How to Avoid Fighting with Wife

How to Avoid Fighting with Wife I received the following from a married client fighting sexual addiction: "Right now I battle knowing how not to fight with my wife. We fight a lot. Most of the time it is about little things (did I wash my hands, bed time routine, helping with our son) or medium sized things (where we live, looking for a new job to get closer to family, etc). Rarely do we fight about the big things (my addiction, our marriage, etc) because there is nothing to fight about. I just sit and take it in. I don't have any excuses for my actions. When my wife opens up she'll say that because of my addiction, all other things that bug her that I do are much harder to handle and much more annoying. It makes everything else worse. So when we fight over stupid things, even though it may not come up, I know the root of the argument is my addiction to porn. "Putting it all together, we often fight but there is nothing that I can say or do because I caused the underlying problem in our marriage. Then I start putting all blame on me and I continue down my slide to depression, misery, anger, all emotions prepping me for another lost battle. You can imagine how hard it was for me to win battles when I fought battles for my wife because we often fight and that leads to the blame getting put on me for everything. That leads to me battling negative emotions. "I often get blamed for not doing enough. then when I really try to help out or be proactive in some area or aspect, I do it wrong or don't do it fast enough or don't do it good enough. I have to clean up after you." "I have to fix all the things you do wrong." "I could have done it faster." "It is easier if I just do it." "Oh thanks do you think I wanted this for dinner?" If we end up fighting about it, and if we fight long enough, the final blame gets put on me because of my porn addiction. "Does this sound familiar? have you seen this before? please because we really struggle with this. Perhaps the biggest help that I can get now is knowing how not to fight after I've caused so much pain and heartache in our marriage. I am the one who caused this. Bottom line, I feel trapped in this addiction no matter what day I'm on." Unfortunately, yes, this does sound familiar.  So familiar that I thought many could benefit from learning about your experience. You have done a pretty good job of assessing what the problem is. Much of your wife's emotional negativity would probably not be there if you were not losing battles of a sexual nature.  I am sad for what you are experiencing, but you are underestimating what your brain is capable of handling.
Our religion teaches us to "Be Like Jesus".  A common theme of Jesus' life was to be mistreated for things that were not his fault.  The mystery, "Why didn't he fight back?"  I especially like to look closely at his last day of mortality.  When they were so mean to him before they crucified him, why did he not fight back?  I wish there was more written about this, but the one phrase that echos in my mind is his response.  In my own words I hear him saying, "I know who I am." 
As I look at my own marriage and situations that could turn into arguments,  a common experience is to have some type of Satanic flash that gives me a surge of chemicals and feelings that are in direct response to something my wife does or says.  Increasingly over time, the legitimacy of these feelings are more "valid" every time.  I have had to put some steps into action in order to work through this pattern successfully. 1) Notice the "hit".  There is always some kind of slam to my chest in these moments.  When I remember that I am having a chemical experience, I handle it better.
2) Duct tape.  This is a signal to myself to not open my mouth…no matter what.  Being hit with a flood of chemicals is going to decrease the likelihood that I choose my words accurately.
3) Remember who you are.  If I am misunderstood by those around me, I must remember who I am and why I do what I do.  I know that I want to get life right.  I know I want to be of service to others.  I know I want to make the world a better place. 
4) Remember my wife only "misbehaves" (handles something without dignity) when she is in pain.  I use this time not to stir blame within myself, but to stir compassion within myself for her.  (see other blog post "hit by a truck"). 
5) Remember you can only be a friend, not a surgeon.   It is not your place as a spouse to fix or heal the pain your wife is going through.  Leave that work to God and the professionals.  Your job is to be near, be hopeful, be supportive, be kind.
6) Just keep doing good, not because she gives you credit for it, but because you are, by definition, a good man.  Work to please your God, not your wife.  Every time you get angry and argue, you are poking at the wounds, which will take them longer to heal.

About Maurice W. Harker, LPC

Director of Life Changing Services, Director of Sons of Helaman, Facilitator of the WORTH group, Consultant for the Daughters of Light program.