July 20, 2001
July 20, 2001

As you read this fear reaction between the couple, determine whether it sounds as if they love each other or hate each other:

SHE: You Son of a B---- you always go out with your friends. You watch TV. (Or it might be he goes fishing, hunting, card playing, etc.)
HE: You never want me to have time off to enjoy myself. I need time to relax.
SHE: What about me? I never get time to relax.
HE: That's because you're not organized.
SHE: You lousy, lazy --------.
HE: You're a terrible mother. I ought to call CPS.

Most of the time, the couple love each other even though the exchange deteriorates rapidly. The dynamics of the relationship needs to be explored. The woman fears she is losing her husband. He doesn't want to spend time with her. She feels undesirable, unloved, and abandoned. She (or it could be He that is the accuser) wants to spend more time together. The behavior has disintegrated to about the three year old level. The child kicks you in the shins because you haven't been paying attention to her/him. Well what parent feels loving towards an infant that asks for love in that manner? Certainly we will hardly want to spend five minutes or even consider making love with a fire breathing dragon of a fe/male.

This behavior is not much different. The actions are instinctual as I mentioned in the previous column on Fear. Identifying the fear of losing time, love, or the relationship is the first step to putting the situation in the proper perspective. Search for the issue. When you have identified the fear, the issue becomes clear.

S/HE: I want more quality time with you. I love you.

Wow! It didn't sound like it. They sound as if they are the worst enemies in the world. Indeed, even they believe it. The article, "Anomie and Love" in the magazine, Marriage and Family Living which I wrote in 1980, began "I'm not in love anymore." I commenced that way because that is a recurrent theme which I have heard these twenty-three years of counseling couples.

The solution is so simple. Question yourself. What do you want? Why do you want it? Then state it.

SH/E: I love you. I want to have more fun time with you.

If you try this and you get frozen out, or get fired back at; you need to explore what is causing the opposite reaction from the one you desire. Now there may be a new set of circumstances that are obliterating the issue. The spouse may feel frustrated that s/he can not envision any way to make the day longer to accommodate his/her needs and the needs of the family. This thought precedes the answer and another Fear response continues the spiral of miscommunication and misunderstandings.

Watch for more columns on the subject of how Fear which was meant to aid humans to protect themselves now works as a double edge sword.