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Marriage counseling and individual therapy, ideas?

Posted by Racer on February 16, 2004, at 15:21:31

My husband and I are seeing a marriage counselor, and I'm in individual therapy. All good, right? I know I'm making progress, and I know that I'm making rapid progress in some areas. Obviously, not there yet, but on the long and winding road.

Here's the problem: my husband keeps saying things like, "Well, I don't mind going to counseling, but we're really only there for *your* problems..." Leaving aside all the things that immediately come to mind -- like cattle prods and 2x4s -- I want some ideas about how to respond to this.

More specifically, here are some of the things I've done to try to improve matters:

I'm working very hard to express both the larger and smaller issues involved in day to day life in a neutral manner. I'm trying to tell him when I'm approaching an issue in a new way, asking him for specific feedback about it, and trying to modify my own behavior. When he hits one of my hot buttons -- which he does a lot -- I try to tell him what it is that's so sensitive about it, and then ask him to modify his behavior Next Time, without beating him up for what has already happened This Time. I'm also trying to tell him about things that are beginning to bother me, rather than waiting until I'm ready to try the 2x4.

Here's an example:

This morning, I asked him to vacuum "The Upstairs." On the advice of a very wise woman, who knows who she is and has my thanks, I asked him please to do it before lunch. Before asking for something so specific, I sat down and talked to him about it. I told him that often, when I ask him to do something like this, my next chore is dependant on his chore being done first, so that, when he puts things off indefinitely, it stalls me in my chores. I also talked to him about the process of me asking for him to do something specific within a specific time period. When he kept on saying, "yes. yes. yes." I asked him if that meant, "Yes, I understand what you're trying to convey" or "Yes, I agree that that will be a plan to try out." He said, "Yes to both of those." So, that's what I mean about talking about the larger issues as well as the specific item.

The problem is, I don't trust him to carry through. And I don't trust him to take it seriously. And when he says that he does take it seriously, I don't trust that. And, of course, I'm not entirely sure he sees marriage counseling as something that *he* needs to put any effort into, besides indulging me.

C'mon, gimme all you got!

(And take it as a compliment that I'm posting this. I'm not very good at telling others about my feelings, or about the sorts of things I've just posted. Guess that trust stuff is building, huh?)




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