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David H.
David H., BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 166
Experience:  Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
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My wife wants to end our marriage. We love each other but there

Resolved Question:

My wife wants to end our marriage. We love each other but there has always been a pattern where I have tunnel vision about a my work & she feels I am not sensitive to her needs except if she gets really angry with me and demands that I address the issue. I want to try to save our relationship but don't know how. My wife says she's knows I love her but "just don't get her." We have two young children so it would be very painful for them but my wife says its better that they not be around tension & conflict and know the truth. My wife has depression and has undergone therapy herself so is tired of trying and wants to just end things. What has caused tension is I have had to work out of state for part of almost every week for the last year or more. How do I address this situation. I don't just want it to end here.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  David H. replied 2 years ago.

DuddyH :

Welcome, I'm a professional counselor and behavioral-consultant. I'd like to chat with you for a few moments to better understand your question and the situation you're describing. Do you have few moments now?

Customer: Yes
DuddyH :

I just got the notification of your return to the chat screen. Let me leave a few clarifying questions for you to answer:

DuddyH :

What would your wife say are the top 1-3 relationship needs (specific things she needs from you right now) that she's not having fulfilled or met in the relationship right now? What does she need most that she's not getting?

DuddyH :

How would your wife rate your relationship on a scale of 1-10?

DuddyH :

How would you rate your marriage on a scale of 1-10?

DuddyH :

1 being not very good and 10 being a very strong, healthy and satisfying marriage.

DuddyH :

When your wife says it's better for your kids not being around tension or conflict, what does she mean very specifically?

DuddyH :

Has your wife been formally diagnosed with depression? If so, and if it's ok to ask, what is her formal diagnosis?

DuddyH :

Finally, I'm not completely sure of your question. You've stated points about the situation or problem but not a clear single question for me to answer. What specific question would you like an answer to today?

DuddyH :

I will check back shortly for your answers. I may have other questions depending on your responses. Once I'm clear on a few points, I'll provide you with a detailed and hopefully, a helpful answer.

Customer: Thanks. My answers are as follows.
Customer: 1. The top 3 things my wife needs from me are emotional support, unqualified acknowledgement of her grievances and me to travel less for work i.e. be home & with her & kids without being absent for half the week.
Customer: My wife would rate our relationship low at the moment probably 2 or 3
Customer: I would have rated our marriage high as strong up until the events of the last two days when my wife has told me how unhappy she is probably 7-8 but now I realise that is unrealistic so now probably 5-6
Customer: Sorry I have reversed the ratings I.e. my would would rate marriage as 7-8 & I wouldmratebit until recently 2-3 but now 6-5
Customer: By better for the kids my wife me better that she not be so unhappy and stressed. When she is upset with me she shouts at me but there is no violence.
DuddyH :

I see you're typing so I'll wait for your next response. Thanks for the info so far.

Customer: Yes she has been diagnosed with depression, tas taken medication for most of our relationship (14 yrs). She is at her worst due to the hormonal changes when pre menstral. Psychiatrist has suggested borderline personality disorder etc but has not made a definite diagnosis.
Customer: My question is how to best address this situation to save this. I love and want to be with her and I don'tmwant my kids childhoods to be defined by their parents marriage break up. I'm not sure if I can be more specific. I know that makes it hard to give an answer.
DuddyH :

To start off with, I have to say that I am very sorry to hear that you are going through this. It's horrible when a family is on the verge of a potential break up. A strong healthy marriage is so protective for kids emotionally and developmentally in so many ways. It also has incredible benefits for husband and wife.....

DuddyH :

Given the clinical complexity you suggest related to depression, I think that 7-10 sessions of evidence-based couples counseling would be incredibly helpful....

DuddyH :

I'm thinking specifically of EFT marital therapy because of it's demonstrated secondary effects on depression as well.

DuddyH :

At the very least, you might want to read the book "Hold me Tight" with your wife to get an "emotionally focused" thinking and problem solving process going with her....

DuddyH :

Let me get you some links that explain what EFT is. I'm not an EFT therapist but I have always referred couples with more complex case presentations and it has never failed. I've also attended with my own wife during a time of great stress and it was really helpful.

DuddyH :

EFT is currently the best science proven marital therapy in the world: http://www.iceeft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&Itemid=79

DuddyH :

Let me get you a video, that outlines the book I recommend, written by the therapy's main founder and researcher:

DuddyH :

I guess what I'm trying to say is kind of what you said when you were responding to my questions earlier: "acknowledgement of her grievances" ....

DuddyH :

EFT really gets to the heart of the matter by teaching a couple to really hear the deep emotional needs in a special way. As I alluded to earlier, this approach actually helped a large sample of couples who had one clinically depressed partner. After therapy, the depression disappeared in most cases, by "fixing the marriage" emotionally with no special treatment of the depression. What are your thoughts?

Customer: I think she has given up because she come to the view that I am not capable of understanding because as she say "I just don't get her" this might give me/us the tools to get the point where I do understand and she may shift her view. If she won't participate in this because I sense she has therapy fatigue because of her mental health problems what is the best approach to this? ShouldmInproceed alone and try to show her it is working or is it essential that she participate?
Customer: EFT does sound like what our marriage needs because I am not hearing her emotional needs and my wife needs to hat what mine are too.
DuddyH :

I have to be honest here, we as experts at justanswer can't provide anything like a formal assessment of customers or customer family members; and really answering that part of your question would require in person familiarity with your situation and perhaps detailed clinical interviewing with your wife. What I can do is tell you about what works best in general terms...

DuddyH :

It may be very helpful to get a structured "emotionally focused conversation" going with your wife. For example, reading the book together (reading each other a chapter each night over a couple of weeks -given your work schedule) on specially planned "date nights" may really give you both a different perspective. The book provides easy to read and highly thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter....

DuddyH :

It may also be helpful to share the video I sent you and the other information so that you're wife can see that it's really an evidence-based treatment not just couple's counseling as usual. And, that's its really helped in many cases where one person had depression. EFT is also usually very effective with results lasting years (based on follow up studies). It may help her to know that it's a potentially high value but short term time and therapy commitment, not potentially endless like some other forms of therapy..... I'll wait for your response.

Customer: Thanks DuddlyH I'll read the info on EFT , watch the video & discuss with my wife. It's a great help to have some appropriate information & to be pointed in a direction that will provide constructive help.
DuddyH :

I'm glad to have helped out....

DuddyH :

Have I answered your question ok today?

Customer: Yes thanks
DuddyH :

Great. Please don't forget to press the green "Accept" button so I am paid for my time working with you today...

DuddyH :

I wish you and your family the very best. Take care!

David H., BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 166
Experience: Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
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