Big Problem – working on the marriage
By Dr. Huizenga – The Infidelity Coach
Remember in our last Newsletter we talked about how men or perhaps the woman in a polarized relationship resist or drag their feet when it comes to intentionally mending a broken marriage?
One person internalizes and the other person has a need to externalize or “talk it through.”
The externalizer sees great value in self help books, perhaps therapy, and finds materials that will help him/her talk about and work on the relationship.
The other partner thinks, “Oh no, do I have to?” And, only if his/her emotional or relational equilibrium is highly threatened will he/she journey into this territory. If he/she does, it is only to the degree that the partner is appeased or he/she can find a quick and graceful way out.
Here’s another problem couples encounter: believing they must “work on” the marriage.
Yes, you read that right. “Working on” the marriage or relationship can be fruitless!
Let’s start here.
“Working on” the relationship sounds awful, doesn’t it? And it often is. But we are told or it is implied in therapy and from others that relationships need to be worked on. It takes effort that sometimes seems to border on drudgery.
A colleague was having a terrible time with a couple in marriage therapy. This couple had gone through some very difficult times (he had been seeing another woman.) The OP (other person) was legitimately and in all ways out of the picture and they were both committed to “working on the relationship.”
However, they were having a terribly frightful time making headway. My therapist colleague finally out of desperation referred them to me, hoping I could see them through the impasse.
They walked through my door, took a seat and the session began. Both told me they truly wanted a better relationship and were working hard to make it happen. It was sincere.
She described what she would do when he came home after work, trying to make him comfortable, affirmed and welcome. He explained how he tried to talk more, be present for her and meet her needs. He listed 3-4 ways in which he was trying to make her feel more desirable and loved. Each was hanging on the other’s words.
In addition to a rather large aura of tension that surrounded them, the couple exuded a deep sense of weariness and tiredness. They were exhausted. Emotionally they were spent. There was little life in each of them and in the relationship.
They looked at me as if, “OK, the last therapist tried her bag of tricks to make us better. And we worked diligently on every one of them. What do you suggest we do to make this better?”
So, I said, “For one week, from the moment you leave this office to the moment you walk through that door next week, I do NOT want you to work on the relationship. I don’t want you to think about your relationship or marriage, or the other person. Just drop it!”
They walked through the door the following week smiling, light, like a breath of fresh clean air sweeping through my office.
She, especially, thanked me profusely for giving her permission not to “work” on the relationship. They both were given the emotional bandwidth to declare themselves and in that, found an immeasurable sense of relief and freedom.
This wider bandwidth paradoxically cemented the relationship and replaced the fear and tension with joy.
I saw them for 3-4 more sessions and they were happily on their way.
Now, there are specific reasons for this. In the next issue I will give 6 solid reasons why working on the marriage is a death trap for the relationship.
So, if “working on the relationship” is a trap and one person in a polarized marriage drags his/her feet, how does one go about mending a relationship broken by infidelity?
Good question. And, this question, as a professional, I’ve asked myself countless times.
My quest is to find materials that are effective in spite of these two tendencies.
I have some great material I’m putting together precisely for polarized couples and/or those who, down deep, don’t want to “work on the marriage.
It soon will be here, in E-book format. It will be called: “Infidelity Recovery – Marriage Makeover.”
Stay tuned. It’s coming…….
Should you Stay or Should you Go?
Are you wondering what you should do? Stay? Go? Ask him/her to Go? There is often a “knee-jerk” response when confronted with the extramarital affair. Feelings of hurt, anger, rage, sadness, disbelief predominate.
“Should You Stay or Should You Go?” is an “action book” filled with hundreds of questions, stories and insights that will help you consciously determine whether to stay in your present relationship or to move on.
In this book we take you through a powerful process of discovery about yourself, your partner and your relationship. By going through this process, the decision about what’s best for you actually reveals itself to you. Click on the link above for more information.
Accelerate your Healing and Marriage Saving
If you want to move more quickly through your pain and mend your self and your marriage, sign up for one of our coaching packages.
Unhook yourself from the blind spots and move ahead not around in circles. Jen and I will support you, encourage you, love you and help plan a way to break free.
You might want to hurry, because when the new E-book, “Infidelity Recovery – Marriage Makeover” comes out, the coaching prices will go up.
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