpful. It might make you feel a bit better for a time, but reduces the odds that she will deal with her stuff. Don’t let your wrong reaction to her wrong actions give her an escape. If you are loving and decent, she can’t feel justified making it about you instead of her.
  • If it’s partly your stuff and partly her stuff, I suggest you treat it like it’s ONLY your stuff until it’s only her stuff. Maybe she will do the same.
  • If the two of you get hung up on this kind of thing over and over, have a stark discussion about “My stuff, your stuff, my stuff, your stuff”.

3 Comments on “My stuff, your stuff, my stuff, your stuff.

  1. “If it’s partly your stuff and partly her stuff, I suggest you treat it like it’s ONLY your stuff until it’s only her stuff. Maybe she will do the same.”

    I love this, this is the essence of marriage. Its also what Christ taught… look inward before pointing fingers at others. Thanks for the reminder!
    .-= Eric – BHF´s last blog ..A Trend Towards More Women and Moms in the Workforce =-.

  2. Certainly makes a lot of sense. We can’t burden others with our problems, even in marriage. We have to be responsible for what we have done.

    My current situation is trying to get my wife to deal with her past. There is a lot of garbage there and some has remained until the present. I’ve sent her to counselors but the problem is that all counselors try to turn it into marriage counseling. This is awful for me since I have to relive her mistakes and some how try to figure out why it is partially my fault. Is there anyone who is actually willing to help someone deal with their own issue as their own? If there is one thing I’ve learned in marriage is that I can’t fix my wife.

    I understand how manipulative my wife can be (see certainly manipulated me), but aren’t counselors trained to see the problem. Why do counselors think the problem is a marriage, when a marriage is really only the sum of 2 people’s actions.?

  3. @take two – I suspect most counselors start with the assumption it’s a marriage issue because it is a marriage issue the vast majority of the time. It’s also a safe starting place that can help a reluctant person move into the process.

    It takes time to see the manipulation, especially when dealing with a master of the art. Once it’s seen, then what? Knowing that’s the problem does not mean the person is willing to admit it or deal with it. Often a person will find a way to sabotage the process, or just refuse to go, once they are discovered.

    You have my prayers.

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