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Recommended book – How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About it, by Drs. Love and Stosny

April 5, 2016

Who should read this book? Those who feel unhappy, unease, resentful, or unconnected. If you want to learn more about the differences between men and women. Women who want to feel closer to their husband. Those with conflict in their marriage. Those who freaking love to take quizzes. Raises hand.

This book is about the five words a man dreads most – “Honey, we need to talk”. The authors do note that they use broad generalizations that are respective of the sex as a whole, but not necessarily to the individual, since we are all different. They also state that you should not tell your husband all about the book you are reading, or ask him to read it – you should apply what you learn without sharing it.

The authors start out talking about fear and shame as it relates to the sexes. Men have a heightened sensitivity to feeling shame and inadequacy, while women are driven by fear, all of which may be outside of their awareness. When women keep attempting to improve a relationship, men take it as a failure - that they are not meeting their wife’s expectations. Women have an “internal GPS” that keeps them aware of closeness and distance in relationships, so they are anxious when feeling distant and relaxed when close. The authors go deep into how childhood plays a part in it. In one of my favorite exercises, the authors ask you to make a list of what you most dread (pg 19). Go ahead and try it if you like – list the top four things that you most dread ever happening to you, even if they are highly unlikely. (Do this before reading more.)

If you are female, you will likely find your list consisting of things that involve harm, isolation, or deprivation (fear-based). If you are male, the list will likely consist of things involving failure, inadequacy, or loss of status (shame-based). I found this true, as my list was “being injured or sick, getting divorced or breaking up, someone close to me dying, and being assaulted or in a fight”.

According to the authors, most power struggles are a result of people trying to protect themselves from fear and shame. “She wants him to do what she wants so she doesn’t have to feel anxious, and he wants her to give in so he doesn’t have to feel like a failure.” The more you push for what you want because of your fears, the more disconnected you become from your husband. A survey is included to help you determine your sensitivity to isolation and fear (pg 36).

Chapter three speaks of how men show emotions, love, and what they want out of relationships. It also goes over the devastating effects of divorce on a man. It even discusses how men are encouraged by relationship books and marriage-enrichment programs to become more “like a woman”, which almost certainly leads to “disappointment for both partners” (pg 50). I found the section on “why men need routine” fascinating and enlightening.

Words Hurt. Words destroy. Words can kill a relationship.

Now we get to the core of the book - what shaming is, and how you're doing it. Some examples of shaming (many more in the book on pages 67-70):

• Excluding him from important decisions

• Correcting what he said

• Questioning his judgment

• Giving unsolicited advice

• Overreacting

• Using a harsh tone

A true/false quiz is provided to help you discover the areas in which you are shaming your husband. I completed the quiz, then at the instruction of the authors asked my fiancee if he was willing to do the same quiz from his point of view. For the most part we saw eye-to-eye, but on a few I'd marked true (meaning I shame him), while he marked false. For "I use a harsh tone to get through to him", I marked false, and he marked true. Definitely eye opening!

There is a chapter targeted for male readers, but I found it helpful to read anyway. This is when the authors warn that you should not read all the lovely things you want your man to do and eagerly show him the chapter he should read. You can improve your relationship without talking about it or showing him the book. If you do read this chapter, read it only to get insight into your behavior.

Part Two of the book includes chapters 7 through 14, and is all about the actions you can practice to improve your marriage without controlling or shaming your husband. Four core values are introduced - improving, appreciating, connecting, and protecting. They talk extensively about transforming (negative) emotions into positive motivators, which is the purpose of emotions - to act upon them (not to talk about them or dwell in them). In the end, you learn to "judge yourself by your own efforts and behavior, not by your partner's" (pg 105). I'll leave the rest of part two for you to discover - I especially like the section titled "twenty reasons to have sex when you don't feel like it" (pg 148).

This book is right in line with RPW - it goes over how damaging it is to criticize, shame, withhold sex from, control, and divorce men. If you think you're with a guy who's bad at communication, this is a book to read. Chances are it's you who's at fault, not your SO. I recommend getting the print version of this book so you can write answers to the questions and quizzes.

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Post Information
Title Recommended book – How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About it, by Drs. Love and Stosny
Author Kittenkajira
Upvotes 23
Comments 12
Date April 5, 2016 3:13 AM UTC (6 years ago)
Subreddit /r/RedPillWives
Archive Link https://theredarchive.com/r/RedPillWives/recommended-book-how-to-improve-your-marriage.210198
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/RedPillWives/comments/4dende/recommended_book_how_to_improve_your_marriage/
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[–]BeautifulSpaceCadet 6 points6 points [recovered] | Copy Link

Wow I would love to read this. I am an absolute "word person", and not in just the standard 'womanly way'. All my jobs have been writing-centered and my 'intelligences' (i.e. Logistical, Verbal, etc) are radically polarized. I am like, exceptionally good at doing 2 things, and then anything that is not one of those 2 things I struggle monumentally with. No balance there.

So it makes it a bit trickier for me once I accepted the whole women being the master of the words arena (which is so true). If I take away my words, how the heck am I supposed to communicate? This has been a huugge point of improvement in my relationship. When I notice my SO getting into the semantics of words or even drawn out discussions, I have gotten so much better at shutting it down. How does this end? Well it's the same every time...I win. And what have I won? Diddly squat. Except bad feelings.

I have made miles of progress with stepping out of my arena and into his, but this book seems like it would put words to (irony alert) the progress I've made and provide me with more tools to increase the efficacy of what I am doing in lieu of flapping my face hole.

Thank you for the suggestion!

[–]Kittenkajira[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

If I take away my words, how the heck am I supposed to communicate?

I once felt much the same! The one thing this book drilled into my head is that you can not talk about anything that may cause emotions unless you are connected first. You can still communicate with your partner, but it has to come from a place of peace and calm. Sometimes I've found that by connecting and reaching that place of peace, the thing I wanted to talk about no longer seems important.

There's a tip in the book that I really enjoyed. One of the authors, Patricia Love, likes to give a wedding gift that's a beautiful goblet with the following message:

True love always has ups and downs. How you manage this normal ebb and flow will determine the course of your relationship. This gift is designed to help you through the low times. If and when you find yourself at a distance, at an impasse, in a bad place--no matter who is right or wrong, fill the glass, remember the love you share today, offer it to your partner, and your connection will be restored.

It doesn't have to be a fancy goblet - it could be a hug, a small gift, an offer of a beverage (think of his love language here)... You'll have to try it sometime! There's nothing like realizing you've gotten yourself into a drawn out discussion, that you don't want to fight with this man, and just suddenly stopping and giving him a love-filled hug.

[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Thanks for the book suggestion and the write up, just downloaded it on my Kindle. Looking forward to reading!

[–]Kittenkajira[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I hope you enjoy it!

[–]TempestTcup 3 points3 points [recovered] | Copy Link

I found the section on “why men need routine” fascinating and enlightening.

This is one of the main things I discovered when I started asking my husband what he liked in regards to food, going places, etc. He really likes routine! Now we have settled down into a regular schedule according to a routine that developed over the course of around a year, a few years ago. Much to my surprise, I am really enjoying his preferred routine and knowing what we will most likely be doing/eating on a particular day of the week.

If you think about it, the old TV shows (new when I was a kid LOL) had regular schedules of meals like pot roast on Wednesdays, pork chops on Tuesdays, and so on.

*I have come to the conclusion that most of the variety in people's lives is caused by an anxiety about missing out on experiencing something, whether it is food, a new restaurant, vacation spots, other men, etc. I think that the huge variety of choices we have in today's society causes this sort of anxiety.

[–][deleted] 5 points5 points | Copy Link

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[–]TempestTcup 5 points5 points [recovered] | Copy Link

We break from the routine regularly, but it's nice to have it as a fallback. Our routine will change here and there and evolve as it goes; we find new places to go, or like now, I'm taking a class on one of the nights that we regularly do something. It's a very flexible routine :)

[–][deleted] 5 points5 points | Copy Link

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[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

What I found works is having some regular staples, like for example my SO and I eat a lot of mince. So I precook a fair amount and freeze it in portions and then I can make spaghetti bolognnaise, or mince pancakes, or cottage pie. Just an example.

[–]Kittenkajira[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

My staple meals are all simple to make, and the ingredients keep relatively long - I might have to pick up one or two perishables to make them. You can stick with routine meals and still change it up. He likes breakfast burritos, and I often change what's in the burrito. As long as he gets a breakfast burrito, he's happy. So if I run out of something, I can improvise - like last week I didn't have any hash browns so I roasted some chopped sweet potato instead.

Take it slowly! Maybe start with one night a week that has the same meal every week.

[–]jade_cat1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Thank you very much for writing such an elaborate description of this book. You made it sound like a very interesting read, I will definitely put it on my to-read list.

[–]Kittenkajira[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

You're welcome! I hope you enjoy reading the book. :)

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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