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Moment Of Clarity

Couples Counseling: Dressing Down My Hubby

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We understand.  Sometimes, problems with romantic relationships,  friendships, career or family life get you down. And we want to help. That’s why JET is working with therapist, Jinnie Cristerna, who will take your questions and offer some sage, sanity-restoring advice and insight every Tuesday.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

You can submit questions via digitalpitches@ebony.com and don’t fret, we’ll keep your name and identity confidential.

“Dear Jinnie: My husband and I are not speaking right now.  He made a risky financial move I repeatedly warned him wouldn’t work out, but he did it anyway and now we are in the red.  When I tried to discuss it with him, he said he is tired of me dressing him down and embarrassing him to the point where he doesn’t even want to communicate with me about important matters.  What am I doing wrong?  He shouldn’t be mad that I tell him when he’s wrong or point out what could be a dumb mistake.  Isn’t that what a marriage is for? Or does he have a point?”– Signed “Truth Hurts”

Dear “Truth Hurts,”

I am sorry to hear about these issues with your spouse.  I know it must be difficult to be in a position where you two aren’t even communicating.  Without knowing the full extent of the financial issue or seeing the dynamic in person, I’ll do my best to offer some virtual couples counseling.  It sounds like you may have bruised his ego, and while you feel justified, this scenario clearly didn’t pan out the way you planned.  To speak more generally and help you, plus other women in this situation, here are four factors to consider when interacting with your husband for next time.  I also added some coping strategies for good measure:

1) Loyalty is key. Let’s be clear, standing by your man when he is unemployed and looking for a job is different than standing by Jerry Sandusky (may he continue to rot in prison). Loyalty is about being on the same page and going through the good and the bad struggles in order to build something … together.

To improve the connection and loyalty in the relationship, try the following: a) Talk about your dreams; b) Come up with a plan; c) Identify the circumstances that will cause the plan to change.

2) You must always offer support.  To put it bluntly, you may have emasculated him in your exchange. Calling him or his actions stupid (even when he does something that falls short of intelligent) isn’t nice and it takes away his confidence – just like it would you. Let him take the lead in those areas that are important to him and respect him as your partner. This is important because you want him to let you take the lead in the things that matter to you, right?

To be more supportive, try the following: a) Let him know when he’s done something well; b) Acknowledge his efforts; c) Reassure him that it will work out and you believe in him, even if that means changing course.

3)You gloated about being right. This goes out to all the ladies out here who have enjoyed that “told ya so” glow.  Most of the time you are probably right and the man will know you are right; however, you don’t have to rub it in his face and remind him of it. Your place is as his partner–not his mother or math teacher. If you want to be treated like his partner, then act like one.

Try the following: a) Listen without interruption. Placing your index finger over your lips is a good way to remind yourself to shush; b) Notice your tone of voice. Sometimes, it’s not what you say that makes listening to you difficult, it’s how you say it; c) Ask clarifying questions. The Socratic method is awesome and practically fail-proof! Yes, this is practiced faithfully at my beloved alma mater. 🙂

4) Let him fail. Men need to try and learn for themselves what worked and what didn’t work. Men are proud and it is important that women don’t take that from them. Now, there is a difference between a healthy sense of pride and narcissism.  Healthy pride moves you to try and believe in yourself; however, it also has a fail safe switch that says, “you’re in over your head, get humble and get help!” Narcissism is unhealthy because it says you are right and everyone else should be willing to suffer to make your, often unrealistic, dream a reality.  Narcissism has no place in a relationship – period.  Know the difference between the two.

For even more education, I  recommend a video that Redd Velvet created that offers advice on how to be good to your man. I like her words of wisdom. Watch it below or click here.

I hope you found this helpful and as always wish you pleasant journeys! With love and light …

Jinnie

Do you have a question for Jinnie? Email us at digitalpitches@ebony.com. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. You can also learn more about our “Moment of Clarity” JET therapist via:

Her site at International High Achievers.

Twitter: @intlachievers

Facebook: Like Jinnie’s Page!

You can also subscribe to her High Achievers email list here!