Have you heard that your wife doesn’t trust or respect you anymore? Have you been trying to jump through the various hoops she sets up for you saying things like, “if you loved me you would…”
Here is the best (and free) advice to men who are tired of jumping through hoops. Just stop.
Dammit Steve, she is always complaining about something I haven’t done right. She says the work I’ve been doing on myself isn’t working for her. She isn’t happy with how I reacted to her being upset last night. There is always a new “hoop” to jump through to satisfy her and I can never see it coming. It’s like she’s testing me over and over again and it’s pissing me off. I’m tired of hearing about the things she doesn’t like. How hard would it be for her to say something she DOES like?
This type of email is one of the most common ones I receive from good men trying their best to become a better man and husband. Have you ever felt the frustration Kevin feels?
If you keep falling for her subconscious tests to make you jump, she will lose trust, respect and attraction to you.
He has committed to learning how to be more aware, more engaged and more connected with his wife. Kevin has stepped up his game and is holding himself more accountable for being more present and in more control of his angry reactions and his tendency to argue. He feels pretty good about that.
But he’s missing an important lesson about “hoop jumping”. And until he gets it, he will always feel frustrated.
Jump Through Your Own Damn Hoops, Kevin
This is the best advice I can give to any hoop jumping man.
Set your own hoops.
Only jump through your own hoops.
Setting your own hoops means knowing what you expect from you. Then it means doing what you expect from you because you want to. You get to set the standards by which you operate – nobody else – not even your wife
And I can guarantee you that she really doesn’t want to “make you” jump through her hoops. She wants you to jump through your own. If you keep falling for her subconscious tests to make you jump, she will lose trust, respect and attraction to you.
Everybody knows this old saying:
Man who tries to please others by jumping through their hoops will always be tired and pissed off.
Okay. So I just made that up. But in my humble (but correct) opinion…it’s a really good saying.
The biggest reason we jump through other people’s hoops is because we have no idea yet what our hoops are. We haven’t taken the time or made the effort to seriously work out exactly what we expect from ourselves.
We don’t know what we believe about arguing and conflict, so we just react when it happens.
We don’t know where we stand about sharing the workload at home, so we wait to be told what to do.
We don’t know what we think about our role in creating intimacy, so we blame her for being cold.
The key here is to make a decision that we want to clearly know what we believe so we can finally start jumping through our own hoops.
But, it’s hard. I know. It’s easy to fall for the challenge of jumping through her hoops. It’s like a game.
A game we will lose every time.
Why We’re Such Suckers for Her Hoops
If you’re anything like me you spent your first 18 years of life getting a PhD in pleasing women. This included teachers, aunts, girlfriends and mom. Whatever they asked – whatever they needed – whatever they expected it was my job to “giterdone”.
It was almost a competitive sport. I’d see how high I could jump and how pleased I could make them. It was the certain path to “goodboyhood” and guaranteed approval and affection. And I was really, really good at it. It worked like a charm. Jump through their hoops and be their hero. This would surely be a skill that would serve me well in marriage.
Then I discovered how ridiculously wrong I was.
This may be where you are now.
Warning: Setting Your Own Hoops May Come With Side Effects
If you’ve been trying to jump through her hoops, you will raise suspicion with your wife when you change.
She’ll wonder what you’re up to. She won’t trust you to set them correctly. Or she may love that you are setting your own hoops but will test you to see if she can knock you off track.
You are a man who is clear in what he believes and what he expects of himself. This process in itself is the payoff.
She WANTS to trust you to set your own hoops and she needs for you to be consistent. She wants to know you really want to do it for you – not her.
You’ll be afraid of her reaction. You’ll look over your shoulder. You’ll ask “is this okay?” You may seek her permission or approval to do it your way.
Then you may seek validation that you’ve done a good job. Aren’t my changes wonderful? Won’t you give me approval and affection now that I’ve done a good job?
Yeah, don’t do that. She hates that. Trust me.
Your motivation for setting your own hoops is critical. You are a man who is clear in what he believes and what he expects of himself. This process in itself is the payoff. No longer jumping for approval is the payoff.
You are not a man who pretends to be self-motivated and self-respecting. You don’t have a hidden intention to manipulate her into giving you love, approval or affection.
She will want to give her love, approval and affection to a man who doesn’t give a crap about what he gets out of jumping through his own hoops!
That reminds me of another great saying:
A man must be more committed to the process of becoming who he wants to be than he is to achieving any particular outcome as a result of it.
Okay. I stole that one from about 50 other men who said it before me.
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