(Closed) Post counselling session – How can I fix this?

posted 4 years ago in Relationships
Post # 4
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

Does this lady have any credentials as a counselor or therapist? If she’s just some church lady, maybe she thinks in the outdated “woman takes care of the house and exists for the happiness of the man” way. I would be upset too!

Going forward, I would make a list of the chores by order of how mad you’d get if they’re not done your way. For instance, in my house, FI HAS to have an empty kitchen sink, all the time. That is his giant pet peeve. I see nothing wrong with a thing or two in the sink and generally don’t like to do dishes. So he does all the dishes. I like to have the bathroom neat, so that’s “my” thing that I do. See if you can come up with a hierarchy of things that matter most to you chore wise, and you do the ones that you must have done a certain way. The ones that you care less about, have him do.

What, if I may ask, was his criticism of you?

Post # 5
726 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I don’t even know where to start, you proved your personality by responding to your own post because you were so impatient for a response. Talk to your fiance.

Post # 6
1475 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@Nic01 I dont understand why his problem is both of your problem but why your problem is not equally both of your problem too!

I do think that is one sided.  I also think that was not nice of him to make fun of the fact that you were “told off”.

The thing is this, marriage is a partnership, regardless of what the pre-marital counsellor says you two have to learn how to handle issues/situations/problems like a team. I think your current situation is a good place to start.

Tell your FI how you are feeling, be open and honest about how and why you feel criticized or attacked, hopefully he is supportive and understands where you are coming from because at the end of the day he needs to have your back. You two should address and resolve issues together versus against each other or comparing flaws.

No one is perfect, everyone is flawed and there will always be room for improvement on both sides so if you two love each other and are going to be married you have to learn to figure out how to co-exist successfully, how to support each other and help the other be a better person.

Also, how many more sessions do you have with this counsellor? IF this counsellor is not a good fit for you two as a couple you may want to find another.  Good luck and hang in there! Im sure you two will figure things out.

Post # 7
2903 posts
Sugar bee

I’m like you in that I am a control freak, but only about certain things. My husband is much more tidy than I am. Our solution? For cleaning, I make a bigger effort, but it isn’t up to his standard. And for me, I let things go when it isn’t necessary to “win”. 

You two need to work on your compromising. 

ETA: I agree with a previous poster who asked about the councelor’s credentials. It doesn’t seem fair advice at all, and definitely like she has a bit of the old “man is master of the family” attitude. But if this is something that bugs you, you need to change the things that bug him too, when you are asking him to change for you.

Post # 8
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I would pose the question you put here “why is his problem, our problem; but, my problem is my problem” to see what the counselor’s reasoning is for handling it.

It seems like she may have some old fashioned ideas about the woman’s place in a relationship…



Post # 11
5981 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@Nic01:  it’s ok, I married a super controlling neat freak….it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, that your marriage is doomed or that you are awful to live with in the least.  What it does mean is that you might be happier if you remind yourself that you can have your standard and your husband another, the word “properly” is subjective in your case and if you have complaints,  they would be best kept to yourself.

I would imagine that the counselor used your FI’s complaint about something you do as an exercise, so that maybe you have an idea of how it feels to be on the end of your criticism, and it sounds like you didn’t take it well.  It’s not about where you leave your clothes, it’s about understanding that in marriage there isn’t one person who’s right or wrong, there’s just things you two need to figure out.


Post # 12
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

@Nic01:  Jeez, she’s a “real” counselor, and that’s the advice she gives? Have him make a “Do not nag” list for you? Ouch…

This may seem silly, but when FI and I are faced with these little tiffs, we talk out the logic and path of thinking behind why we like things the way we do. For you, if he doesn’t pull out the shirt sleeves, they have to dry another day. That is an inconvenience for both of you. For him, there is no logical problem with your clothes being on the end of the bed, so why should it bother him? Or maybe there is, maybe they come onto his side of the bed and he can feel them on his feet? Talk it out!

My FI has something similar to your FI’s complaint. We have a futon in our second room. It’s also the room where I keep all my work clothes in a dresser. I keep my work pants out on the futon, because then they air out and don’t get wrinkly. He doesn’t like that, as he wants the futon to be free of all things (even though he doesn’t sit on it, but in a chair nearby), but in no way does it actually hurt him or harm him besides the intense annoyance of SEEING PANTS! OH NO. (I’m bitter, Can you tell? haha.) So it shouldn’t matter and he should stop nagging me about it.

Ask him why he doesn’t like your clothes ont he end of the bed. Explain to him how if you don’t hang up your clothes properly, they don’t dry. Logic wins!

Post # 13
778 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

It does sound as if you are being overly sensitive to constructive criticism. Did you really expect that you’d go to counselling and your counsellor would just suggest ways your FI could improve without suggesting ways you could change as well?

I don’t have a ton of advice other than to stick it out in counselling and, if things don’t get better, maybe seek a new counsellor and really explore why this had you in tears.

I do have some concrete advice re. the cleaning/planning/controlling type A stuff. I’ve used cleaning as my example, but I think you may find it applies to all sorts of other things as well. I hope it helps:

Like you and many women, I get frustrated sometimes because DH is kind of a slob compared to me. Over the past four years of living with him, he’s gotten a bit neater and I’ve gotten a bit more relaxed. But what’s helped most by far is a change in my thinking. Basically, you have to acknowledge that a certain level of neatness (say, an 8 on a 10-point scale) is required for you to feel happy and comfortable, whereas for your DH, anything over a 4 is fine, and having the house at a 9 rather than a 5 adds nothing whatsoever to his happiness or sense of well-being. Then you have to stop thinking about cleaning as something you do for both of you and resenting him for not doing “his fair share.” Above a certain threshold, you are no longer cleaning for him, because he really doesn’t care. You are cleaning for your own happiness alone. Yes, he makes a lot of the mess, but that’s part of living with another person. And you can feel passionately that he should appreciate a cleaner house, but that doesn’t change anything. It’s just not a big deal to him. Having a chill wife who isn’t freaking out about chores, on the other hand, adds hugely to his happiness.

So where does this leave you? You compromise on the level of household cleanliness for which you’re jointly responsible (so, a 6, say). He should carry equal weight in maintaining this level. Anything above a level 6 is your job alone, done for your own satisfaction and comfort. Don’t expect help, acknowledgement, or gratitude for anything above a level 6. You are doing it for you. You don’t have to keep the house at an 8 all the time. You choose to. Own it. If he doesn’t do chores to your standards, go back and fix what he missed without nagging. (If he’s not doing them to a level 6, teach him how and check when he’s done, reminding him cheerfully to do whatever he’s missed.) 

Once you stop trying to make him care about things that he doesn’t care about or appreciate things that he doesn’t value or enjoy, I think you’ll find that a lot of frustration and resentment disappear.


Post # 14
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I think it boils down to values.  You don’t mention the thing you do that annoys FI, so I’m going to use speeding while driving as an example.

With regards to the cleaning, if you don’t like the job FI does, you can go redo it.  You seem to have made it clear that you can’t live with his level of cleaning, and you don’t really think he can up to your standards.  You aren’t willing to let go a little and be a little messy, but he’s willing to live with your standards that he might think are overkill.  Extra cleaning requires extra time, and he might think you’re wasting time by doing the extra cleaning.  He’s willing to go back on some of his values by living with your standard, but you aren’t willing to live by his standards.  That’s why it is your issue and not his.

As for the speeding example, FI might hate it.  He might get mad at you every time you do it, and you might not be willing to compromise by not speeding.  It’s his issue because just because you are speeding doesn’t mean you’re driving dangerously (if all of traffic is speeding on a highway, and you go the speed limit, that’s dangerous).  If he’s giving you a hard time, it’s half his issue because he isn’t willing to bend, and half yours because you speed even if it isn’t necessary.

In summary, it’s a “your” issue if one person is already bending on values and a “our” issue if neither of you are.  In the end, to make things work, you have to find a way to make different values work.

At least, that’s what I’d think a counselor I’ve seen before would say.

Post # 16
2651 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Nic01:  Maybe she said that you both need to work on the clothes-bed thing because it’s a good exercise on getting him to compromise…? I see both sets of issues as going under the compromising category. With the housework, unfortunately it is the case that you’ll have to do the letting go if he just doesn’t have the skills to do things the way you want. He can learn, of course, and that may come with time. However, his idea of a good job may never be the same as yours, and that’s okay unless you’re saying he’s an outright slob who would happily eat off dirty plates and have a bathroom that smells like the men’s room in a gas station.


((Hugs)) It stinks that you had a session where you felt dumped on. I’ve had that happen before, and it’s no fun, but I tried to focus on the big picture from all of the sessions put together. Also, that was kind of childish for your FI to say to you, but I don’t think he understood how hurt you were. Let him know that it hurt, why it did, then hug it out. 


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