The unacceptable lists

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.

Making a list © pakorn |

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.

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3 Comments on “The unacceptable lists

  1. My wife insists that if I put in my diary / phone weekly things that I do to show my love and appreciation for her e.g. filling her car with gas, household chores, helping with ironing etc that this means that I don’t really want to do them. I don’t intend to have an argument over this , but I struggle to remember and my diary helps, am I alone in my predicament?

    • @jdsteyn Sometimes people get caught up in the false idea that things have to be done in a very specific way to be “right”. Your wife may believe that loving gestures have to spring spontaneously from your consciousness in order to be sincere. But I would say that making the effort to remember what you want to do (whether it’s by putting it in your diary, putting a sticky note on the mirror, or writing it on the back of your hand) is a sign of your sincerity.

    • @jdsteyn If you do this with most things, then I can’t see that she has any ground to complain. If what you do for her is the only things you need to write down I could see her wondering – but still, you find a way to make it happen.

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