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(Editor's Note, this letter was written before Doc's death in August, 2020 but still relevant as Doc's principles are timeless).
I’ve been reading your articles for a little while now and find them quite interesting. But I haven’t seen anything dealing with my situation. Before I go ahead and purchase “The System,” I’d like to know whether you can help me with my specific problem since I notice that your columns deal mostly with dating and not with more established relationships. So here goes.
I’ve been married to Katrina for two and a half years. We dated for four years before tying the knot and our relationship was as close to perfect as you can imagine. There was fun, romance, and mutual respect. But things have changed.
We have a young daughter now and that’s where the problems really originated. Katrina stayed home to raise her and any other kids we might have in the future and I’m the one with the fulltime job. At the end of the day when I get home – most times at eight or nine in the evening -- I’m totally exhausted, but so is Katrina, from dealing with our child all day long. Instead of a nice, relaxing environment, the atmosphere is rather tense. Katrina has become a nagger and she’s often grumpy at being stuck in the house all week long. I realize it’s tough that she’s with the child all the time, but what does she expect me to do? The worst part is that come the weekend, she bolts and leaves me with my daughter. So it feels like I have two jobs, Doc! It’s brutal.
We’ve tried talking about what’s bothering us, but it doesn’t get very far, and always ends with Katrina claiming that she no longer has any fun with me. I get a little worried when I hear this stuff.
Anyway, my question is this: is there anything in your book about maintenance of a marriage and bringing back your wife’s Interest Level? If so, I’ll order it today!
Brooks - who hopes he doesn’t end up another divorce statistic
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First of all, why are you dragging home at eight or nine every night? Why aren’t you getting home at five-thirty or six like most normal people? I have to wonder why you’re putting in such long hours to begin with. This issue is something that has to be cleared up if you have any hope of salvaging your family life. Is it possible to cut down on your time at work – short of telling the boss to shove it, of course? Can you go to work earlier and then get home at a decent time? If so, you can help your beleaguered wife out with her chores and the care of your child before it all goes to hell.
But in the second place, why is Katrina so totally exhausted from dealing with just one child?
Handling one child shouldn’t wipe your wife out, Brooks. When she takes a nap, Katrina takes a nap, right? I don’t think your partner is organized!
To boot, the fact that your wife snipes at you leads me to believe that she resents the fact that she’s a mother. If you’d read my book when you were still dating, you might have picked up on that red flag before you tied the knot, my friend, since the Dating Dictionary teaches you how to find out as much as possible about whom you’re involved with. That’s what my book is for – to prevent misery before it’s too late. Or maybe you saw the red flag and chose to ignore it. Dumb.
So Katrina is grumpy on account of being with her daughter all week long. What did she expect to happen when she had a child? Sounds like she was clueless about what it involved, Brooks. She has to be with her daughter all the time. She’s a mother, right? That’s her job, and that was your agreement.
What can you do to reverse this deteriorating situation? You should ask your wife out on the weekends. And if for some reason you can’t manage being alone with her, you should take her and your daughter and go to a park or zoo or find something else to do as a family. Here’s another idea: get a cleaning person in twice a month to help out so Katrina isn’t so overwhelmed.
Another alternative is to let Katrina go out with her girlfriends for three or four hours on Saturday to have lunch or shop and then hook up with her for your date. Like the great Doctor Freud once said, “If you let her out on her own, she won’t feel like she’s losing her marbles and she’ll come back in a better frame of mind.”
But the real problem here might very well not be that Katrina is saddled with her daughter all week long. I think your wife doesn’t like you, and her Interest Level in you is lower than it used to be.
Aside from being an unfit mother, your wife is blaming you for her problems with your daughter. Her Interest Level has taken a dip, and it’s on account of your relationship with her, rather than being home with the kid. She’s blaming her horrible life on that situation; whereas the reality is that her Interest Level is not in the 90s anymore because you haven’t given her affection and romance and you’re taking her for granted.
I’m sure it is brutal for you having two jobs, Brooks. Especially with the long hours you’re working. I know what you’re going through. And it can’t be easy coming home to a less than loving environment. However, think of how brutal it will be when you have to hand over half of what you own in a divorce settlement. That’s why you have to do something before it’s too late.
Of course the Dating Dictionary contains a formula for reviving your wife’s Interest Level. My book helps you deal with ANY problem having to do with women. It makes me wonder why you haven’t already bought it and memorized it. What are you waiting for?
Here’s what you have to do to bring your wife’s Interest Level back to life. You have to show her Respect, Affection and Humor, and you have to take her out. See if you can get Grandma to baby-sit so you can date your wife at least once a week. And when you go out, don’t talk about the bills and the child. That’s for starters.
Here’s what else I want you to do. When you come home at night, even though you’re dragging your butt, take a shower, then either vacuum the rugs or clean the toilets or whatever else is begging to be done around the house. I want you to put in at least 20 minutes on the chores every night, and make sure your wife sees it.
When you come to your senses and get my book I want you to concentrate on the subject of Challenge. Even though it pertains largely to singles, you’re going to see how the principles involved carry over into married life. To you Psych majors, the techniques that caught her during the dating process are the same ones that will keep her happily married.
Remember, guys: it’s easy to make her fall in love with you; the hard part is keeping her in love.
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