Work around her past dissapointments

In his post Won’t get fooled again, Seth says:

The reason that people don’t believe you isn’t that you’re a liar. The reason we don’t believe you is that the guy before you (and the woman before him) were unduly optimistic hypesters and we got burned. We believed, we leaned into it and we got stuck.

I think many women enter marriage with a similar situation; having been fooled by boyfriends, they are concerned about male motives and sceptical of claims or promises made by their husband. To paraphrase Seth, it’s not that she doubts you because you are a liar. The reason she doubts you is that other guys have made claims they did not live up to and she got burned. She believed, she went with it, and she got hurt.

The solution? Seth nailed that with “Make different promises, or even better, do, don’t say.” Let your actions speak for you.

What doesn’t work? Complaining that you’re being penalized for the wrongs of someone else. Yes, you are, and no, it’s not fair, but this is in the realm of feelings and even if she agrees with you it won’t change how she feels.

2 Comments on “Work around her past dissapointments

  1. I am generally of the opinion we can’t fix the problems of other people with our actions. It sounds great, and it generally yields quick results, but it doesn’t actually fix the problem. The problem will come back at a later date, and it will demand even greater consessions this time because last time didn’t work. Disfunctional people (whatever the reason for disfunction) need to fix their problems outside of the marriage context, so that they don’t bring their baggage in.

    As for honesty, it is given that dishonesty will ruin the marriage. The perception of the spouse has no real bearing on the situation, except how long the deception can persist before it is found out. It is not as if spouses without baggage won’t be affect by lying in the same way. They will simply have a greater tolerance for it up front.

  2. @Take Two – I agree that some problems can not be worked around, but some can. As a silly example, if my bride could not focus and hear what I am saying if I were wearing red, then I can work around it by not wearing red. I would still encourage her to work to solve the problem, both so I could wear red and so she could hear others who wear red, but I can bypass the issue in our marraige is I so choose.

    Of course most real world examples are more difficult, and may require one avoiding something that is more difficult or less fair to avoid.

    I agree it would be nice if we all came into marriage without dysfunction, but the reality is we ALL go into marraige with some dysfunction. If I c an bypass her dysfunction while she continues to work to deal with it, I see that as a win/win. If I am simply enabling her, that is something else.

    The other matter is to determine which is more important – dealing with the dysfunction, or being able to do whatever the dysfunction is preventing. If a bypass allows something important to happen in the relationship, then I’d see it as a good thing even if it slowed down dealing with the problem. For example, if leaving the lights out allowed her to have as much sex as he wants, I would think lights out beats little or no sex because he is holding out for her to deal with her body image issues.

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