My wife of 10 years and I have a pretty good relationship, except for her annoying habit of rushing to blame me for anything and everything that goes wrong.
If a wet towel was left on the bed, making the sheets damp, she says I did it.
If the dishwasher wasn’t turned on at night, it’s immediately declared my fault.
There are times when I’m sure that she actually realizes, even as she’s blaming me, that it was really her fault.
But once said aloud, she can’t/won’t take it back.
I’m not perfect and certainly forget or do things wrongly sometimes.
I just don’t like being called out on things that I did not forget, or screw up.
My feeling is that things happen in daily life, it’s not about blame, we all make mistakes, so let’s just move on.
I’m prepared to laugh at myself, especially for non-crisis errors, and I’ll admit my mistakes. But my wife’s too proud to admit she ever does anything wrong. Her whole family’s like that.
How do I get this non-blaming message across to my wife?
No Blame No Shame
After ten years of marriage, you’re both still not getting it: You have differences of approach and reaction, which have been there since the day you met.
It’s time for you both to acknowledge, laugh, and adjust.
A psychiatrist explained this “differences” factor that often strains relationships:
When couples from different backgrounds meet, they’re drawn to personality differences and want some of those elements for themselves.
Your wife’s pride and self-confidence was likely very attractive at the time, when she was on the dating scene. No neediness, not clingy, likely ambitious, too.
Your easy manner, accepting and full of humour, self-deprecating for laughs and to put others at ease, was new to her and equally attractive.
Interested daters often desire to get closer to these fresh qualities.
Ten years later, with children, finances and work preoccupying your conversations, and without substantial adjustment to each other’s personalities… there’s your ongoing clash.
It’s up to you two now to look at what’s great in your marriage, including the children and maybe even how you manage your finances and work.
A damp bed? Dry the sheets. Don’t sweat the small stuff by adding blame (her go-to reaction) or frustration (yours).
Remember why you were initially attracted, how interesting your different backgrounds really are, and the reasons for those differences in each other’s upbringing.
It’ll help you laugh more, hug more, blame and react less.
My husband’s mother died when he was in University. He’s regretted since that he didn’t keep more things to help remember her.
His father died suddenly six months ago. My husband brought home his furniture, clothing, photographs, papers, everything.
We’re both in our mid-30s, working, living in a condo overcrowded with furniture. Our storage unit is so stuffed, it’s impossible to move in there.
I’m ready to leave.
I love my husband but can’t take that he’s constantly sorting through stuff, living in the past while we’re not enjoying the present.
Your husband’s in deep grief, having lost two parents while he’s still relatively young. Losing you now would be a cruel blow.
He needs grief counselling. Join him for a couple of sessions, to understand the intensity of his sorrow. Or get counselling on your own.
Schedule “sorting time” together, but insist on taking breaks together, even just to go for a walk. Time will heal you both.
This is the toughest time of year! I’m 24, earning only at entry level in my job, and have way too many people to buy presents for!
I feel so much pressure about this that I just want to skip Christmas by going on a cheap trip that’ll cost less than all the gifts that are probably not appreciated anyways!
Chill now and you won’t regret later. Consider: 1) For those people for whom you feel you must gift, since they’re presumably close, stick to a mutually-agreed price limit. Or set your own limit, anyway.
2) Or, use whatever talent/skill you have to create something e.g. bake special treats, draw a caricature, paint scenes they’ll appreciate, etc.
3) At work, recommend Secret Santa gifts and/or a price limit.
4) Use the weekend now to rest, take a long walk, have a massage, see an upbeat movie. You may then view the holidays differently.
Tip of the day:
The different personalities that attract two people, also require their adjusting to and accepting those differences.