Marriage Counseling Update 8/21/15

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.”

Long pause

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?

  1. Therapy is a lot of work – the hardest work has to come from outside the therapist’s office.
  2. We need to continue to make time for “home therapy” to discuss issues safely with one another.
  3. Therapists are people too – imperfect.

 

 

 

 

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20 comments

  1. I can completely relate. Lack of intimacy/closeness killed my last relationship. It ate me up inside until I imploded, taking everything with it. I had to go through a few therapists until I found one that wasn’t just asking me what I want to talk about … good luck to you in your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are people (me included) out here in the ether who have been/are struggling like yourself. First and foremost, you are NOT ALONE. I know it feels like it and I know it’s difficult to wrap your brain around that concept when you are mired in the crap, but there will be a point when you take comfort in knowing…you are not the only one.

    I admire your tenacity in dealing with the tough side of your marriage. I wish I knew of some profound wisdom to guide your steps. All I know to say is don’t give up until you reach that moment of clarity that it is unavoidable. Pray. Pray a lot. I used a journal (not blogging at the time) to get all the angst and ugliness out of me onto paper. I used stream of consciousness and just spewed no-holds-barred, for my eyes only, truth. It didn’t matter how hurtful or baldly honest because only I saw it. After a bit, I was able to read back and see some clear indications of my path forward.

    I admire your tenacity and courage. Therapy is only as good as the two people willing to push through to the goal. And, it is gut wrenching work.

    Blessings.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Cindy! I appreciate the encouragement. I’ve been doing some thought pattern identification with another therapist I see personally. It’s crazy how we can not see what’s going on in our own head sometimes. Praying always

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  3. I know therapy has its standard “stages” — have you thought about asking if this is a predictable part of the therapy process? For example, is it typical for couples to hit an impasse at approximately this point? OR ask the therapist what you need to do so she can help you. What you’re doing seems to obviously be the right thing, why isn’t it working? Maybe it’s something else you’re not seeing.
    Or maybe you have the wrong therapist. But I wouldn’t give up until you know it isn’t something else.
    Hang in there. You’re on the right track, doing what you can do, and part of the problem is it’s a tough journey. But there are bazillions out there like you cheering you on, even if you can’t see them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Belinda. My wife and I talked about this earlier today. We both agree to continue and to address this with the therapist. We have gotten this far before with the same results and just quit. It’s as if it’s good enough to stop talking about ending the marriage, mission accomplished. But that is not good enough for me. I don’t want to simply exist!

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      1. I doubt she does either. I won’t presume what she’s feeling beyond that, but very few people want to hang out in a lifeless marriage. It’s probably taken a long time to get this bad, so give it time to work out. Ha. Easy for me to say, Sally Single with her cats.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. She hasn’t, and I’m glad you & Marie are on the same page. Years from now I hope you’re celebrating some major anniversary, holding hands and smiling as you say, “yes, there were some really rough times, but we got through them.” I work part-time at a bed & breakfast and we see couples like that all the time and I always think, yep, in 40, 50 years I bet you did go through some rough times. Glad you’re here.

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  4. The right counsel makes a big difference, the bible says in Proverbs 25:11 (NKJV) A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. May I make the suggestion to pray with your wife before you go to your next session, give it to the Lord and ask Him to help and show you what the root cause of the problem is, there is always a root, we can’t have “weeds” without them. God is good His word says in John 16:13a (NKJV) …when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth… I pray that The truth be revealed to you and your wife so you can get the healing you both need for this relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! My wife and I do pray together regularly. Especially now as we are working on things. When we get lazy and stop we have problems. I thin you are right, we need to pray about the therapist and our counsel from her before our next appointment. Thank you so much for that reminder!!

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  5. I really admire you being so open and sharing all of this. I could be wrong about this, but it kind of seems to me that the therapist and your wife are seeing general closeness in terms of just sexual intimacy. I see general closeness as sharing thoughts and affection. I don’t want to overshare (in case my husband sees this for one thing), but my husband and I haven’t had sex in years. However, we hug, kiss and cuddle a LOT. Maybe the next time your therapist asks what you want to talk about your wife could answer; then you would be talking about something she is comfortable discussing. Not that I want to give advice, really, because I’m not wise about these things. God bless.

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  6. I may be biased because I’m a therapist myself and I recently left a marriage because I refused to just exist in it. I feel like a good therapist talks about the elephant in the room, even if it’s just to address why it’s uncomfortable to address it. And I’m all for reconciliation as long as both partners are on the same page and are doing their part to meet in the middle. This is key. But sometimes you get to a point where you realize it’s not going to work out, no matter how hard you are trying. And that’s okay too.
    Just my biased observations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I appreciate this. I too thought at least we could talk about why we can’t talk about it. The psychiatrist I talked to said “there is a stinking pile of shit in the room, how can it be ignored?” He’s a little more blunt I guess. Lol

      Liked by 1 person

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