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

12 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.


    • Amazing Gracee

      Sir Guy

      Would your advice be different prior to marriage?

      Your Highness Amazing Gracee,

      Not at all. In fact dating and courtship are the arenas in which a gal figures out and practices on men. She’s better prepared to handle each man as prospect or husband.

      Thanks for spotlighting article 1717. It’s good enough and old enough for a re-post.


  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.

  3. Dear Sir Guy,
    I discovered your blog recently and have really enjoyed it and agree with your thoughts (thank you for taking the time to pen them all) on how is best for women to create her happiness.
    Now, my fiance and I have been too physical in the past because I wasn’t hard headed enough. But every time he repented with more and more humility and devotion. And I have always definitely been hardheaded enough to withhold sex.
    The problem is one that has been there from the beginning, namely that he doesn’t do much planning or thinking about spending one on one time with me. Time with guy friends or being hard at work takes up most of his time (5 nights out of 5 ‘play’ nights this past week, with me being squeezed once for a movie). Yesterday I was feeling sad about yet another evening he had already booked, and he used the phrase “I hate getting in trouble with you.”
    Well that means I’ve done something wrong and been too critical and too direct. Is it too late, now that we HAVE successfully progressed into a chaste relationship, for him to care about pleasing me? Have I ruined his respect for me in a way he may not really be aware of (with being unchaste/nagging) Any tips on recovery besides letting him decide and initiate time spent together?

    Thank you.

    Your Highness Caitlinshea3,

    Welcome aboard. It’s a great day when another pretty woman joins us on this cruise to WhatWomenNeverHear.

    No, you haven’t ruin his respect. He hates getting in trouble with you, but 1) it so seldom happens; 2) he can recover easily, or 3) it plants guilt on you, which makes you try harder to please him. (From what else you say, I pick all three.) And so he continues in comfort with his buds and donates minimum time to you. Men are naturally inclined to play with buds and are lazy in relationships. His thinking needs reconditioning and only a well-respected, likeable and attractive-to-him woman can do it. If you’re not that woman, you need to find out sooner rather than later.

    Until you change to determine if he’s Mr. Good Enough or just a passing boyfriend, he’s not likely to change. I suggest you add pressure to see where his heart truly lies, see if it will ever be truly dedicated to you. See if he’s into wordy commitment to have a girlfriend or if he has the potential for devotion to you. So, I suggest you change your behavior to include the following:

    • Quit being readily available. Do other things, make other obligations, and do them on a higher priority than waiting for him to come to you. Perhaps date someone else a time or two. He’s not devoted enough when he spends his time with guys. He needs to make some decisions about whether you or his play and buds come first, but you have to force it.

    • Quit being his patsy for companionship, testing you for weaknesses to overcome chastity, and pleasure of knowing you’re his girlfriend.

    • Without accusing or blaming, just withdraw from him. Reduce your interest in his interest. Don’t complain about him and don’t explain yourself. It’s amazing how doubt about his habits elevates a man’s curiosity and fires his imagination to remove the doubt and restore his self-confidence.

    I wish you luck. You are worth more than he treats you at least to some man. He needs to decide if you’re the one for him or not.
    Best wishes,


    • Thanks very much for your thoughts. Can I mention that we are already engaged? It would be hard to date other men. In these circumstances, unfortunately I think I have to determine his devotion and then break it off for good or stay with him for good. That’s a lot of pressure with a short window of opportunity.

      • I’m afraid I sound like I didn’t plan ahead very well. I did believe in his devotion when we got engaged. He simply seems to think we are already married (guy time necessary for preserving his reputation).

      • Cinnamon


        Go to the “Content” section and search for all the articles with “Recovery” in the title, where Sir Guy expands in great detail on how to do this:

        Without accusing or blaming, just withdraw from him. Reduce your interest in his interest. Don’t complain about him and don’t explain yourself. It’s amazing how doubt about his habits elevates a man’s curiosity and fires his imagination to remove the doubt and restore his self-confidence.

        Read and study these articles in great detail. The knowledge will give you the confidence you need to move forward to a brighter future, whether with him or without him.

        Remember, “If you want a better man, become a better woman.” Sir Guy will teach you how 🙂

        Good luck to you.

        • Thanks kindly, Cinnamon.
          I have definitely perused in depth. I will begin to put this all into practice but in the meantime I worry about what will happen and hasn’t happened yet. Very much a woman 😉

          Your Highness Caitlinshea,

          I have a new motto for women. RETURN TO VANITY. Also modesty. Men don’t understand either; both are so feminine as to be mysterious and attractive and generate respect. I suggest you study at the mirror. Take seriously, develop, and practice a better form or art of prettifying yourself for yourself only and do it first thing daily.

          I suggest it for five reasons. Over time, 1) it will return you to using vanity to help yourself. 2) Get your mind off men and onto yourself. (You needn’t worry, they will chase you down when you are a better, more attractive, confident, and fascinating-through-mystery woman. 3) It will stop you worrying “about what will happen and hasn’t happened yet.” 4) It will provide you daily opportunity to teach yourself how to handle PUAs and others both better and how to recover from your mistakes (which everyone makes and from which we all learn). 5) You know in your heart of hearts that you are pretty; exploit it to the fullest or you give up one of your greatest strengths. I don’t mean pretty for men either. I mean reinforce your prettiness for yourself only. Whatever it takes, do it but not radical and stay mainstream.

          After that, study the series on Virtual Virginity in order to strengthen your determination about chastity.


          • Cinnamon


            I have a married (now separated) friend who is doing the WWNH recovery program. The hardest thing is having patience. She has been at it about six months now, and it is a bit of a roller-coaster ride. I tell her that she is not going to really know the probable outcome (whether husband will become a better man) for another year or so, and that she has to keep at it regardless.

            She has told me though that even without feedback from him, by following the WWNH recovery program she has found an inner calmness, confidence, self-control, and self-respect she never knew she had.

            BTW, all her other female friends (excluding myself) are perplexed by why she hasn’t “gone ballistic” on him (apparently they think it would be “empowering” for her to read him the riot act and tell him exactly how she feels). This is why you should follow Sir Guy’s instructions, and NOT listen to the advice of women around you or psychotherapists on the Oprah show.

            So remember: patience, patience, patience.

            Your Highness Caitlin,
            Yes, and see Her Husband’s Wife comment at article 2140. Also, when a guy not totally devoted to a woman knows exactly how she feels, he knows exactly what to do to gain the advantage. So, the “empowering” idea mentioned above is so much bad advice and misdirected BS.

  4. Dear Sir Guy,
    Thanks again for all your feedback. The response from my finance after just a few days of my withdrawal has been tremendous. He has informed me he has never really known just how much he needs me (which I interpret as my cheerful affection, presence, and love). I think when trying to resolve problems, women may try to explain/analyze in detail exactly what’s bothering us, when it’s really much more devotion-generating, effective, and plain fun to let him sit and suffer while he works it out for himself. At least that’s been working for me while he tries to figure out why I’m withdrawn but still cheerful and polite.
    Thank you also for all your posts on money. They strike me as extremely important to the happiness of any marriage.
    Please say a prayer about my finance if you remember, as he will soon be either accepted/rejected to graduate programs.

    Your Highness Caitlinshea3,
    Smart gal. Men easily believe what they figure out and easily fail to believe what they are told. Natural tendencies.

    P.S. It’s expressed this way at Manly Claim from Birth # 11: “I respect myself for being a good ‘figure-outer’. I believe in what I figure out much easier and more indelibly and reliably than what others convince me of.”
    G. /strong>

  5. SouthernBelle

    Sir Guy,

    Would your counsel be the same after long courtship or engagement phase? If he seems to “slack” in how he treats her should she still be indirect in protecting her self interest and self respect.
    My inclination is premarriage at any stage she should be direct in any breaches of her self respect and self interest not letting these occurrences just pass by. Not necessarily in a scolding blaming manner but more indirectly in asserting, reminding him of her expectations of any man worthy of being with her. Is this more feminine or feminist thinking?

    Your Highness SouthernBelle,

    1st para: No, not indirect. Direct until married and they swap his independence for her yielding to support him in his manly endeavors and job life.

    2nd para: I agree with your inclination. They are still competing for a suitable negotiation about what their future together will be like. She can’t give away the store without a fight until she has the second ring.

    It’s more feminine thinking. Feminist thinking is to fear losing him, because she has already abandoned her female nature.


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