Somehow it seems like I'm very successful in everything I do - except my marriage! For example, at work, I'm decisive and in control. But when I go home that approach doesn't work well.
And we're forever fighting and miserable. Is there something I'm missing? My marriage is very important to me, and I want my wife to be happy, but it seems like I don't know how to make that happen.
In fact, it almost feels like everything I do is doomed to fail. What am I doing wrong? And what should I be doing instead?
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Hi Stressed Husband!
Unfortunately, many successful workplace strategies can be a disaster at home. Like at work you need to be in charge, but try being controlling at home and things will go wrong.
The couples you see in TV shows are also bad role models. Suggesting it's normal to have endless angry fights and to criticise, withhold affection or threaten to leave.
It's also easy to get defensive whenever your wife challenges you. Instead, try to see her point of view and quit trying to prove you're right. Or you'll go on making the same mistakes over and over again.
Are you endlessly finding fault with her? However much you believe you're only helping, you're really trying to make her do what you want. Instead, let her have her way as much as possible! You shouldn't compromise on things that are important to you, of course, but giving in is no big deal most of the time.
Try to value the contrasts between you, such as your different needs for intimacy, different preferences, strengths and weaknesses. Enjoying what's good about each other, rather than focusing on the negatives.
Put your wife first in everything you do. Think through how she'll feel about every decision you make, and take her side on issues within your extended family. And try to organise your social life so that she never needs to feel suspicious of your behaviour.
Above all, make your marriage about supporting and nurturing your wife. Take pride in pleasing her and adding joy to her life, and try to create a purpose together that's something bigger than just getting along.
Something that inspires you both, whether it's making music, taking part in a sport, or working together for the community. It won't make all the hassles of married life disappear, but it will make them seem less important.
One last thing. Women usually know much more about relationships than men! So, let your wife take the lead. That may sound weird, but it's the way relationships work. When you put your wife first, she'll do the same for you in return. So your marriage will be one of the winners!
All the best,