For many of us, maintaining a loving relationship is the hardest job we will ever do. Why does it have to be this way? In the beginning we are like two little kids sharing ice cream – having the time of our lives. But eventually someone has to take care of those little kids, buy the groceries, make supper … you know, provide the infrastructure. All too often the people involved don’t have the skills they need to take care of their relationship so they can have more great times. I teach these skills to all couples who come in for assistance.
Frequently when couples start therapy they know they need to communicate better. Better communication is not about getting your partner to understand your position so (s)he will comply with you. Couples need to comprehend that how they communicate is just as important as what they communicate. For example: a wife may feel like her husband doesn’t listen when she is talking about what is important to her. She doesn’t realize that the way she speaks makes her husband feel like he is getting a lecture. Perhaps in her need to be understood and fear that she won’t be, she gives so many details that her husband is overwhelmed by her words and tunes her out. When people know each other well, they can be very subtle in how they set each other off. Understanding how this all happens often brings humor and makes it possible to come together with compassion instead of defensiveness.
I am particularly skilled as a couple therapist at following your moment to moment interactions. During the session I will illustrate how you hurt or disengage with one another. You will learn how to avoid these moments or repair them once they have happened so that an enduring trust between you can emerge. Avoiding or interrupting negative patterns will help you move from distancing and power struggles to a deep intimate connection. I give partners guidance and suggestions so you can bring what you learn in the sessions to your lives at home. Let’s work together so that you can enjoy again what it was that brought you together in the first place.
In couple therapy sessions I draw on a variety of therapy approaches that I have learned over the years including Gestalt Therapy, Transactional Analysis and the work of John Gottman.
I violated my wife’s trust (again) when I recently purchased my first motorcycle without discussing it with her. (I am 56 years old and this issue is long-standing.) The “again” reference is in having contact with other women throughout our marriage without engaging in a physical relationship with them.
We/I need help but I have been unemployed now for a year and a half (though in two weeks I start a part time job). I did start my own business when we moved to Madison last summer and she is self employed so our ability to pay is severely restricted.
We are both so sad and hurting right now. She’s incredibly angry and I want to be with her for the rest of our lives. I am clueless on what to do…how to “make it better…be better”. She says it’s up to me to repair what’s broken.
Your email doesn’t say whether you agree with your wife that these things you have done are trust beakers.
Do you agree that having contact with women is something you should not do? Would you object if your wife had men friends that were not sexual?
Do you think that there is something wrong with purchasing things with out having the your wife’s knowledge and permission? Is checking with one another about purchases something you think is an important thing to do?
In your estimation, are you an equal member of this marriage or do you feel one-down/in a child like role to her grown up/parental role? To be subjected to rules you don’t agree are important is to be treated like a child, and to respond by trying to please and “be better” is also coming from a child’s position.
If you have reluctantly agreed to do as asked but were just going along with to keep the peace or otherwise agreed to against your own beliefs, then this needs attention first.
However if you have broken your own standards, then the question becomes ” why have you done this?” Were the other women a way to fill an unfilled need of some kind, a way to be quietly angry at your wife, or have they filled some other purpose? Did you buy the motor cycle on your own because you didn’t believe she would approve or ??? Understanding your own motives will point the way to what needs to change in your self or in your marriage to restore trust, satisfaction and closeness for both of you.
We can discuss my sliding scale if you or you and your wife would like an appointment.