benjamin

2nd Marriage Help?

63 posts in this topic

Hi Ben! Welcome!

 

Can you give us some idea of the issues in your marriage? How long have you been married, and when did the problems start? Any kids (his, hers, ours)? How old? The more info we have, the more we can help you.

 

We strongly recommend that couples do an APS test to determine their individual temperaments. Many of the problems in a marriage are simply differences in temperament, which are easily dealt with as long as both husband and wife are willing.

 

I will tell you right off the bat that our take on marriage is based on Ephesians 5:25 ... Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. So think about it ... are you doing that? Honestly?

 

It's been our experience that women have no trouble respecting a husband who is truly loving her the way God has commanded him to love her. When you start doing that, you may find that many of her issues will disapper. Mind you, we're not letting her off the hook ... we'll help her with whatever is going on with her, if she'll let us ... but many of the things women do are in response to what's going on in their marriage. When they feel safe and loved, it's easier for them to work on their own stuff.

 

 

 

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Mostly our marriage is lacking intimacy and I'm not sure why.  I haven't heard of an ape test, is that something I do here?

 

This is both of our second marriage.  She is 8 years younger then me.  Her kids are mid teens and live with us.  Mine are grown and out of the house.  I came a Christian after I met her and started going to church with her.  We are married 6 years next month.  We are roommates and I get very frustrated.  My first marriage ended cause I had an affair, and I don't want this one to happen like that, but I have needs too.

 

Ben

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Hi Ben,   We can definitely help you get your APS test done.  If possible, it will be most valuable if we can get your wife's done also.  Then we can look at both of them in comparison to help you both understand each other better.

 

As to the other issues, you have brought up.  Two of the first things I recommend:

 

One analyze your listening skills.  Often, we are hearing our wives speak, but not actually listening.  It is very common for us guys to interrupt our wives train of thought.  Notice, I did not say, interrupt her speaking. - There is a very big difference.  Besides the obvious speech interruption, another thing we guys do is actually break their thought patterns.  What most women do, will be to speak for a bit and then phase.  What is happening is that they are processing.....   we notice this pause and tend to jump in with a solution.  Its can be with the best intentions.  We may have the fix for the issue.  However, two things happen when we do this.  One - we imply that we think our wives are not capable of solving the issue themselves and reduce their self esteem.  And two, we actually short circuit the problem solving process in their brains, so often even though your suggestions may be good, they actually never work out the issues for themselves.

 

Second thing I would like you to do is make a list of 5-10 things that you can do to work on the marriage.  In other words, we know both you and your wife need to work on issues, but right now, I'm not concerned with the things she does that you want changes.  I want you to think of things you might do that would bother her.

 

Come back here and post those things for me.  In the mean time, I'll privately email you the APS test forms with instructions, we can do it all online for simplicity sake.

 

In His service....TimothyPaul

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Hi Ben - Received your APS tests yesterday.  Give me a few days to process and we will chat about the results and how they play a role in your marriage.

 

 

TP

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I'm gonna add something to Tim's list for you ... if I talked to your wife, what are the top three things she would say are problems in your marriage? They may be very different from what you think are the problems in your marriage.

 

If you have difficulty answering this question, then I would strongly second Tim's suggestion to look at your listening skills. I promise that your wife has told you, probably multiple times. We women are wired that way ... we want good relationships, and it's a rare woman who will not try to tell her husband why she's unhappy.

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You're right, I don't listen very well. When I thought about it, I realized that I am usually planning what to say next instead of really listening to what she is saying.

 

Things I can do to help my marriage: listen better, help more around the house, take her out to dinner, be more involved with her kids, pay more attention to her.

 

Things she would say are the problems: I am not "really there" (not sure what she means by that), I don't spend time with her, I don't help around the house.

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Hey Ben,

 

We have the results of your and your wife's APS tests.

 

You: Melancholy compulsive - Melancholy - Sanguine compulsive

 

Your wife: Sanguine - Choleric compulsive - Sanguine Phlegmatic

 

I promise this will all make sense eventually. ;)

 

I need to run now, but Tim or I will be back a bit later to start explaining all of this.

TimothyPaul likes this

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OK, let's start with Temperament 101. :)

 

You'll notice in my post above that you both have 3 temperaments listed. That's because there are 3 areas that the test measures - inclusion, control, and affection. The results are listed in that order.

 

Inclusion applies to casual social interaction ... the people you work with, the clerk at the grocery store, the people who come in and out of our lives every day. Your inclusion temperament determines how many people you approach for social interaction, and how many people you would like to approach you. It also determines your intellectual energy, whether you relate better to tasks or to people, and how impulsive you may or may not be.

 

Control is exactly what it sounds like ... how much power you want in a relationship, and how much power you are willing to let others have.

 

Affection applies to close personal relationships ... spouse, family, and friends who are considered family. Unlike inclusion, affection applies to those with whom you have some sort of emotional connection. Your affection temperament determines how many close, personal relationships you are willing to have and how you relate to those relationships.

 

The interesting thing is that it's your control temperament that drives the other two. In other words, your control temperament will, to a certain extent, change how your other temperaments are expressed.

 

Make sense? Please let us know if you have any questions as we move along ... it's important that you really understand this stuff so that you can apply it to your life.

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When we score an APS, there are 2 scores in each area ... the expressed score, which is how you present to other people, and the wanted score, which is what you want from other people.

 

Today I'm going to talk about your inclusion temperament. Please remember that these things are the things that tend to be true of the people who answered the questions the way you did. The APS is about 95% accurate, so there may be a few things that don't seem to fit. There may be a few things that were true in the past, but for whatever reason, they don't apply now. All of that is OK.

 

No temperament is better or worse than another. They are simply different. God has created all of us with different strengths and challenges in order to accomplish His will here on earth.

 

You are Melancholy compulsive in inclusion. Compulsive means that this area is extreme for you ... melancholy times ten. Your scores in this area were 0/0, which means you do not want to approach others for social interaction, and you do not want others to approach you.

 

Melancholies are introverts. People often describe them as loners, but I really don't like that word, because it suggest someone who is unable and/or totally unwilling to socialize. In reality, most melancholies are friendly and personable, depending on the situation. The important concept is that melancholies are not energized by being with people. Socializing drains them. Therefore, they are usually very selective about when, and with whom, they socialize. After being with people, they need time alone to recharge their batteries.

 

Melancholies are thinkers. They have a brain that never shuts off. They are generally very intelligent and creative. Most of the world's best artists, writers, and composers are/were melancholies.

 

They are very task oriented. They prefer to work at a steady pace and to follow a schedule.

 

They tend to be perfectionistic of both themselves and other people.

 

They are capable of following a concept to its logical conclusion, and will usually point out the potential negatives of any project. They are also very skilled at coming up with a solution for those negatives.

 

Melancholies are homebodies. They don't enjoy crowds, and if they're at a party it's usually because, for some reason, they have to be. They'd rather be home reading or working on a project, preferably by themselves.

 

Because they tend towards pessimism and because they are always thinking, a melancholy's thoughts often turn negative. His mood will follow his thoughts. When he is thinking negatively, he will tend to struggle with depression.

 

Melancholies tend to have low self esteem and to believe that they are worthless and unloveable. They will tend to reject others before others can reject them. This is the temperament most likely to suffer from addiction or psychosomatic illness.

 

They also struggle with anger. Melancholies tend to keep records of wrongs, and are quite skilled at plotting, and sometimes carrying out, revenge.

 

 

How much of this sounds like you? Anything that doesn't seem to fit? Ask your wife to read it ... does she think it sounds like you?

 

Next time I'll go over her inclusion temperament, and then we can compare them and begin to understand where the areas of conflict might be.

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Good! It's always nice when it works. ;)

 

Now on to your wife's inclusion temperament.

 

Your wife is sanguine in inclusion. Her expressed score is 7 and her wanted score is 8. You can already guess by those numbers that her temperament in this area is pretty much the opposite of yours.

 

Sanguines are people people. They thrive on social interaction, and become depressed and anxious if they don't get it. They go to church functions, the mall, parties ... if people are there, they will be too. If they are forced to be alone, they will usually have the tv or radio on, be reading a novel, or be on Facebook ... anything that gives them the feeling that there are people around.

 

Sanguines talk a lot. They love to be the center of attention. They like color, both in their clothing and their environment.

 

They are impulsive. They are not good at planning and scheduling, and prefer to fly by the seat of their pants.

 

They are unquenchable optimists. No matter what's going on, they know it will get better soon. If they begin to feel depressed, a change of environment will improve their mood.

 

They are usually creative, but are not deep thinkers. They get bored easily, and are quickly on to the next thing. It's not unusual for a sanguine to have multiple projects in various stages of completion. They often do not finish what they start.

 

Their excitement and enthusiasm can motivate others to join a group, start a project, or buy something. They are often very good salespeople.

 

Sanguines do not relate well to tasks. They are notoriously bad at following through with paperwork, household chores, etc., and will happily abandon those things to be with people.

 

They tend to exaggerate, which can progress to outright lying, in order to get attention. They also tend to get mad easily, but it's over quickly and ten minutes later, they won't remember what they were mad about.

 

Sanguines are the temperament most likely to follow the crowd, whether the crowd is doing something good or not. They fear rejection and desperately need attention and approval. If good behavior doesn't get those needs met, they are quite capable of using bad behavior to do so.

 

 

 

Does this sound like her? Ask her to read it. What does she think?

 

When you compare your inclusion temperaments, I'm sure you can already see plenty of areas of potential conflict. Which ones are causing problems now?

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Hi. I'm Ben's wife.

 

This is really, really interesting! Yes, what you've described so far sounds like us.

 

I love Ben, but I'm not sure I can keep going on like this. Ben is moody and in his own little world most of the time. I might as well not be married. If I'm gonna be on my own anyway, then I might as well really be on my own, ya know?

 

I've tried to do everything right, but things just seem to keep getting worse. I hope you can help us.

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well, i kinda read through this temperament stuff again last night.  I read through what you wrote on my wifes.  So what you are saying is she needs to learn to be happy staying home with me.  Because I'm compulsive at being left alone and she is not.  

 

Yesteray in the church announcement they are having a couples bowling party in a few weeks.  She wants to go but I hate those things.  I don't bowl good - and I feel stupid.  Last time we went to a church function i just sat around.  She was having fun and i wanted to go home so we ended up fighting.  it took her hours to say goodbye and i just kept waiting and waiting.  finally I just went to the car and she comes out and says I embarrassed her in front of the church friends.    So this time i said we can't go  i don't want to fight again.  She shouldn't go without me, she said she would but that won't look good to church people, you know a wife out without her husband.  And did you see what she rote above - she wants to be without me anyway.  

 

Ben

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So what you are saying is she needs to learn to be happy staying home with me.  Because I'm compulsive at being left alone and she is not.

 

 

Umm ... nope.

 

Isabella ... I totally understand where you're coming from, and yes, we can help you, as long as you are both willing to learn. :)

 

Let's talk about the church function that Ben mentioned, where he ended up sitting in the car. I'd like you both to read through your, and each other's, inclusion temperaments again. Can you see why that happened? At this point, I'm not going to talk about how to solve a problem like that. We will get to that, because we're going to deal with the church function that's happening in a few weeks. Right now, what I'm looking for is understanding.

 

Ben, do you see why Isabella "took forever to say goodbye?"

 

Isabella, do you see why Ben eneded up sitting in the car?

 

I need both of you to post your thoughts, so we can clear up any misunderstandings before we move forward.

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If I understand this correctly, Ben went to the car because he doesn't want or need people around him. Being around all those people kind of sucked him dry? He got mad at me because he wanted to go home and be by himself, and I wanted to stay with my friends.

 

But my temperament says I need to be with people, so what am I supposed to do?

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We'll get to what to do in a bit, after we hear from Ben. :)

 

You are correct. God created Ben with a temperament that does not need or particularly want people around him. Being with people drains him. So at your church function, he (probably pretty quickly) got to the point where he'd had enough, and he just wanted to get out of there.

 

The thing I really want you to understand is that these needs are not conscious choices. God wired Ben this way for a particular reason. It's not something he's choosing to do in order to drive you crazy. Temperament needs are legitimate and will be met, one way or the other. The only question is whether they will be met in godly or ungodly ways.

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Hey Ben, I want to throw some thoughts out there for you to think about. One, being Melancholy in inclusion does not necessarily mean you don't like being with people, or are not sociable. That's a common misunderstanding of an "introvert". I have seen many melancholy people be the "life of the party". What it does mean though, is that it does take energy to be sociable and it will require some time to recharge after an event. Reflecting on your post, I would think that was more of an ego issue. Kinda of like, I couldn't get my way so I'll go feel sorry for myself and make Isabelle feel guilty. Not saying that is 100% accurate, but maybe something to consider.

Two, on the upcoming event, what would be a Christ like way, to meet Isabelle's desire to go to the event. Think about the comment you made about "feeling stupid". Can you read Genesis 2 and 3, and then Ephesians 5:25-32, and put that into the context of this event?

In His service....TP

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Ben, this process really does work better if you post regularly and answer our questions, OK? :)

 

Isabella, while we're waiting for Ben, let's talk about some of the things you might be able to do to get a little peace for yourself. Remember that, ultimately, you can only change you. Much as we all want Ben to participate in this process and make the changes he needs to make, we can't make any promises that he will do so. That's totally up to him.

 

So ... tell me about your typical day. Do you work outside the home? Ben said you have teenagers ... are they in school all day, or are they homeschooled? Do you have any close girlfriends ... the spill-your-guts kind? Do you do anything socially other than church events?

 

Since you're married to a melancholy in inclusion, you will probably be more at peace if you can find acceptable (to God, your husband, and yourself) ways to get some of your social needs met without involving Ben. Please don't misunderstand me here ... I am not suggesting that you always see people and go places by yourself. But since socializing energizes you and drains Ben, some compromise in this area might smooth out some of the bumps.

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Hello - sorry i was very busy at work this week.

 

Well - would it be okay to go to the event and decide before we go that we stay a set time?  I can be good for a while if I know we are going to leave.  

 

ahhh - yea - I think you are right on the other thing.  I think I was trying to make her feel bad.  I didn't see that before.  I guess thats something I need to work on.  My mom used to do that to me a lot.  She wold be like with her friends and if i wanted something she would tell me to shush up and wait.  So when Isabelle does that i kinda get upset.  But no - I don't see why she too long to come out.

 

So I don't get it - I thought because I became a Christian and I was going to church with her that God put us together.  If we are so different, why would he do that?

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Hey Ben, it's OK ... but you are paying for this, so you might as well get your money's worth. ;) It really doesn't take that long to post, and then we can keep moving forward.

 

The idea of attending the event for a set amount of time sounds like a perfect compromise to me. Talk to Isabella about it. My guess is that she will suggest a time that is longer than you have in mind, so you'll have to haggle. Remember that she needs time to socialize ... she is not making you go in order to torture you. ;)

 

Ephesians 5:25 says  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her ... (NIV, emphasis mine). How can you apply that in this situation?

 

As for why she took so long to come out at the last function ... read through her inclusion temperament again. Sanguines need socialization as much as you need your down time. Think about how much you dislike going to these type of events and being forced to socialize. She feels the same way about having to leave the event and go home ... and I am NOT saying that she doesn't want to go home and be with you, so don't take that personally. She simply enjoys ... and needs ... more people around than you do.

 

I am guessing ... and please correct me if I'm wrong ... that once you got home, Isabella was pretty much on her own. You were mad at her, and you'd been around a bunch of people, so I'd bet money that you holed up somewhere for the rest of the night. If your teenagers are typical, they had headphones in or were online and most likely didn't interact with her much. She would have known that was likely to happen ... she knows you and the kids well ... and so she dragged her feet getting out of there because she knew she'd be alone once she did. For a sanguine, being alone is depressing.

 

Does that make sense? Again, I'm not talking about what either of you could have done differently in that situation. I just want to be sure you understand.

 

And right now I'm talking about this strictly from a temperament perspective ... what you both need based on how you are wired. Obviously our upbringing and experiences play into how that temperament is expressed. Your insight about your interaction with your mom is a great example of that. Once you really understand your and Isabella's temperament, it makes it a little easier to see how and why you might do the things you do.

 

As for why God would put oppposites together, that's a whole long discussion that we will be getting into as we go along. The short answer, though, is that if you were both exactly the same, one of you would be unnecessary. You have strengths Isabella doesn't have, and vice versa. You each also have challenges that the other doesn't have. We've found that the strongest marriages are actually between opposites ... as long as you can resist the urge to shoot each other. :P

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I don't work outside the home. My kids are in public school, and so most of my day involves shuffling them around between school, sports, and band. After I drop them off in the morning, I usually go home, and I'm there until it's time to pick them up. I try to keep up with chores, but to be honest I'm not the best housekeeper. Ben usually asks me what on earth I did all day.

 

I do have one close girlfriend, but she works so she's not available to talk during the day, and then she has the same kid craziness that I do. It's hard to get together.

 

I really don't do much other than church events. Ben really doesn't like to go places, and he doesn't like it if I go without him. He thinks I should just stay home all day and clean.

 

I have to tell you it made me feel so much better to learn that my temperament is not good at tasks. I really thought there was something wrong with me. Ben seems to think there is. His mom kept the house spotless, and he wants the same thing. He doesn't really yell at me, but he makes a lot of nasty little comments, like wondering why it's so hard to ___. Even when I do try really hard, he's never happy with what I do. I'll confess I've gotten to the point where I wonder why I even bother. I know that's the wrong attitude to have, but what's the point? No matter what I do, he's not going to like it. And don't even get me started on him and the kids. He's never happy with them either.

 

The kids and I would like to get a dog, but Ben says we can't until we can learn to clean up after ourselves first. :(

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Hey Ben

 

- I want you to try something pretty simple today.  I just want you to think of Isabella's needs first.  Go back and read through what Cindy said about her temperament.  And when you run into a situation where you feel even the slightest bit anxious, think, "what does she need from me?"  Our natural tendency is to put ourselves first.  Its the way we are brought up.  See if you can start to break that cycle and put Isabelle first.

 

Second - I'd like you to start thinking about your relationship with Christ.  Who are you to God? - Where does your strength come from? - See if you can think about anything you've learned from the Bible and from church that defines that identity?  Let me know!

 

TP

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Hello Cindy and Tim

 

So we did the bowling thing Sunday night.  It was pretty good.  There was a guy from church and we hung out and talked so i did not feel bad.  Actually I had a good time.  Isabella seemed to have a good time too i  think.   We didnt fight or anything.  I tried to be aware that she needed to hang out with her friends and so i pretty much gave her space to be ok doing what she wanted to do.  I was trying to do what you said before - think about what she may need.  I'm just so used to thinking of myself first its kinda hard.  I hope Isabella sees i was trying.  Sometimes I think Im doing pretty good but then later i found out i did something to get her mad.

 

I was thinking about what you said Tim.  About the God thing.  I don't get it though.  I know when i got baptized I was forgiven about all the things i did before that were sin and bad but i still do things that aren't good.  I get mad at myself.  I no everyone says God loves me but I dont feel it. - i guess i need some help with that.  what should i do.

 

thnk you Ben

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