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My husband and I are about to separate, three week before we reach our 21st anniversary.  What really bothers me is that I love the man very much and I believe that he loves me just as much but that is not helping at all.  Though he loves me (I think), he no longer seems to like me at all.  He finds insult in every sentence that I utter and if I ask how "Great job dear" can be an insult he'll tell me that it's in my tone of voice.  I don't see how it could be when what I really, really mean is "Great job dear".  This has been going on for so long that I'm ready to end the marriage rather than hear the word "tone" one more time.  Of course, from his perspective, my tone is the problem and I'm sure he hears it, even when it's not there.  Can anyone tell me how to remove a tone that I not trying to use or convince him that it's in his head.  HELP PLEASE!

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I can sympathize and empathise with you. I am in the same boat. Of course I am nearing my 2 year wedding anniversary and we have been together going on 6 years but it's one in the same. Everything I say has a "tone" to it and every way I stand, sit, or walk has poor body language. I tried to leave because I couldn't take it anymore and he cried and begged me to stay that it would be different, but so far no luck and that was 2 weeks ago. I can't stand it. I do not sit a certain way and I don't alter my tone in anyway but all his ears hear is bitchy. I don't know what to do, so if you don't mind sharing any advice you might get I'd be awfully appreciative.

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The first point that I will make is that it is my opinion that many couples, today, don’t have the level of commitment that fortifies a marriage.  A marriage is an entity all into itself requiring nurturing and maintenance.  The two people in the relationship are the caregivers who are required to attend to those things that keep the relationship strong and healthy.  When there is no commitment to do this, then the relationship diminishes and it becomes easier, and maybe necessary to walk away.


The “tone” thing is not the real issue.  It is a symptom of something else that is going on in the relationship.  Couples who are committed to the relationship have ongoing discussions about how to maintain and nurture the relationship.  They discuss those things that are bothersome.  They discuss those things that are working just fine.  They discuss problems and issues; they discuss enjoyment and satisfaction.  When a relationship operates within this framework, you are able to address things that could be potential problems.  In an open, honest relationship the real reason for the “tone” issue would have manifested itself long before the idea of walking away became a considerable option.


I suggest opening up a real dialogue that first addresses both person’s commitment to each other and commitment to the relationship.  If that commitment is there, then I would recommend that you both make a commitment to open, honest communication.  It doesn’t mean the problem will be solved, it only means that both parties are willing to put it all of the table.  And sometimes that’s what it takes to fix real issues that mask themselves as something else.


I will also suggest that you go to www.SoulVisionTV and download “The Marriage Contract”.  It will give you some insight about commitment in marriage.  Once you have watched the movie, watch it a second time with your husband, and see if you can open up the lines of communication that will move you closer to a more committed relationship.

To say "Great job dear", sounds like you are talking to a child.  A man needs respect.  Try saying "Thank you".  Maybe your husband is feeling belittled and that would make him hear a different tone.

Hi , my heart is fully with you my dear and hope you solve things out <3

Your spouse is likely to be a very sensitive person and he might be in a critical shift in his career or has some financial problems that he cannot share with you and thats why he is running away and shutting the door behind him !!

if so I advice you to give him the time he need to get out from his cave and share your life again

Or you might be criticising him alot or nagging about stuff he not intersted in ; that makes him not ready to hear any word even if its a complement or a routine question as "how was your day ?"

if so I advice you to write him a letter with love telling him how much you love him and 10 exact things you love about him and avoide any word that might bother him and please pour some perfume on it , it wont hurt if he get home finding his favourit food around


anyway I advice you to read these books

"highly sensitive personality" by Elaine Aron

"act like a lady think like a man" by steve harvey

and if you still haven't read the book "men are from mars , women are from venus " I realy recommend you to read it


thats all

with love


Married couples should not allow the circumstances of this world tear them apart.


Truly, the pressure of work, school, children, church, in-laws, friends, finances, and other activities, takes a toll on the married couples. However, to be happy and successful, the husband and wife must band together, and not pull apart. Constant cooperation is a must for any happy home. Husband; learn to cooperate with your wife. If your wife has a better suggestion or game plan, learn to humble yourself and adopt her plan. Also, wife, if your husband is stressed out, that is not the time to unload more issues on him.

I am still in the marriage, mainly because he has decided to make some changes and try harder.  I want to stay married, but not if it's simply miserable.

My husband has also heard those 'tones' even though 99.9% of them were NOT meant that way.  Most of the time I'm not sure what he's reacting to, but I've also come to think it might actually be my fault.  Regardless of what the words are or how I've said them, I think sometimes it does sound condescending or patronizing to him.  I  sincerely didn't mean it that way, but that's how it came across to him.  I am trying harder not to do it and he's a good sport most of the time when I slip up (I am, admittedly, a horrible know-it-all). 


I saw your comment that 'he' is making changes and going to try harder.  Things are generally not all one-sided (lol, I had to dig deep to admit that one myself....).  He may be over-reacting to 'perceived tones', but perhaps you need to do a little self-check and figure out if the way you express some things may be contributing to the problem.  I've got to say, 'Good job dear' does sound like a pat on the head to a 3 year old -I'd certainly be insulted.  It sounds like something Hyacinth Bucket (bouquet) -'Keeping Up Appearances' (Brit comedy on PBS)- would say and think she's being generous -no, downright magnanimous.....


I wish you luck and hope you all can work this out.   

Just to put this one to rest, I never actually said the words "good job, dear" to my husband.  I used that as a metaphor for the fact that even very positive words got a very negative reaction. 


Over Sixty, you are right, it's never that one sided and yes I certainly have my faults.  What makes it so upsetting when he does this is that he would stay mad for hours or days over it, even if I apologized ( and I even apologize sometimes when I don't think I'm wrong, lol)  The reaction seems way out of proportion to the "crime" in my opinion.


Let me give you one example of a time that this trait made me so mad I could cheerfully have chocked him.  I  found out that he had started smoking again, after we had both quit five years ago.   He had repeatedly lied to me about it, including the day that I presented him with the irrefutable evidence, he had just sworn to me that he was not smoking and basically said if I were a good wife I would quit questioning him about it.  I held none of that against him, forgave him, and did not mention it again, (well, you have to read the rest of the story).


Less than three weeks later he came back from the store with tomato seeds and all the stuff to start them.  When I saw the stuff I said, "I'm just wondering why you bought Better Boy seeds when you can get the plants anywhere".  What I meant by that was that I would like to start some varieties that we have trouble finding here (We live in a very small town in a very rural area), which I would have explained if given a chance.  He simply exploded, he was tired of hearing that tone in my voice, he didn't care if I thought raising tomatoes from seeds was stupid, or that he was stupid and on and on and on!  He would not listen to a word I said, he stayed mad for days and even when hostilities ended he still would not let me say a damn word about the tomato seeds.  


The very, very worst thing about all of that is that it finally made me so angry at the unfairness that I broke my word to myself and brought up the lies.


So, when I say that he is going to try harder, I'm sorry but I think he needed to.  You're entitled to your opinion. 

Hey Pam-


I think you're married to my husband!  It's amazing to me how a simple, innocuous statement can set off a blaze.  It does sound like he was already expecting an objection about his tomato seed project and you probably didn't need to do much more than look at his 'stuff' to set him off about it.  His response was over the top, but, even to me, the way you began posing your question of the seeds sounded like criticism even though you didn't mean it that way.  I've done the same thing a number of times and gotten similar responses.  Actually, in many of those instances I think he's defensive because he's already started to realize 'it' is really dumb or worse.  He always gets maddest when he knows he's wrong. 


Has anything happened to cause both of you to become so reactive?  You all have invested 21 years.  Have you will talked to a counselor?  If not, I hope you will consider doing so -even if it means going by yourself.  It's something I feel I need to do myself too.  An objective view could help I'm sure.  It's a big step, and one I haven't been able to face yet, but if you are seriously considering divorce I hope you will try it first.


I wish you the best of luck and will pray for a good resolution.


I'm sorry, but where are you getting that I'm reactive?  Despite him lying to me repeatedly I honestly just moved on, no recriminations, for the lying or the sneaking to have his cigarettes which had me wondering if he was meeting someone else.  Then he flips over something which could be taken as criticism!


We have seen counselors, most recently about two years ago, at which one of my major complaints was that he never wanted to do anything with me.  It took another year and a half to find out the reason why was because he couldn't smoke if we were together.  If he's lying to the counselor, what good does it do?


I'm not throwing in the towel but I feel like I've been the one fighting for this relationship, alone, for years.  I'm alway trying to make things right, be a "better wife", make him happy. And it's often met with outright hostility.  I want him to start trying to make me happy.  Is that so wrong? 

I think both of you need to sit down and talk... Calmly. Find a quiet time and place, hold hands and start your subject with positive and loving sentences. Even though some times it can be challenging due to the pinned up frustrations, invite him to discover new was of communicating and you both should attend a retreat, read a relationship book together.... Something in that matter. Be nice, no matter what. Bite your tongue if you have to, of course as long as he's not abusing you. DON'T GIVE UP! Marriage is for life and everything can be delt with and worked on... Except death.


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Episode 588: How to Stop Arguments in Its Tracks

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