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Is There Any Hope for this Marriage?

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Mom-on-the-edge hits couples counseling and lives to tell about it. 


My first impression was that Gilligan got off the island and he was now a therapist in New York City. Dr. B came stumbling out of his office, glasses balanced atop his eyebrows, eyes bulging. He stammered, stuttered my name pronouncing it so incorrectly that I said, "No, that's not me. Oh, wait, yes it is!" There was a lot at stake. This was our last ditch effort and it was up to this guy to save our marriage.

I had to keep an open mind. I touched the silver necklace around my neck. My husband gave it to me while I was pregnant. The silver bean reminded me of my first sonogram. I was here for my son, and I vowed to touch it whenever our session got too stressful. I was touching it now.

My husband and I sat down. Not next to each other, of course. The day we didn't keep our distance would be the day I knew this was all worth it.

Dr. B's first question seemed simple enough. "Why are you here?"

"I've had it! This is it! I'm serious. THIS IS IT! I'VE HAD IT!"

"What do you hope to get out of this?"

"We have a 10-month-old, and I'm here to save our marriage. We've been to counseling before, but I hope this can be a more positive experience."

"I've had it! THIS IS IT!"

Mr. B mirrored, validated and empathized with my husband's repetitive outburst. "You're at your wits' end in this marriage. You've had it. I hear what you're saying. I understand you must be feeling very frustrated." My husband seemed satisfied. I still wasn't sold. This was a tactic used in Imago therapy. I didn't want to go down that path again. I played with my necklace between my fingers.

"What did you want to be when you were 16?"

"A writer. I knew that's what I wanted to be since I was 5."

"A zoologist."

"Are you a zoologist?"

"No. It wasn't practical, it would take too much studying, I wasn't smart enough in science..."

"Well, that's significant because if we don't realize our identities, then it affects our entire lives."

"Now, we're talking!" I thought.

"What was your earliest dream?"

Mine was of a Frank Lloyd Wright type house. My husband dreamed of infinity.

"Any recurring dreams?"

Mine was of that same house. My husband dreamed of tornados and stealing cars.

Mr. B surmised that having a home and happy family were of utmost importance to me, and I wanted to have a partner who could help me realize those dreams. It was true! Although it sounded so obvious I never took the time to recognize the connection between my conscious and unconscious mind.

My husband wasn't as easy to figure out. Dr. B said he would need more time getting to know him, but he did notice that there were no people in his dreams. No human connection.

Bravo! This counseling session was intriguing, enlightening and I was excited.

However, Dr. B didn't ask us about our awake dreams--the fantasies that fill our heads throughout the day. Mine-- that my husband talked to me more than his mom, that he showed some concern when I stubbed my toe, and that he said 'good morning' when he woke up and started the day with some hope instead of hate.

A girl can dream, can't she?

next: Locals React to Pregnancy Pact
3 comments so far | Post a comment now
sensovi June 24, 2008, 4:08 PM

“our awake dreams—the fantasies that fill our heads throughout the day. Mine— that my husband talked to me more than his mom, …”

This is similar to a question we ask couples coming in for counseling — “Do you touch your child or pet more than your partner?”

True, most moms will tend to cuddle and touch their kids more than their husbands, but if people are seeking relationship intimacy through contact with people (or pets) other than their spouse, it MAY be a sign that the marriage/relationship needs help.

If you’re interested, you can take the Partner and Intimacy Evaluation online at

greg August 6, 2008, 10:47 PM

I believe it would greatly reduce the divorce rate if potential marriage partners answered this question to each other.

Assuming there is no physical or verbal abuse, no drug problems, and no physical incapacities,
for how long after the wedding should a married couple continue to give each other a sex life?

a) Til death do us part.
b) Only until the women reaches menopause.
c) Only until the novelty of marriage wears off, say one to two years, and after that sex is only for making babies.
d) Only during the honeymoon, and after that sex is only for making babies.

Knowing how a potential life-partner answered this question would prevent surprises later on in the marriage.
The surprises I’m talking about here are the ones that make men feel like they are stuck in a loveless marriage,
and they then either stick with it as unhappily married men, or end it in divorce, or go out and seek what’s
missing in their lives from other women, and then their wife claims that is the reason the marriage is bad.

There is a saying “Women need to feel loved to want sex, and men need to have sex to feel loved”.
It’s a start but not the total picture since women also need to feel comfortable with their body
to want sex, or feel that there is something to gain from having sex, such as to kick-start to new
relationship or maintain one that is not yet legally binding.

Their answers to the above question should be made part of “The Commitment”, and their should
never be okay for either partner to invoke a “perogative to change ones mind” about “The Commitment”.

K October 13, 2008, 1:10 PM

It always boils down to sex, doesn’t it? It doesn’t matter what else is going on - as long as teh woman is willing to have sex, it seems all is good?

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