This means WAR!!!

Choose your battles wisely, and remain steadfast in the face of adversity.

Readership: All; Men in LTR’s;

Here’s another true anecdote to exemplify Pushing the Line (2018 February 27).  Click on the link for a description of the dynamics and why it works.

One weekend a couple months ago, my wife and I were having a few drinks at home.  After she got tipsy, one of her friends from college started sending her instant messages, telling her how great her own husband was, and how happy she was living in the United States.  This chat provoked the standard trivial discontentedness in my wife and aggravated her envy, and she started to recall all the things she didn’t like about our life and marriage.  After a while of this conversation, she had worked herself into a fury, and started cursing me.  If that weren’t bad enough, she started destroying small items by forcefully throwing them onto the tile floor.  One of the items she destroyed was my smartphone – a rather pricey item.

sonyXPERIAz3_5

The next morning, I greeted her by saying, “You really had a rollicking good time last night!  I’m glad you enjoyed yourself!”

She just gave me a scowl.  I said nothing more about the incident.  We didn’t talk for most of the day.

A few days later, after she had resumed her normal mood and had forgotten about the incident, I was hanging a new light in the living room.  It was a model of a German biplane, similar to an Albatross, so it required some assembly.  She was really excited about this, and she asked me, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

I took a deep breath and resolved my will, and said, “Yes, you can get a job and buy me a new smartphone.”

She immediately flew into a rage, and started giving me a lot of noise pollution, blaming me for various things that she had been discontented about.  I just continued working on the light and let her talk.

After her lecture died down, I said, “You’re pretty good at changing the subject, but I won’t let this one pass.  It’s time you started taking responsibility for your behaviors!”

She resumed her verbal calumny, saying that I spend too much time *blogging*… that I didn’t deserve a phone… that I was “addicted” to my phone…

In response, I got down from the ladder, picked an empty whiskey bottle out of the trash and set it on the table with a firm thud.  “Do you want to talk about addictions?”  She glared at me and walked out of the room in a huff.

Jim Beam Bourbon

About an hour later, after I finished the mounting bracket and wiring harness, I approached her and said, “Look, I know you’ll never say sorry.  So the only way you can redeem yourself without saying sorry is to buy me a new phone.”

She got on her high horse again, and this time, she became very cutting and condescending.

After a few minutes of this, I became angry.  I told her, “As long as you keep pointing the finger at me, and refuse to deal with the issue, we will <<<speaking slower and with a guttural emphasis>>> continually be at WAAAR!!!  (I emphasized the word “war” with a barbaric, wide-eyed facial expression.)  Is that what you want?  I’ll break your favorite coffee mug… and your big-screen smartphone… just the same as you did to me!”  She lashed out verbally again, and left the room.  I went back to working on the light.

To my utter surprise, she came in the room only a few minutes later and calmly said, “I’m sorry.  I will get you a new phone.”  I gave her an affirming nod of the head, and asked her to help me hold the light in place while I secured the wiring, which is what she had wanted to do when she first asked if she could help.  When it was finished, we spent a few minutes gloating while the peace settled into place.

wp-1576693279397.jpg

Afterwards, she spent the rest of the day browsing smartphones online, and comparing the features and prices.

At first, she only wanted to buy phones that appealed to her, but not to me (i.e. oversized screens, extensive photographic capabilities, flashy colors…).  But I refused all these.  Then she suggested buying a phone like this for herself, and giving me her old Sony (which I actually liked).  I said, “That’s a wonderful idea… which I might have agreed to under different circumstances.  The problem with this idea is that you’re still rewarding yourself for your bad behavior.  You’re not thinking of what kind of phone might make me happy.”  This statement drew out her empathy, and seemed to humble her.  After that, she started to search with more seriousness for smaller, dark colored, masculine-looking phones.  Eventually she found a smartphone that was acceptable to me, and we ordered it.  I explained that since my need for a phone was much more urgent than her motivation to find a job, then I would have to “loan” her the money to buy the phone.  In other words, I insinuated that she was lazy and indebted to me, and that I was being gracious.

Red Baron Fokker triplane

Fokker Dreidecker I (replica) – The German triplane used by Manfred von Richthofen, AKA “The Red Baron”.

It’s been almost two months since this incident.  During this time, she has encouraged me many times to find a better paying job.  But I haven’t responded.  Once, I made the comment to the tune of, “I’m pretty happy with the job I have, and you’re not giving me any incentives to change that.  Why should I work harder?  …just to have more money for you to buy more liquor?  Then you get drunk… and treat me like crap… and break a lot of stuff – which costs even more money!  Do you really expect me to be enthusiastic about increasing your disposable income?  You’ve already destroyed four Sony smartphones – a total price tag of approximately US$2,700!”  My key point was that we could save more money and have a better life if she would decide to stop drinking it up.  Of course, she wasn’t happy to hear that.

She has been shopping around for a job, but she has turned down all the offers she’s received so far.  I think she is intimidated by the responsibilities of regular employment.  She really enjoys being a Stay-At-Home-Wife, and in spite of all her complaints and protestations, she really doesn’t want anything to change.  I can see how her comfort zone poses a challenge in her personal growth.

Recently she has earned some money doing various odd jobs, including these.

  • She started tutoring a 5-year-old boy. (He’s a real handful!)
  • We have a friend who is a realtor, and she started to help her advertise properties in exchange for part of her commission.
  • With her friend’s help, she started studying how to make investments in real estate.

Overall, I am pleased with what she has been doing.  Tutoring that hyperactive boy is teaching her to be more patient and thoughtful.  She’s networking with people, and using her time more wisely.  I expect that investing in real estate will become a shared enterprise that will lead to our mutual benefit, and take her mind off of her Pygmalion project (me).

Alvin_York_on_USS_Ohioan

Sergeant Alvin C. York, one of the most decorated United States Army soldiers of WW1.

In summary of this incident, I drew a boundary between her thoughts, feelings, and expectations, and my own, and I prodded her until she acknowledged me as an individual having my own thoughts, feelings, and expectations.  This distinction raised her awareness of my values and opinions, and increased her regard for my psychological needs.  It also bolstered her sense of emotional security, which was (ironically) displayed through her emotional outbursts.  She also became aware of how much I improve the quality of her life.  Even though it might not be as luxurious as her friend’s life, she was still able to reassess her general state of well-being, and find contentment in what she has.  I’m especially pleased that I’ve managed to motivate her to take action, instead of complaining.

From my perspective, she has been more thoughtful and understanding of me, and her behavior has become more respectful and compliant over time.  She has grown to be more relaxed and more positive in her discussions with me, and she has shown a greater openness about laughing and playing with me.

All of this has led to a gradual improvement in our relationship.  Lately, she has been saying that we are now very happy together.

All because I declared WAR!  Imagine that!

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About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Conflict Management, Determination, Discipline, Game Theory, Holding Frame, Male Power, Models of Success, Perseverance, Personal Presentation, Persuasion, Relationships and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to This means WAR!!!

  1. Adam says:

    I’m having a very hard time believing that a woman liked that light.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jack says:

      Originally, my wife and I had wanted a more elegant light, but we could not find one that we both liked that was within our allotted budget (~US$300). Eventually, we came across this light (which is intended for a younger boy’s room), and we both thought it was interesting, fun, unique, and it fit the European design theme of our home. We both knew immediately that this was the one we wanted. She still expresses a lot of excitement over this light, which has added further to my delight.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Six points for the Red Baronesque plane pic. (Manfred von Richtofen was my favorite Polack hero).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Imagine if you’d been the one who got drunk, received happy messages from your old college friend, then got envious and starting blaming your wife for your comparative dissatisfaction and worked yourself up into such a fury that you started cursing her. And then starting throwing things on the floor in a rage, including her phone.
    And then scowled at her the next day when she mentioned it instead of immediately sobering up, abjectly apologizing, getting her a fantastic new phone and promising on your life never to do such a stupid thing again. And hoping like hell that she’d eventually forgive you. Oh, and promising to get your drinking and temper under control, and taking proactive steps towards doing that. Imagine instead that you needed your wife to find the right moment to coax you into doing what you obviously needed to do as a responsible adult. Imagine, when she so coaxed you, that you initially defended yourself by again blaming her for all the problems in your life as the good reason why you needed to break her phone.
    In the two months since the incident, imagine you kept whining about her cooking or cleaning or something, instead of acting like you’re in the doghouse.
    I think if you smashed your wife’s phone on the ground two months previously, you would not have cheerfully forgotten about it. Rather, it would be weighing heavily upon your mind.
    Taken together, would you consider this acceptable behaviour on your part? Would she have been unreasonable to have walked out on you? What would your family have said if they found out you’d smashed your wife’s phone in an envious, drunken rage, and blamed her for all your unhappiness? What would your friends have said? Your readers?
    If it would not be acceptable behaviour from you, why is it okay from her? Do you expect less from women in general? Or do you think you’re not worthy of greater respect than this?
    My blood is still boiling because you’re obviously a decent bloke who deserves much better. You are perfectly within your rights to demand better behaviour, not coax it, because you’d never expect anyone to put up with such bullshit from yourself. Not one tenth of it.
    That you did not seem shocked in this story suggests that this is a pattern of behaviour that you have become accustomed to. I am writing this comment, with the roles reversed, so that you might see it as an outsider would.
    Finally, I’m confused as to why other commenters were so blase about it. Especially Adam – I thought he’d be the one giving you this screed. What the hell is going on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jack says:

      Nikolai, your perspective is very well noted. I think I’ll address this “gender inequality” in a future post. Thanks!

      Like

    • Lexet Blog says:

      I’ve seen this type of behavior from multiple women — in public/with friends or family. I can’t imagine how many more do so only in private.

      My point is: women doing this is common

      Liked by 3 people

    • Adam says:

      Especially Adam – I thought he’d be the one giving you this screed. What the hell is going on.

      To be honest, I thought this post was satire or fiction. I would have kicked her out.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Stephanie says:

      In my opinion, he got the situation under control. I think some women may be harder than others to, “manage,” due to the way they may have been raised, culture, etc. Asians are VERY very hard on each other – almost every Asian I knew growing up said their parents were borderline emotionally/verbally abusive to get them to succeed. That was the normal home-life setting, and it’s accepted in that culture.

      I think it’s up to each man how to proceed, for some Christians, divorce really isn’t an option (Rollo used to write about that I thought) so they really are or could be at a disadvantage in a way. BUT that’s for every man – head of his household – to decide what to do about. I do think Jack did AMAZING in handling this and (if it’s true? LOL Sorry if it isn’t and I’m misunderstanding everything!) it produced the desired results. If anything, like I said in another comment, some women may have to battle this urge to control/manage their husband’s success, kind of like some have to battle anxiety or depression or generalized discontentment. We’re all human and every woman has something she has to work on!

      Like

      • I’ve dated mostly Asians because that’s where I live. None have ever broken my stuff or flown into a drunken rage. The worst I can recall was a woman who tried to pull me off my bike after I’d broken up with her.
        I think this is because I dump girls the first time they show me disrespect. For example, I dumped a girl a while ago because she thought it would be clever to stir up drama by arranging to come over and then not come, leaving me waiting. Nip it in the bud and you never get to that extreme stuff.
        My present girlfriend is very sweet. I’m sweet back. Nothing ever gets broken.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Stephanie says:

        It’s good to be on the lookout for red flags. I think women act differently after marriage though, and it can be very hard for a man to know just how exactly she may change. Plus a lot of women of all races seem to marry for what their husband will become, and if she judges that he’s failing in that expectation, that’s when this behavior could come to light. It’s not right, but it may explain the reasons why maybe she was sweeter before marriage.

        Like

      • Stephanie says:

        This is probably a topic too feminine for this blog, so sorry, but I believe that’s why a woman should arrive to accept her man the way he is, or go after someone else and leave a man alone if he isn’t already someone she could accept at face value. Trying to constantly change him, even in an encouraging way, usually comes across as disrespectful and could even make her more discontent than before. It can ruin a marriage, so teaching girls this when they’re young (i was 12 when my mom started teaching me these things) is pretty important.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. lastmod says:

    Very sorry for what happened. Looks like though you have worked it out with her. I never witnessed this behavior from my mother growing up (boy / teen / college / visiting). It wasn’t that my parents didn’t disagree on things (they did) but a credit to them both was when a disagreement was over. Whoever was at fault apologized. Neither of them kept score on “who won” or “who actually had the better point” and it was dropped. For the longest time I thought most if not all people behaved this way in a marriage. Indirectly probably growing up with my parents behaving like this didn’t prepare me for the real world.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ramman3000 says:

    “For the longest time I thought most if not all people behaved this way in a marriage.”

    Same for myself, my parents, and my grandparents.

    ” Indirectly probably growing up with my parents behaving like this didn’t prepare me for the real world.”

    Perhaps the other approach is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t see any advantage to it or promoting it for that reason. For better or worse, a lot of what is written on this site is quite foreign to me. I do wonder: do these strategies ultimately perpetuate the problem it is trying to work around by implying that the underlying behavior is normal?

    Like

  6. ramman3000 says:

    Out of curiosity, do you actually want her give up being a stay-at-home-wife and go find a job? Why are there no children?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jack says:

      Despite three years of bareback riding, we don’t have any children (yet). If we did, I would want her to be a SAHM. But since we don’t, I would just like her to stay busy with constructive activities, and not just sit at home consuming resources. Actually, she has a good habit of cooking and cleaning, so I have to be careful to encourage these good behaviors while challenging her to do more.

      Asking her to get a job is somewhat of a psychological tactic. If I asked her to do something constructive, then she wouldn’t do anything different, and she would only feel irritated. But if I ask her to get a job, then she might not do that, but she will do something constructive. But if she wants to get a regular job (until we have children), it’s OK with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ramman3000 says:

        “Asking her to get a job is somewhat of a psychological tactic.”

        I thought that might be the case, that’s why I asked. Thanks for the insight.

        Like

      • Stephanie says:

        I guess I thought y’all were probably out of the fertility age-range and would be childless for the length of the marriage. I DO think that having children can help a woman to stop acting like this.

        Immediately though I probably unfairly thought it was an Asian thing… it just seems they view marriage as almost purely a business deal, but hopefully I’m wrong. The ones I’ve been close to have proven that, though, both with the choices they made in spouses and in the way they treat those men after marriage. If anything, she may have to constantly battle this.

        My closest friend growing up was Asian, and she would frequently tell me she could never have done what I did in marrying my husband even though he wasn’t financially ready yet. I’m not sure why she always would bring that up, but it was big deal to her to put money over love every time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jack says:

        Stephanie, Asians have a more pragmatic approach to marriage, thinking it to be an important foundation of social and material security. Love is assumed, and is predicated on performance – the man needs to provide and protect, and the wife needs to support and nurture. As long as husband and wife are doing their respective parts, then other things (like love and contentment) will happen naturally and go smoothly. Westerners may see this as being like a cold-hearted business transaction, but Asians just think this is common sense.
        Since I’ve lived in Asia for a while, I can see how their approach is more stable in the long run, partly because the extended family also supports and reinforces the nuclear family.

        Like

  7. Ame says:

    i would guess that she responded to your firm, visible-line-drawn-in-concrete, authority. it wasn’t so much that you declared war but that you declared your authority over her, clearly defining the lines and rules, and stuck to them while also calling her out on her bs.

    we women need this.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Stephanie says:

      “we women need this.”

      I know Ame would probably agree that men NEED a wife who loves and supports him as he is, not demanding he be constantly more.

      We know a few couples now who even after the husband JUST promotes, it’s never enough for the wife, which boggles my mind!! One even said with her husband right there that he needs to promote again :O nevermind he just did and it took SO much time and sacrifice away from his family/kids, made a big leap in pay, etc. Nevermind all that… she’s still discontent and is pressuring him publicly to do the process all over again.

      His feelings be damned.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Stephanie says:

    This made me think of another anecdote on the topic. There’s an online group the wives in my husband’s job are a part of where it’s supposed to be supportive, giving recommendations for dr.s/stuff about the job etc.

    A few years ago during a promotion period, a wife starting bitterly complaining about her husband and how much he’s studying/chasing his goal of promoting, and she ended the venting with a declaration she wanted to divorce him (even though they had 3 very young toddlers close together).

    Many of the wives encouraged her to stick it out, he only had 2 more weeks until he tested and it would all be over, but she seemed pretty serious. I get it that it’s hard with little ones when your husband is doing something like that, but wow!!! And the harsh thing was that it was so public really, with any of his colleagues wives being able to read it and tell their husbands what she was saying about this poor man!

    Months later, he ends up promoting and buying her a beautiful necklace with his new badge & number etc. reflecting the higher position and her connection to him through that. She actually had the gall to post a selfie with the gift, with her bragging on how he bought it for her. Just zero introspection whatsoever.

    I showed it to my husband and told him the backstory… his reply was that the man should have divorced her right after the test. The marriage was already over and she could never have truly appreciated or helped him get his new position anyway.

    This is why I love him.

    Liked by 2 people

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  10. duemti says:

    I heard that it is very bad to keep scores in marriages. Don’t get me wrong, it is good that you stand up to protect your status in relationship, but don’t keep scores like “you owe me this because you did that”, or “because you did that, i will do this”.

    Liked by 1 person

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