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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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Customer Question

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 5 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 can sense your deep frustration at your husband's lack of personal motivation and momentum and lack of consideration and showing of love and caring. You are clearly an intelligent and competent woman and feel demoralized and at a dead end from this. And you have now begun to consider leaving, which is an important sign that the problems are growing and need fixing urgently.

The fact that he is willing to go to couples therapy only now that you have threatened to leave is, of course, not an encouraging sign. I work with couples here in the US and I can tell you that the number one problem in why couples therapy doesn't work is because one spouse is not really interested in making any changes. They are in therapy only because the other spouse is highly motivated. But the spouse who only agreed to go as a desperate way to not have you leave is usually not seeking to make changes but to just keep you from leaving. He'd like things to stay pretty much as they are without you giving him a hard time.

And this is the much more of a factor in the success or failure of couples therapy than the particular style of the therapist. Most people get to couples therapy too late: one spouse, you in this situation, is about to give up, and the other spouse is not interested in changing anything about himself.

We humans are not built to tolerate emotional vacuums. When we have unfulfilled emotional needs, and we don't find a way to fulfill our needs in the marriage, then there has been created a vacuum. Our emotional selves feel the void and want it filled. So we feel the sense of "missing" something and life seems unfulfilled. You seem to be in the throes of this vacuum.

So when you interview the couples therapist I want you to keep the criteria you are searching for simple:

You want first and foremost someone who you believe is smart, honest, and cares about people. You need the person to be smart in order not to have your husband just try to manipulate the situation.

Second, you want someone who is firm, who you feel will not be shy to speak the truth to your husband about what would be needed.

And finally, you want to look for someone who is practical. You want someone who gives homework assignments to the two of you. This is very important. Your husband needs to learn that he has to put in effort to save the marriage. And in my experience, doing weekly work together is the best way to learn this point. It's very important that the therapy be practical so your husband doesn't just lose interest and think he can slide by again.

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

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