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JR, M.A.
JR, M.A., Mental Health Professional
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 184
Experience:  I have a master's degree in clinical psychology and am currently finishing my doctoral degree.
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question for JR: beth attended my monday session with dr. rice

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question for JR: beth attended my monday session with dr. rice (my individual counselor) and his wife, who is also licensed and works with dr. rice on couples counseling. they asked her to say 3 things that frustrated her. after a couple rounds of this, it got around to thing about ME that frustrated her. then we began this listening excercise where i had to regurgitate back to her what she said. it was difficult, and i came across as someone who frankly doesn't listen very well. after the session, beth called me and asked if i "still wanted to go" on our date this friday. of course, i said, i've already arranged child care (grandma) for the night. things seem so good. is there something i can say/do to move things forward tonite?



I'm glad that she decided to attend the session with you. I think this is a good sign of her commitment to the relationship. You should just be yourself tonight and continue to treat your wife like the lady you fell in love with. Do not force anything, as it will just feel unnatural and pretentious. I would encourage the two of you to continue in couples therapy is she is willing to try. Tell her how much you appreciated her coming to your session. Give her incentive to want to come back. You will benefit from having her in session with you from time to time at least. By the not be so hard on yourself about the listening thing. I am a therapist and even I have trouble listening to my clients from time to time. =) It takes practice to listen well...people take that for granted. You will be fine if you just keep will come to you eventually. It is not natural for a man to be a good listener...we are better at "doing" than "listening." I would suggest you just enjoy your wife tonight and don't allow your anxiety about moving forward to cause you to not enjoy yourself. Because if you are not enjoying yourself...Beth will not enjoy herself. =) Best Wishes tonight. Did you read Love and Respect yet?


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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
i read love and respect, good stuff, workable material; i've also read several other books and i hope i'm doing the right things. some advice books tell you to do some "counter-intuitive" things, which i can't do (like ignore her calls, avoid her when she wants contact) because i want to use those opportunities to build our relationship. if i am going to be given the opportunity to make good on 16 years of bad behavior, i've got to use every opportunity to do so. i hope i'm reading this right, once again she wants to spend time with me...that's good, right? in addition, her deciding to go to the counselors sessions...good, right? even if some tough stuff comes out of them, right? (again, i'm begging the question, sorry)



In response to those are doing the right thing. I suggest you take the advice from Love and Respect and put it into action. Do not listen to this pop psychology crap...that is, ignoring her phone calls and avoiding her. That stuff is BS! That only works on disturbed individuals, which I'm guessing your wife is not one of those individuals. You are reading this right. She wants to repair your marriage. She is invested. She would not have come to therapy if she was not invested in your marriage. Therapy WILL bring up some "tough stuff," but you must be willing to face your problems with her. Just admit that you struggle to listen well and promise that you will work on it. Use it as an opportunity to show her that you are really really trying to change. You are in good shape my friend. Good luck tonight!



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Customer: replied 9 years ago.

good news,


just got back from the jim gaffigan comedy show, had a great time. beth asked me to reschedule my counseling sessions to wednesdays so she could attend. i interpret that as good news anyway.


slow and steady as we go. jr, i think the work is paying off.







I'm glad to hear that everything went well. I think it is great news that Beth is willing to come to your sessions. Keep up the good work.




Customer: replied 9 years ago.
what do you think about the notion that marriage counseling is not successful, brings up too many negatives. i've read about this theory online and it does seem that it can create a lot of pain. i want to be optomistic going in, but...

Hi Chris,


Marriage counseling is as helpful as the therapist is skilled. I like the idea of having a co-therapist who is a female, as in your case with the Drs. Rice. It does bring up negatives, but you cannot pretend negatives do not exist. Some negatives are very large and need to be addressed in therapy. Don't be defensive in therapy with your wife...just be real. She will appreciate your genuineness. Admit your faults and commit to working on it. If it does not help after 2 months, then stop doing it.



Customer: replied 9 years ago.
i'm adding all this up. she still spends time, hangs out, dates me, now she says she'll go to therapy. what's the chance she wants to work it out? what's my best response in therapy. thry're gonna ask her to communicate frustration to me and i have to repeat 'em back, if it goes anything like it did last time, she's gonna show hurt. that hurts me.



You are going to have to deal with some hurt to get through this process. You already hurt your wife with your years of selfish behavior. Be understanding and listen to how your wife feels and validate her feelings. Do not dismiss how she feels...just listen and agree that you have done things the wrong way. Then commit to doing things differently. She will respect you more for that.