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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5334
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I have a situation between me and my wife. We have been

Customer Question

I have a situation between me and my wife. We have been together for over 3 years and have 2 beautiful children ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2.
I work during the day, own my own business. My wife stays home with the children during the day. The other day while i am at work (i drive around our small town quite a bit) in-between jobs, i met a friend while he was on his lunch break and just sat for 10 mins or so while he ate and talked to him, then left and went on to my next job. When my wife saw a text from him asking me to come meet him and talk for a bit, and i told her i sat with him for 10 mins, she got very angry, saying that its wrong of me to see my friends during the day while im "supposed" to be working, while she has to be at home taking care of the kids. That its un-fair that i get to see my friend for 10 mins while she has to be at home, although if i were at home and not working, and ask to go see a friend it would be out of the question. because once again she would be left at hom
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 6 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. I have to say that I sense you are both very sincere both as husband and wife and as parents and are both trying your best. And the stress of your lives is very high as it is with almost everyone in America and the world right now trying to raise a family and make ends meet at the same time.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. I am concerned for your marriage that the two of you are going through this destructive dance. You must both be using all your self control to just not blow up quite often. Because the stress is high and you each are working at your maximum capacities.

So, we have to make a good faith effort to right the ship because it sounds as though you have a very good marriage. And we need to protect it. Okay?

Therefore, I want you to print out my answer and take it and her to a Starbucks or other quiet place (on a date which I know is tough but that is part of the problem) 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 but see if you can get it locally to save time.

I want you to know that this squabble is not as serious as you two think. It is the stress in your lives that makes this a big thing. It is making you each focus on what you ARE NOT getting that you need rather than on how much you two are building. See the difference in focus? Negative versus positive. In my office, you would be a wonderful couple to work with because you have so much going for you still. So the work with the book may be enough. But if not, get professional help and make the time for it and fit it into your budget because your marriage is precious.

The therapy: the two of you would 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. There are two types of therapies I recommend strongly for you two to consider.

One type of therapy is called Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Why? Because it focuses on how there have been created emotional barriers and how to get through those barriers. Please consider it before you take other action.

Here is the web address for their therapist finder:

On the website you'll also find excellent books by the founders, Sue Johnson and Leslie Greenberg. They're in Toronto. You may not find an EFT therapist in your area. So, the other therapy is Gottman therapy. Yes, the same Gottman as the book above. Seek a therapist who is certified by the Gottman Institute. Here's their web address for finding a therapist:

Why? Because his couples therapy model is the most straightforward model available and you may need that because there isn't much time to see if he will move closer. I hope that therapists working in these types of couples therapies are listed for your area. If not, find a couples therapist who makes you feel confident in his/her skills and values.

Okay, so that is a program to try to right the ship of your marriage. Because you have a good marriage.

I wish you the very best in this and in the future!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.