Marriage Makeover: “We need to straighten up our house — and our marriage”
"WE KEEP PLAYING THE BLAME GAME"
MEGAN: "I blame Ken for our disorganization — he's too lax and
has walked all over our relationship. When Ken misplaces things, like the mail,
it leaves me with a bigger mess to stress about. I'm the one who calls the bank
or searches for the item while he just apologizes and goes on with his
KEN: "Megan likes to control everything. It's when things
backfire, like she can't find her birth certificate that we need for a trip,
that she flips out and accuses me of not doing anything. You can't say 'I'll
handle it' and then turn around and call me lax when it goes wrong. I'd call
the bank or help her look for the missing birth certificate, but I'm not going
to stick around to get blamed for something that she said she wanted to do
MEGAN: "I want Ken to take care of things without my having to
ask him. That just consumes the same time and energy it takes for me to do it
KEN: "Megan likes to go to the extreme. A misplaced bill turns
into an argument about how I've raised the interest rate we'll get on an SUV
that we want to buy two years from now. I don't want us to both be stewing over
something that we can't go back and fix. If it's something I can change, then
let's talk about it — instead of saying you'll take care of it because I might
screw it up."
MEGAN: "Constantly reminding him of what's happening in our lives
makes me feel like his mother."
KEN: "I don't want a mother. I want a wife who is my partner;
someone who can laugh about the mistakes with me, not remind me of them even
when they're not happening. I want her to get that this is our struggle
— not Ken's destruction of Megan's future."
Ken and Megan are saying a lot, but they're not really listening to one
another. "They need to make a conscious effort to talk to each other before
a conflict arises or they won't ever solve their problems," says Covalt.
She suggests that Megan and Ken sit down when they're both calm and ask each
other questions — How does Megan feel about the piles of laundry? What might
work better? What does Ken think about putting up shelves? — to understand the
The couple also needs to stop pointing the finger. "Megan's working
against herself by being overly dramatic and blaming Ken for the mess,"
says Tessina. "Instead, she needs to declare a truce and work together with
Ken." Once they agree to a plan, they can both take responsibility for
sticking to it. Finally, the Knoops need to remember how much they enjoy one
another when they're away from the stress of housework and channel some of that
fun into their domestic duties. "If they learn to be playful about their
chores, they'll enjoy each other at home too," Tessina says.