I have been married for 10.5 years now and we have 2 amazing children. About three years ago my wife approached me and said that she was basically done with the relationship unless I changed things. I feel that I have changed those things and she still is very up and down about how she feels about me. I am absolutely lost as to what to do. I still love her very dearly and want us to continue on, she wants to try separation to see if she can handle doing it all alone and to see if she appreciates me more. I have suggested counseling again but she seems unwilling with that as well. What do I do when I want to keep moving on and working on it but she is not? She tells me that her biggest issue is that she doesn’t think that she is putting me first, which in some ways I agree with, but I understand the type of person that she is and that is not her. She gets so focused on the task that nothing else is going on around her. What do I do to save my marriage?
A: I can appreciate the struggle to save your marriage. This can be a very difficult time for couples to work through, yet I believe the information for each other is the case. Although you wife has made it clear that she does not want to go to couples therapy, I believe there are some viable options that are worth pursuing. If she is indeed looking for a separation then the mechanics of that may be best understood through a one-time appointment with a marriage counselor. This can help with the details of keeping yourselves separate while taking care of some of the functional matters such as paying the bills.
A one-time meeting with a marriage counselor sometimes allows the couple to sort through their issues with a third party present. When I make this proposal to my individual clients it is couched in the idea that it is for only one session; that you’re going just to get things out on the table and squared away. This often becomes an attractive option because it is an ongoing therapy and yet has an opportunity to open up that possibility or simply take care of the mechanics of the separation.
The second suggestion is to look for a couples weekend designed for an intense encounter for the two of you. These workshops are often held on a regular basis and typically have trainers who have good credentials if the workshop has been running for a while. Go online, find workshops that are in your area and gather some information about what may be involved in these workshops. Often couples that cannot withstand ongoing therapy may be greatly helped by an intense workshop.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Apr 2013
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Wife Unsure if She Loves Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 10, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/04/24/wife-unsure-if-she-loves-me/