My wife, Marie, and I have been seeing a marriage therapist this summer. I won’t link them all, but you can find notes from previous sessions in my archives – here is the last update which likely links to previous ones from there.
I just want to say that though there was some initial fruit, I feel like we have now fizzled out with this marriage therapist. Our first few sessions were good. We had some homework which was productive and created some dialogue. This was hard work for a few weeks, and we really hashed through some things together. But the last two meetings have been much less productive.
The therapist starts out, “What can I help you with today?”
Me, “You know, we have been communicating better together, and have kept up daily times to talk together agreed to early on. We are working together and amicable, but are just still kind of blah. Like we are existing together, but just as friends, or neighbors. We are lacking intimacy. Not just sex, but a closeness we used to have.”
Marie, “Chris asked if I wanted to talk to you about our lack of sex, but I don’t feel comfortable.” [Note: it is me who is not that interested in sex – for a few years now]
Therapist, “Well I won’t ask you about this if you are not comfortable.”
Me, “I have no issues talking about it from my perspective, and have discussed it openly with other doctors.”
Therapist, “But if Marie is not comfortable talking about it here, then i don’t want to either.”
Therapist, “So what can I help you with today.”
I repeated my opening, which was, “There is not just one thing we are struggling with, but it’s our general lack of closeness.”
Therapist, “What would you like to discuss.”
Thinking to myself, “Uh, I think I’ve told you twice now.” 20 minutes of small talk later and I ended it, “Well I guess we don’t have much to talk about today and I’m sure you have other people to see.”
The last two sessions went like this.
To our therapist: YOU are the one with the PhD – you tell us what we are going to talk about. I have given you the issue. We made LISTS of stuff in our marriage that is wrong, that is right, that would be ideal. Lead us. Please, lead us.
To my wife: There is a stinking pile of shit in the middle of the room, when can we speak out loud about it? I know counseling is hard and some weeks we have other things on our mind, but I think it’s time to pull out those lists and actually talk about issues.
Fellow bloggers and marriage enthusiasts : What am I missing? Is it good enough to exist and get along in a marriage? Is it too much to ask for some help to try and renew some vigor and vivacity?
What am I learning?
- Therapy is a lot of work – the hardest work has to come from outside the therapist’s office.
- We need to continue to make time for “home therapy” to discuss issues safely with one another.
- Therapists are people too – imperfect.