1717. Incompatibility: Red Flag Reaction and Recovery

Following two companion articles — 1715  and 1716 — this post describes how wives can uncover the causes, react, and hopefully ‘doctor’ relationship ailments.

Spotting a red flag, a wife’s first and most persistent urge is to talk about it, discuss, bring it into the open. I caution against doing that. A better way exists; wives can exploit female abilities that are foreign to the male nature.

If wives knew men better, they would avoid the female impulse to talk about what’s wrong with their man. Invariably, they accuse husband, and it’s the worst start up to alleviate or relieve wifely concerns. It initiates competition and divides them and pushes them away from cooperation and unity. The masculine urge to prove her wrong overpowers husbandly responsibility to pay strict attention, please her, respect her, admit that she may be right, promise to change himself, or do better next time.

Her attempts to discuss will be met by his feeling accused, which puts him on defense. Even if he isn’t guilty of an offense being discussed, it re-activates previous or reminds of disconnected feelings of guilt, which put him on defense and make her wrong from the get-go. When she wants to force a talk, he wants to take a walk. That’s not a friendly starting point.

Her accusations inflict guilt, and men won’t tolerate their woman inflicting guilt upon them. It starts all of a man’s defensive guns blazing, whether she’s able to detect it or not. Too much guilt inflicted by wife makes her expendable, and he relieves guilt by dumping her and forgetting his role. So, how much is too much? Who knows? Wife is better off to never start it. (Of course it’s tough for her to live without spotlighting things that he does wrong, but she has better ways than through discussion and inflicting guilt.)

I know counselors suggest addressing an issue directly, because they’re employed to referee. And women like to consult them and pastors to help confirm husband’s fault. Husbands mightily resist seeing outsiders.

However, women are sensitive to nuances and red flags don’t carry hopelessness. If they do, wife was remiss in not recognizing the symptoms or not doing something about it. If the situation isn’t hopeless, wife is the person best endowed with the diagnostic and recuperative skills to restore rips or pieces of compatibility torn from the marital fabric. She needs no outside referee and does better by herself with self-encouragement, self-confidence, and dedication to preserve her marriage. (It all becomes much easier when husband isn’t invited to think that he’s wrong, accused, or expected to change.)

Any wife can spot potential threats to her marriage. How she handles any situation determines the outcome. If she starts by blaming him (even if he cheats) or tries to induce guilt, she gets off on the wrong foot. Many WWNH blog articles describe better ways to resolve tough issues. (You’ll find help in daily posts by searching the CONTENTS page for these terms: red flag, cheater, and divorce.)

Proceed carefully from this point on. Study twice or thrice before disregarding it.

Let’s suppose a wife detects a red flag. The cause isn’t evident. So, she identifies the cause by using her natural female diagnostic skills, rather than listening to husband’s explanations likely marred by alibis, fear, anger at being suspected or caught, and distaste for discussing his problems with females.

A simple weakness follows wives that seek outside help from family and girlfriends. She can’t stop complaining or explaining until someone tells her what to do, someone else tells her what course of action will likely solve her problem. The more she exposes about him and discloses her own incompetence, the more she expects and relies on what other people say. Factually, the outsider doesn’t know nearly enough about either wife or husband. Individuals are too complex for outsiders to know more than ‘insiders’. Why should a wife trust someone else’s opinion about the likely effect of wife doing so and so?

No one knows husband and wife as a team better than wife does. Therefore, without consulting others, especially girlfriends, wife’s patience can enable her to stay focused, plant seeds, and use feminine guile to flush out the source of her problems. Making him discuss and admit mistakes makes her feel good about herself, and so women do it to a fault (WADWMUFGAO).

While direct discussion makes her feel good about herself, confronting or trying to get husband involved works against her best interest. Men have great resistance to change, and they at least avoid the appearance of changing either character or personal behavior. Consequently, getting husband involved or to admit red flag causes actually compounds the issue with other husbandly interests, such as competitiveness, urge to win, and natural drive to dominate any discussion about who or what he is. By disregarding outside opinions, she’s much freer and judgmentally able to make female-friendly, wife-protective, and cooperation-enhanced decisions to help restore her marital harmony.

Whatever the cause of a red flag, she’s best endowed and ideally equipped to ‘fix’ it. She’s also the better decision-maker, relationship maintenance expert, and change agent when she can do it all by herself. In the final analysis, God designed us to age through experience, from which we learn we can live with anything. The less outside influence wife seeks or pressure she feels, the freer she is to resolve or live with it.

I suggest that wives keep a closer than accustomed watch on their relationship. Good intentions can too easily deceive oneself about how others receive intended benefits. Don’t look for mistakes or problems, but look for changes that signal one mate getting out of touch with the other. A wife’s first realization should be this: She is probably the cause of changes that appear in her marriage. Not to blame her, but to spotlight this fact: She is more interested and flexible than he is and likely to change her behavior in order to improve her marriage. However, quite often the best of intentions register as sour on the target audience, such as husbands that aren’t all that eager to see wife instigate marital changes.

This hasn’t been a grading sheet. Neither is it a condemnation of husbandly behavior. Perhaps hard to see it this way, but it’s a salute to the overwhelming ability of women to figure out and produce what’s best for them, home, kids, husband, marriage, and relationship. Unfortunately, wives get far too little feedback that what they do is right. If she gets dropped or divorced, she didn’t do a good job and everybody knows it. If her marriage survives, she did an excellent job. However, nobody but she and God know how marvelous her efforts, how conscientious her spirit, how broad and deep that responsibilities took her, how solid her defense of home, and how energetic the pursuit of her hopes and dreams.

In the final analysis, the quality of a woman’s life always depends on her figuring out what she faces and concocting a counterbalancing force against it. God designs, Nature endows, and hormones equip her to do it even alone.


Filed under How she wins

2 responses to “1717. Incompatibility: Red Flag Reaction and Recovery

  1. Princess

    Mr. Guy – thank you for the post and continuing to educate me. In your post you mentioned how women follow advise and look for other to provide feedback – we also take the advise of many relationship books that talk about talking, having open discussions and intimately drawing boundaries. These advices are / have not been useful, I will agree that the more couples talk the more issues arise and less gets resolved. In my case I have followed the typical advise to talk and figure things out- this has helped very little. I share this because there is no middle for women – we either want to talk and we shut down completely. How can someone draw the line? In your previous post you mentioned how women need to make sure that there is a balance in between self respect and standing up (subtle way). How can one do this without affecting the ego / male competitiveness. My husband is a high power alpha male; any issues that I bring are completely rejected and he starts to withdraw and spends less time with us. He makes it to me my job to come to him to clean up whatever mess we have – wether he or I caused itI.

    Your Highness Princess,

    You say he’s an alpha male, high power too. Well, why do you mention the messes? If he creates them, his confidence justifies it and he expects someone else that he’s ‘hired’ to clean up after him (yes, you). If he didn’t, it’s of little concern to him. Why don’t you just clean up the messes and forget to mention them? Disturb his comfort, take away his reasons for withdrawing and see what happens.

    No promises, but you may find he takes a greater interest in what you do.


  2. Katarina

    I can’t provide the personal details, because they are far too personal, but you are right about women being the best able to figure out how to improve the marriage relationship, all by themselves. It’s really frightening, lonely, exhausting, bewildering, etc., to go it without support groups, gab sessions, counselors, how-to books. God plus her is the best way. I don’t know how you know this stuff, Guy, and it goes against most of what we hear today. But it’s true.

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