In a recent article, proposed marriage advice expert Randi Gunther, surmises that spouses can overcome marriage problems through communication. He believes that both spouses view complaints as personal attacks and respond in a defensive nature. Rather than taking responsibility as a first step, husbands should evaluate the complaints before making any type of judgment or taking further steps.
When a wife continues to complain it can become dreadful for the husband and have the husband seeking marriage advice to save his marriage. Many believe that complaints are an indication of a dysfunctional marriage. A dysfunctional marriage is consistent with a dysfunctional organization.
A dysfunctional organization has five levels. The foundation for the dysfunctional organization begins with each person’s use of defense mechanisms for coping. Defense mechanisms are the unwritten rules an individual learns and utilizes to effectively deal with circumstances that are upsetting, embarrassing, or threatening.
The second level is skilled incompetence, which is the outcome of the defense mechanisms we have internalized. When the defensive behaviors we’ve learned are transformed into a learned behavior, that behavior becomes a skill – albeit an incompetent skill – that we consider necessary in order to deal with issues that are embarrassing, threatening, or upsetting. A skill that is learned from the regular application of a defense mechanism has a high degree of incompetence embedded within it, because we are unaware of how this skill will impact our future.
Skilled incompetence transforms into a defensive routine. Defensive routines are the third level. When the skilled incompetence is automatically exhibited at all times, the behavior is now a defensive routine.
Defensive routines lead to fancy footwork. Fancy footwork is the fourth level. Fancy footwork happens when individuals try to deny the behavioral inconsistencies they exhibit, or else they place blame on other people, which results in distancing themselves from taking responsibility for their behavioral inconsistencies.
Fancy footwork leads to organizational malaise. Organizational malaise is the final level. During this phase the individuals in the organization seek to find fault within the organization rather than accept responsibility for their actions and correct their behavior accordingly. The individual continues the process by accentuating the negative and deemphasizing the positive in an effort to cover up their actions. The organizational malaise is further exacerbated by a refusal of one or all the members to discuss their area of responsibility.
Many of the complaints that husbands hear from their wives are a direct product of the wives defensive mechanisms which is not discussed by many experts who provide marriage advice. The things that wives believe that are embarrassing, upsetting, or threatening are a direct product of the values that they develop over a lifetime of experiences.
According to a recent article, Marriage Problems: Real Women Share Their Relationship Issues, below are the top 20 complaints that wives have about husbands.
- He leaves his stuff everywhere
- He never goes to our kids’ school activities or plays.
- Our marriage has three people — me, my husband, and his mother.
- Not doing things my way
- He doesn’t want any more kids, but I want just one more.
- We are actually sexually compatible.
- We don’t spend enough alone time with each other.
- He doesn’t help enough around the house.
- Too much time together. I have NO breathing room.
- He never tells me what he is thinking.
- He snores as loud as a freight train and won’t do anything about it.
- He is obsessed with sports.
- He doesn’t respect my career goals as much as his own.
- He spends way too much time at strip clubs.
- He is Facebook friends with his ex-girlfriend.
- We never go on dates anymore.
- He’s never around. Sometimes I feel like a single mom.
- We never have sex.
- He never replaces the toilet paper roll.
Each complaint has a value attached to it. And each value has a commitment. Husbands must remember that each complaints that the wife has is a expression of their commitment. If you are able to determine their commitment then your response will be different and therefore each of your wives expressed complaints will have a different bearing on your marriage therefore nullifying the need for marriage advice.
For example, the number one complaint is money for which many marriage advice experts have responded. It does not matter if you have to little or to much money. If you are a husband who has a wife believes that you do not have enough money, that complaint can hurt your pride. It is paramount to the wife saying that you can not take care of me or you are deficient. She could be thinking that you mishandle money or are selfish with the money. The bottom line is that a complaint to a husband about money can be hurtful.
What many experts who provide marriage advice do not discuss is that the complaint about money is a revelation of the wife’s commitment. The wife is committed to security. The question that the husband must ask himself is, “Am I committed to being financially secure?”. The obvious answer is yes. Now that you know that you and your wife have the same commitment, your response to the complaint will be different therefore avoiding any further pitfalls associated with a dysfunctional marriage or need for additional marriage advice.
One exercise that husbands can complete to avoid the pitfalls of a dysfunctional marriage as it pertains to the wife’s complaints is the following:
- Get a blank piece of paper
- Draw a line down the middle of the paper
- On the left side write down your wife’s top ten complaints
- On the right side write down her commitments
- Meet with your wife and validate each commitment for each complaint
- Develop a strategic plan with your wife to overcome each complaintWhile many experts who provide marriage advice do not teach husbands how to respond appropriately to a wife’s complaints, I recommend the above mentioned process to enhance the communication in your marriage.
Dr. Derrick and Mrs. Sheila Campbell
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
Published books – Leading Your Marriage into the Promised Land -Leading Your Marriage into the Promised Land (Workbook for husbands & Wives) – Advanced Marriage Training for Singles
“I was blessed by the love and sensitivity that you and your wife showed during the presentation”.
Bishop Joseph P. Ravenell
Samaritan Baptist Church
Trenton, NJ “I would highly recommend you to any church or organization desiring to provide their people with timely marital wisdom and practical application skills”.
Dr. James E. Woods, II
El Shaddia Christian Assembly