Will my husband ever change?
“Resistance to change manifests itself in many ways, from foot-dragging and inertia to petty sabotage to outright rebellions.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Sometimes we expect our partners to know what it is we need. It’s so obvious to us, we can’t imagine how he couldn’t know. But the truth is we cannot carry resentments about our needs not being met if we haven’t expressed to our partners what it is we need. We know they can’t read our minds.
But what about when you have expressed what you need and still nothing has changed?...continue reading...
“This is how dishonesty and betrayal started, not in big lies but in small secrets.” Amy Tan
One of my clients had recently learned of her husband engaging in emotional infidelity with a woman he worked alongside each day. She had been able to move past it by telling herself: It was only emotional; at least they never had sex.
One day later, I had a different client whose husband had cheated on her but it was purely physical. There was no emotional connection between them. She had made peace with it because it was only sex, void of ...continue reading...
“If someone is arguing with you, you are saying something arguable.” Julia B. Colwell, PhD
One of the things I help my private clients do is identify the patterns of engagement with their spouses, specifically how they argue or disagree with one another. It usually looks something like this:
She expresses something that hurt her, such as “You don’t listen to or understand me.”
He takes that as a personal attack and now feels the need to defend himself.
She tries to get him to see her perspective.
His defending becomes louder and more forceful.
She shuts down ...continue reading...
“People can’t change the truth, but the truth can change people.” Drake
My client, who I’ll refer to as Naomi shared something important with me recently: She said she realized how she was using her children as a means of avoiding closeness with her husband.
When they would all be walking together, the kids were in the middle between them.
When they would hand out together in the kitchen around the island, she noticed how she always seemed to be on the opposite side of the island closest to her children.
Even in bed, the kids often fell ...continue reading...
“Shame is a soul eating emotion.” Carl Gustav Jung
My new client, who I’ll refer to as Paula, recently found out that her husband has been having an affair with another woman for at least ten years. As you can imagine, she’s devastated.
Ten years together isn’t a fling or a simple indiscretion; it’s a relationship.
Paula is wondering why she ignored the signs.
She’s wondering where exactly the marriage broke in order for her 30-year marriage to be vulnerable to an affair.
She’s wondering how she’ll ever be able to trust again.
She vacillates between blaming herself ...continue reading...
“Rarely does anything get properly cooked on the back burner.” Susan Gale
Back when most of us got married, it felt like some sort of an accomplishment. We checked that box with a buoyant optimism and then quickly got busy with the other important life goals and building a life together.
We build a home together and buy new furniture.
We get a pet.
We often operate on stress and fumes as we achieve at work, reaching for greater and greater success each in our own way.
At some point, we begin creating a family together and bring new ...continue reading...
“Being both soft and strong is an accomplishment that very few have mastered.” Yasmin Mogahed
In my first marriage, I was a woman who was strong and capable and driven. I was a marketing executive climbing the corporate ladder who led large teams of people and prided herself on being the one who could GSD (aka: Get Shit Done).
As you can imagine, there is no “off” switch that helped me to soften on my way home to my husband after work each night, so I unconsciously brought that same controlling energy and GSD approach into my marriage. ...continue reading...
“The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional.” Stephen Kendrick
Loving unconditionally is easy to say, living it is so much more difficult.
When my husband is telling me how beautiful I am and doing the things that make me happy, I am loving toward him and think loving thoughts about him. When he does something that makes me feel hurt or tells how frustrated he is with me, I shut down or punch back and become hurtful in return.
That’s loving conditionally.
When we feel heard and understood, that feels like standing in ...continue reading...
Occasionally a marriage will end as a result of one single incident, such as infidelity. But more often than not, it’s the day-to-day hurtful words and actions between a couple that dissolve a marriage slowly over time. And almost nothing can chip away at a marriage more directly than one or both partners’ need to be right when there’s a disagreement.
The desire to be right is something that was taught to us at a very young age. When we get the answers right in school, we get better grades. We went out into competitive working environments and those ...continue reading...
“Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible.” Mao Zedong
If you were to look at the national averages for divorce rates in the US for people in the healthcare profession, it would show them beating the national averages (Physicians and Surgeons divorcing at a rate of 21.8% and Healthcare professionals 31.6% according to quartz.com*). However, that hasn’t been my experience.
I have doctors and surgeons, wives of doctors and surgeons, nurses and therapists as clients. I also have teachers, administrators, corporate execs and other professions, but people in the healthcare field certainly make up more than ...continue reading...