Back to Basics–Love Extinguisher #1 Emotional Neglect

Today is the start of the second series of our month-long “Back to School–Back to Basics.”  This week we’ll be going over the seven Love Extinguishers.  To understand what a Love Extinguisher is, you could read the Basic Concepts article to get a more indepth explanation.  Briefly, to help you envision the idea, think of your marriage like a campfire. There are actions that can quench the fire of love, and those actions are Love Extinguishers.  BUT there are also actions that stoke the fire of love and make it hotter–those are Love Kindlers.  When you make the decision to love, you choose to act in a way that is likely to kindle feelings of interest and passion; so you decide to act in a Love Kindling way.  When you get married and do not make diligent efforts to keep stoking the fire, life, bills, and children intervene and you begin to gradually take your spouse for granted and act in a Love Extinguishing way.

Today, we look at the first behavior that can put out the fire of love:  Emotional Neglect!   This extinguisher involves disregarding your spouse’s emotional needs and in fact inflicting emotional harm by becoming the sort of spouse who is a:

  • Scorekeeper–Do you keep a record of every past “sin” you spouse has ever committed against you…and never let them forget it?  Do you keep track of who does more household chores, who’s turn is it, or who did it last?  If these sound like you, you may be slowly draining the love out of your marriage by keeping track of the “score” in your relationship.
  • Fault Finder–Does he load the dishwasher wrong?  Does he put the diapers on wrong? Does she drive the car wrong?  Does she mow the grass wrong?  Do you pick your partner to death wanting them to do a certain thing…and then when they do it, tell them every little thing they did “wrong” because they didn’t do it your way?  Then you are a fault finder, and you find are not so slowly draining the love out of your spouse’s heart.   Their way is JUST as legitimate as  your way!
  • Controlling–This one is a hard one to define, but let’s put it this way: is your spouse free to say “no” and not be punished for the rest of the marriage?  Is your spouse viewed as an equal partner who’s opinion and preferences are just as valid as your own?  Do you try to “MAKE” your spouse do something by manipulating them, what they know, their schedule, who they “can or can not” talk to,  or what they “can or can not” do?    If you are trying to force your spouse to do things they do not want to do, or do not view your spouse with exactly the same power as you have in your marriage, then you may be “controlling” and you may be putting out the fire of passion in their heart.
  • Bottomless Pit–Are you so continuously NEEDY for emotional support or approval or reassurance that you are clingy and strangling your partner, emotionally?  Do you lack self-love and force your partner to “say it ” or “prove their love” over and over even though they already HAVE proven their commitment?  Or alternatively, do you ask your spouse to give and give and give and give…and never think of their needs?  Have you heard your spouse say “enough is never enough” and no matter what they do, they never ever please you or make you happy?  Then you are a Bottomless Pit and that kind of behavior is going to extinguish the love in your marriage.

Over this month, we will be going “Back to School” by going over all our Basic Concepts.   Last week we examined the Love Kindlers–this week the Love Extinguishers.  During the third week of September we’ll look at the Seven Steps to End an Affair, and for the last week of the month, we’ll review the Seven Steps to Rebuilding After an Affair.  We hope you’ll join us on this journey to get “Back to the Basics”!!

8 thoughts on “Back to Basics–Love Extinguisher #1 Emotional Neglect

  1. This is a great list. Fault finding is often a type of controlling behavior. Control freaks tend to be absolutely convinced that the way they do things is somehow the only right way, more efficient, better looking, etc., etc. Rather then feeling grateful for what other people do, they criticize because it isn’t done a certain way. Eventually their spouses don’t want to do anything at all because they know they will never please the fault finder, so it just isn’t worth the effort.

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