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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
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How do I communicate with my husband who is too busy for me? We

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How do I communicate with my husband who is too busy for me?
We need to build a new house but he is too busy but more than happy to wait until I retire and then I can take on this project.im very sad that he doesn't want to do it together

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Hi! I'm sorry that since you were offline the system reverted to the question/answer format, so I'll answer you here, okay?

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating and distressing this situation must be for you. I have a feeling that the frustration you expressed that came through so clearly in your few brief words are not limited to this one episode. It sounds as though the lack of unity and togetherness is a problem that you feel strongly is hurting the relationship. And that he doesn't recognize this and isn't making efforts to create unity and togetherness.

It is hard to say, without you two in session in marriage counseling (I'll get to that further in my answer to you) why he is behaving this way. There are a number of reasons why men take this approach in marriage:

They are overwhelmed by their responsibilities and don't know how to communicate it well; their approach to marriage is that it just sort of coasts along unless something is broken; they might be depressed themselves (men show depression differently than women); there are so many possibilities. But that doesn't change the essential problem, that the communication between you two is not satisfying and not effective. I know this is not only frustrating for you but hurtful as well.



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.


So, we'll try to see if we can get him to be willing to put his "heart" back into this, to reactivate his giving circulatory system. I want you to print out my answer and take it and him to a Starbucks or other quiet place (I think they have Starbucks in Australia, right?) 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. He is busy, but this is his marriage is what you have to tell him. And you know that if there was a life threatening illness, you'd find the time. Well, he needs to know that your marriage has a life threatening illness, or at least a very serious one.


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 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 started but doesn't get you where you think you two should be, then consider couples 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 therapiesin Australia 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 a general online therapist finder for Australia that I like because you can see a picture of the person and read about them a bit. So put in for the therapist either psychologist or a psychotherapist and psychodynamic for the technique.

http://www.findatherapist.com.au/



The Australian Psychological Society has a search. Scroll down and put in self-esteem in the search window.

http://www.psychology.org.au/FindaPsychologist/Default.aspx


Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My husband says when his business takes off he will be able to eat sleep and breathe it.
Where does his marriage fit into all of this?
Do I fight for my marriage or am I on my own?
It is a family business and his father has said I less you come from it you will never understand it.his father has lost the plot lately but I think he still meant what he said.he has been very controlling of my husband and never warm towards me . More like even after 20 years that I am an outsider.he is the same with the other inlaws.makes for a great Christmas.!
This year has been the worst business year ever .costs are up and employees still get paid and take their holidays.i work outside the family business to spread the risk but work in the business on my holidays and I'm tired.life is very hard and my husband cannot see a way out.i just work harder to relieve his burden but their is no relief .the kids are getting older and I pay all their expenses to try to help out so his $ goes to the business and now I feel taken for granted and he has everything he wants so why would he try and change anything?
Oh, I am so sorry to hear all this. I have a very sinking feeling here, not for your marriage, but for the situation. It sounds as though there may be a narcissistic parent involved here.


Please know that I am not using the word narcissistic in the clinical sense here but in the popular sense. It may be that your father in law (FIL) fits the clinical diagnosis, but that is not something I can conclude online here. But in the popular sense, narcissism means that the person sees his needs, his wants, what's important to him, as being the only important things. And that everything and everyone else has to bend to it and be secondary.


And if this is the case, then your husband has been living under the weight of this oppression for many years, decades: his whole life, most likely. And it's such a difficult thing. Standing up to his father is probably more than he could bear.


When you wrote "makes for a great Christmas.!" I understood. I've worked in therapy so often with people who have had to live under the thumbs of narcissistic types of people (because so often, these dominating and domineering people are like that, they make you feel powerless and under their thumbs). So I can imagine how not-fun it can make Christmas for you.


This is a dynamic that you have to recognize becomes central now in the work I outlined above for you and your husband. You two need to be on the same side, the same team so to speak, in terms of this struggle with your FIL and his domination. I don't know what options your husband has. And after this much time, his whole life most likely, of bending to his father's will, I don't know if your husband has the emotional and psychological wherewithal to just say no to your FIL on things that might help the marriage.


But if the two of you recognize that in those areas you're there for each other and focus your work of improving the marriage on other areas--where he can make changes and you can also--then it will become a much more satisfying marriage and can be very much what you want.


That would be my first recommendation to you, then: Google narcissistic parents and see if my concern might be what is going on and then begin to work both on that sharing of the problem (his father) with your husband and working on the marriage with the tools I mentioned above.


Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

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