Continuing on from this post ………
So, you messed up, your wife is in full melt-down mode, and all you want to do is retreat and wait for her to get over it … pretend like the problem doesn’t exist.
I know that seems like the easiest solution to you, but don’t do it. Just. don’t. do. it. As in most other areas of life, the easy way is never the best way. Becoming a strong man involves doing the things that are hard to do.
Apologize. The very first thing you need to do in this situation is to own it. If you made a mistake, admit it and make a sincere apology. Once. Just once.
Don’t grovel. Don’t make excuses. Don’t debase yourself. Just a simple apology. If it’s something you’ve done multiple times, tell her that and tell her that you know it’s a pattern and that you’re working on it.
If she needs to talk about the situation in order to process it, then listen without getting defensive. BUT …. don’t let her harangue you or become abusive. She needs to speak respectfully even in her anger.
Above all, don’t tell her what a horrible husband-horrible man-horrible human being you are. Don’t show self-pity or self-abasement. You made a mistake; that doesn’t make you a horrible person.
And then? Stop worrying about it. Don’t concern yourself over whether she’s accepted your apology or whether she’s still mad. Those things are not your concern. If she chooses to stay angry with you, that’s on her.
Your job at this point is to push forward and get the marriage back on track. The way to do this is to show strength. You are not a cowering puppy who’s made a mess on the floor. I keep seeing men who are recovering ‘nice guys’ who just melt into a puddle after a mistake. They fall apart and lose their frame at the exact time they need to be showing strength. But, how exactly do you show strength?
Make a plan for preventing the same thing from happening again, particularly if this is an on-going mistake you make. Do this right away. Take a few days, but not much longer. You need to jump into action as soon as practical. Don’t discuss the plan with her until you’ve had time to develop it. She’s not your mom and you don’t need to consult her each step of the way.
When you’ve decided how you’re going to take on the issue, present her with the solution. You can ask her for her input, but not her permission. Let her know what you’re going to do, but more importantly, start to do it right away. She needs actions, not words, from you.
Maintain your frame. It’s very likely that her attraction for you has dipped during this time. Don’t worry about it. Don’t let it stop you from initiating, don’t let it turn you into a passive schlub. A woman’s attraction for a man is very fluid and ‘in the moment’; it’s a mistake to worry about it overmuch.
Show strong leadership with your wife and your family. You’re going to want to defer to your wife and let her call all the shots. Don’t do it. Continue being that strong leader of your family. Your wife needs the security of you being strong right now. You can increase relationship comfort, but also increase your leadership.
Pump up your work-outs. You’ll be tempted to slump on your work-outs and drag yourself around as the low energy your wife is exuding gets to you. Don’t do this. Get into that gym and put it into high gear. Perfect time to join a martial arts class, by the way. You need the testosterone boost. Come home pumped up and exuding confidence.
Schedule a series of leadership actions and make yourself do them. You are going to feel anxious about her reactions, but put that anxiety aside. Set yourself a goal of doing 3 leadership moments per day and don’t go to bed until you complete them. She may react well, she may react poorly. It just doesn’t matter.
Okay, that’s the plan that will get you back on track as quickly as possible. The main take-away is to maintain your frame. You’re doing this *for you*. You’re doing this to keep training yourself to take the lead and to become a stronger man. Your wife and her reactions are actually incidental at this point. Making yourself stay strong is a win, no matter what her reaction is.
Your wife may like what you do, she may hate it. Either way, staying strong will earn her respect. More importantly, it will earn YOUR respect. For you. And that, gentlemen, is worth gold.