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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5106
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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Trying to control my emotions And be rational while in arguments

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Trying to control my emotions And be rational while in arguments with my wife. I believe she may suffer from some form of neurosis. Feel like I'm in an impossible situation.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.

I can imagine it is very frustrating for you. Are there stressors right now that might be causing this problem for her? Recent births, pregnancy, etc.?

Would she be willing to go to couples counseling with you for a short while to work on this together? Sometimes having a third person who's impartial can make a difference.

Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.


Dr. Mark

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No sir. Have been married for 7 months and
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No sir. Have been married for 7 months and have 2 step-children. Just today I mentioned that I didn't think we needed to bring a baby into the world until we were in a healthy position. Now she wants a divorce. Don't know if its manipulative or if she means it
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the added information. It helps a lot.

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating and distressing this situation must be for you. That she wants a divorce after 7 months means something very extreme is happening. I don't know what and it sounds like you don't either. I can see why you are so concerned. What do I mean?


Communication is the muscular system of love. And love is the circulatory system. Let me repeat that because it's so important: it's not sex; it's not beauty or looking good; it's not being smart or clever. Communication between the two people is the love muscle; it's the muscular system of love. The desire to give to the other person, to make the other person happy is the heart of love, the circulatory system.

Your wife seems to have stopped communicating with you in an open manner. And when that happens, then the heart of marriage, the desire to give to the other person begins to wither. And then the communication becomes one way: everyone is talking basically to themselves, not each other.

From what you write, the sense you give is that what is happening is not yet atrophy. Atrophy is what happens to muscles when they are not exercised and used regularly. They lose tone and eventually lose ability to activate. And love can atrophy. It slowly wears out until you can't find how to access it any more.

So, we'll try to see if we can get her to be willing to put her "heart" back into this, to reactivate her giving circulatory system. I want you to print out my answer and take it and her to a Starbucks or other quiet place and discuss it and commit to the program to try to make your marriage a success. You're going to start with a book. You'll get 2 copies, one for each of you. Each night you're both going to read a few pages or a chapter and do the exercise there if there is one in those pages. Every other night, or at most, every third night sometimes, you will get together, either at home or at the Starbucks and talk about what you read. What you think of it, what it inspired in you. Make notes in the margins. And each one talk about the subject of the pages and what you think. That's your assignment and dates.

The book: It's by the foremost researcher into relationships in our day, John Gottman. He's famous for being interviewed on TV and being able to tell when a couple will get divorced within 5 minutes and having 90% accuracy. I've studied his therapy and use his therapy in my practice and that's why I'm concerned that you two do this. So the book is the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. You can get it cheaply online or see if you can get it locally to save time.

Now, a secret: the magic is not mostly in the book. The exercises and Gottman's insights will be very useful and important for the two of you. But the magic is in the act of working together on your marriage! The two of you paying attention every single day to your marriage and making effort every single day: that's the magic ingredient in great marriages that GROW in love as the years pile up. I want to make sure you both understand this. Because that's the key to our work here. Okay?

If this work gets you two to first base but not all the way, if it isn't a home run, then consider therapy: the two of you MUST work on how emotional connections are made and maintained. The two of you together need help in learning how to make your marriage more emotionally intimate and positive.

One type of therapy is called Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Why this type for you? Because it focuses on how there have been created emotional barriers and how to get through those barriers. Here is the web address for their therapist finder:

http://iceeft.com/findtherapist.php

On the website you'll also find excellent books by the founders, Sue Johnson and Leslie Greenberg.

There are not that many therapist who work in these therapies and so I recommended EFT couples therapy knowing that often it's a way to orient you on the type of work you want the therapist you do choose to focus on.

Here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (they show you a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list couples therapy in their orientations. Interview the therapist and make sure he/she shares your values and you each feel confident in him or her.

http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5106
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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