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    Thread: Marriage counseling vs. marriage success

    1. 10-09-2012 07:31 PM #1
      Wife and I have been together for 14 years, married 10, and have a 2 1/2 year old son. We've been going to marriage counseling for probably close to two years (and two different counselors), and I don't really feel like we're making much, if any, progress. She also suffers from anxiety and depression, which I feel is the biggest hurdle (she is on meds)

      I'm curious what the success rate is for couples in counseling, how long you saw a counselor, how long you've been married etc. I'm not trying to say that I'm perfect in our marriage or anything like that, but I feel that I get a lot of blame for **** that she makes up in her head (and the counselor has agreed in the past), and I'm trying to decide when enough is enough.

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      10-10-2012 09:17 AM #2
      I personally think it is a complete sham. We know a number of people that have gone and the only thing that definitely worked was draining of their bank accounts. In the end, the ones that stuck together are still fighting about the same things and the others decided it wasn't worth it and split. It just took paying someone $1000s of dollars to make them recognize this.

      I told my wife that if she ever suggested it, I'd just take the money and get an apartment.

      Oh, and about getting blamed for things that are made up and compounded in her head- welcome to mine and every married man's life that I have ever met. It is the primary reason guys joke about women being crazy.

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      10-10-2012 10:29 AM #3
      It sounds like your problems started shortly after you had a kid.

      Is that when the wife's depression started? Did you guys stop making the beast with two backs around then? Started treating each other like parents instead of spouses?

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      10-10-2012 10:52 AM #4
      I don't think they are a terrible idea.

      My wife and I have been married for 14 years and been dating for 20+ years.

      We occasionally have issues communicating. She's always been very emotional and I've always been direct and much less emotional.

      We have also had discussions on occasion about visiting a counselor but I've always balked at the idea. In truth I think that if things were really bad then I'd give myself and her some time with a counselor before calling it quits with on another.

      We've never gotten even close this though, just rough patches.

    5. 10-11-2012 11:10 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by smittyATL View Post
      It sounds like your problems started shortly after you had a kid.

      Is that when the wife's depression started? Did you guys stop making the beast with two backs around then? Started treating each other like parents instead of spouses?
      Nope, there were depression issues before, just better hidden. The times where it wasn't hidden, I didn't realize how bad it actually was- like I was just seeing the overflow without seeing what she was still keeping bottled up inside. From my perspective, one of the issues is that she has spent so many years going along with what I want to do, that she's grown resentful. She's always put the well being of others before her own, and it's catching up to her. I'm open to doing things that she wants to do, but she rarely takes the initiative to make them happen, then blames me because "we never....."

      Most of the time, I think we're doing ok, then she has a freak out session. I'm struggling knowing when enough is enough.

      As far as the money grab- I was feeling the exact same way after the first counselor. The only people that profit from marriage are counselors and divorce attorneys,

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      10-11-2012 02:39 PM #6
      I don't have any first hand experience with them, but I've talked to people that have used them. I've been been married for 11 years and we've been together for 12. We don't have any problems, so it's hard for me to relate. But in my opinion, if you've been going to these people for two years or more and nothing is changing, I'd say it's probably time to throw in the towel if it's more than you can deal with.

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      10-12-2012 02:12 PM #7
      I'd say counselors are good for situations where communication is the issue. If anything, it sounds like your wife needs counseling on her own to deal with her issues.

      You could try NOT thinking things are ok until an episode happens. Meaning* -If she's asked every so often to voice any issues she's having then maybe they won't build into a large meltdown that makes you wonder "WTH am I doing with this chic". At the same time, she has to be willing to walk through that door whenever you open it..

      If she has a hard time taking the initiative on things she'd like to do, put the ball in her court and ask her directly what she would like to do. Im the type where I dont mind going with the flow, so I understand how it could be hard for her to say, "No, I think I'd like to do ....".

      Hope things work out for the best..

    8. 10-12-2012 11:43 PM #8
      My work place covers marriage counseling to a certain amount.

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      10-17-2012 12:04 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid VW View Post
      Wife and I have been together for 14 years, married 10, and have a 2 1/2 year old son. We've been going to marriage counseling for probably close to two years (and two different counselors), and I don't really feel like we're making much, if any, progress. She also suffers from anxiety and depression, which I feel is the biggest hurdle (she is on meds)

      I'm curious what the success rate is for couples in counseling, how long you saw a counselor, how long you've been married etc. I'm not trying to say that I'm perfect in our marriage or anything like that, but I feel that I get a lot of blame for **** that she makes up in her head (and the counselor has agreed in the past), and I'm trying to decide when enough is enough.
      I've been to a therapist alone, I've been to therapist with my ex-wife, and I've been to a therapist with my current girlfriend. I'm generally pro-therapy, but that's because I know its limitations.

      First, in my experience, couples counseling does not work unless both partners are either very self-aware or have been through individual counseling themselves. Basically, the two people have to come to couples counseling knowing who they are and knowing what they want. A couples counselor's job, first and foremost is to facilitate communication. It's not a great venue to try and fix one partner with the other present. That being said: Two years? Are you ****ing out of your mind? Would you go to a physical therapist who couldn't show any improvement in your bad shoulder for 2 years? How about a mechanic who says he's going to need 100 visits to diagnose and fix your car?

      Therapy is best when you have a specific problem, not some kind of general "things just aren't working". The thing is, to know specifically what's wrong calls for the self-awareness I mentioned above. "Mr. Therapist, my wife is easily triggered and we need some tools to help her through this challenging time". Is your wife seeing a therapist on her own? If she's on meds, why not? Are you seeing a therapist on your own?

      My track record with therapy: Individual therapy, I have a great therapist, I'll go once a year or so for 6 -8 weeks to help work through a specific, discrete (edit: wrong spelling of discrete, lol) issue. Couples therapy with girlfriend, it was good, helped us address a couple issues we were having trouble bringing up on our own. Note that we knew what these issues were, we didn't just walk in clueless. Therapy with ex-wife, she left me and then wanted me to take her back. We went to 6 sessions and each session consisted of my ex and the therapist telling me all the things I did wrong to drive her away. At the end of the 6th session, I told them both to get bent.
      Last edited by pops; 10-17-2012 at 09:42 AM.

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      10-17-2012 09:20 AM #10
      So if you understand the problem, why do you need a stranger to tell you how to deal with it? I guess I just don't understand the point.

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      10-17-2012 09:41 AM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Papa Dras View Post
      So if you understand the problem, why do you need a stranger to tell you how to deal with it? I guess I just don't understand the point.
      Ideally, we'd all know exactly what we need and be able to communicate that to our spouse and our spouse would be able to hear it and nobody would get triggered and we wouldn't fall back into the same old patterns. But for those who can't, having someone their facilitating effective communication can be helpful.

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      10-17-2012 12:39 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by pops View Post
      Ideally, we'd all know exactly what we need and be able to communicate that to our spouse and our spouse would be able to hear it and nobody would get triggered and we wouldn't fall back into the same old patterns. But for those who can't, having someone their facilitating effective communication can be helpful.
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      10-17-2012 04:42 PM #13

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      10-17-2012 11:52 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by PiSSAT4motion View Post
      I'd say counselors are good for situations where communication is the issue. If anything, it sounds like your wife needs counseling on her own to deal with her issues.
      I agree. I think your wife should probably do some individual counseling to help her find some coping mechanisms or techniques to use.

      I have moderate anxiety which was causing depression (which only got worse after having a baby) - and I am currently on meds and seeing a counselor. Within a few weeks of meds, I started to feel like a whole new person and the counselor is great too. Maybe your wife needs different meds, , additia higher dose, additional meds, etc. ?

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      10-17-2012 11:58 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid VW View Post
      From my perspective, one of the issues is that she has spent so many years going along with what I want to do, that she's grown resentful. She's always put the well being of others before her own, and it's catching up to her. I'm open to doing things that she wants to do, but she rarely takes the initiative to make them happen, then blames me because "we never....."
      I don't really know what this means, but ask her what she wants to do - write it down and make it happen. I'm not sure if this means vacations, sex, going to the movies, getting a massage, or going out to a specific restaurant...but either way, make a big ol' list and start crossing things off.

      It's not fair for her to not voice her opinion and then be resentful at you when she doesn't communicate. Men are NOT mind readers. As a woman, I learned that a long time. If you want something, but blunt and ask for it.

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      10-18-2012 11:41 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by firefighterjunkie View Post

      It's not fair for her to not voice her opinion and then be resentful at you when she doesn't communicate. Men are NOT mind readers. As a woman, I learned that a long time. If you want something, but blunt and ask for it.
      Too bad for you that I'm already married. We'd be good together.

    17. 10-18-2012 01:59 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by pops View Post
      Two years? Are you ****ing out of your mind?
      I'm a slow learner? I totally get what you're saying, and appreciate your input. Part of my reason for dreating the thread was to get a feel for what "normal" is. Naturally everyone has their own situation and what works for them, so I'm not about to bail right now just because someone says I'm out of my mind, but it does give me a point of reference.

      Firefighterjunkie: she is on meds (clomipramine, I think), and has been seeing her own personal counselor for years (off and on, different counselors). I don't know if I could handle the transition to another med.

      I think she's doing better, in general, but there are still occasions (usually when I'm away, and it's over the phone) where she needs someone to vent to, but when the line "I just want you to act like you give a s**t!" comes early in the convo, it doesn't help me give a s**t This last time she called me the next day and was able to calmly explain what she needs from me in situations like that, but I don't know if I can do it. I have a hard time feeling empathy/sympathy for someone that sets themselves up for a bad situation. It's like me asking for a pity party because I just got a speeding ticket. We all know how to avoid getting a speeding ticket...

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      10-25-2012 12:27 PM #18
      Has anyone ever heard of someone being prescribed depression meds and it made them better? They seem to me to be a massive crutch that is easily prescribed.

      That being said, as mentioned above, the number one thing that is going to make your marriage successful is honest communication with each other, and both of you putting in the effort. No therapist can help you with that. Sit down and have the tough discussions. What do you both want out of your marriage? What do you not receive from the other person? Obviouly, having kids changes a relationship and puts more strain on it.

      In the end, the only person that is going to be able to fix your marriage, is you. Don't give up.
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      11-07-2012 01:00 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by leakypipeDCI View Post
      Has anyone ever heard of someone being prescribed depression meds and it made them better? They seem to me to be a massive crutch that is easily prescribed.

      That being said, as mentioned above, the number one thing that is going to make your marriage successful is honest communication with each other, and both of you putting in the effort. No therapist can help you with that. Sit down and have the tough discussions. What do you both want out of your marriage? What do you not receive from the other person? Obviouly, having kids changes a relationship and puts more strain on it.

      In the end, the only person that is going to be able to fix your marriage, is you. Don't give up.
      My wife takes a very low dose of some thing. I don't know what it is because she has been switching them up due to the side effects being worse than the depression. As for counseling we have attended some faith based classes more as a proactive mainenance approach than an "Oh crap, we got to fix this" thing. I have found that we go through stages, some worse than others but the constant is that we actively work to make our marriage the best it can be. If being married was easy, it'd be no fun

      And to answer the Op's question, of the 5 couples in my circle, all have have sought counseling of some sort as a couple. Only one is no longer a couple, but to be fair they were a legitimate trainwreck from the start. They did try VERY hard but in the end they also crashed VERY hard.
      Last edited by sortadelux; 11-07-2012 at 01:04 PM.
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      11-07-2012 03:53 PM #20
      As someone in the field, I can assure you marriage counselling is often an exit strategy to leave a relationship. While it may be helpful for some, it generally produces little results.

      Best thing to do is have your wife work independently with a therapist to address any underlying anxiety and depression, which in turn is likely affecting the marriage.

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      11-07-2012 08:03 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Cortical View Post
      As someone in the field, I can assure you marriage counselling is often an exit strategy to leave a relationship. While it may be helpful for some, it generally produces little results.

      Best thing to do is have your wife work independently with a therapist to address any underlying anxiety and depression, which in turn is likely affecting the marriage.
      I don't know if you are a bot based on only 5 posts, but this is exactly what I was getting at. Everyone I have ever met that actually went to couples therapy ended up divorced or split because this was just a final "try" and it was just a money suck.

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      11-07-2012 08:30 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Papa Dras View Post
      I don't know if you are a bot based on only 5 posts, but this is exactly what I was getting at. Everyone I have ever met that actually went to couples therapy ended up divorced or split because this was just a final "try" and it was just a money suck.
      Sadly, my post count is low, cause I spend too much time in the "off topic" section, where your posts don't count.

      In reality, as a psychologist, I can assure you, with confidence, couples therapy solves little. Family therapy, say helping parents learn to manage a child, helping siblings adjust to novel situations (disabled sibling, loss, trama) works, not couples therapy.

      Help your wife overcome her pre-existing emotional turmoil, and your marriage may improve. Unless those are not addressed first, by her individually, what's the purpose of couples counselling?

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      11-08-2012 12:25 AM #23
      A psychologist in OT. I literally had 20 jokes to type and just gave up.

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      11-08-2012 09:44 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Papa Dras View Post
      A psychologist in OT. I literally had 20 jokes to type and just gave up.
      He's hanging out in here to make his clients look normal.
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      11-13-2012 12:16 PM #25
      When we were in college, we did some couples counseling (we were still just dating at the time). I was dealing with being away from home, we were in a long distance relationship, amongst a lot of other things that were really taking their toll on us. We were fighting a lot and almost broke up more times than I care to remember. Started with me going in for counseling myself, but he ended up going with me a few times as well. And in the end it really helped us a ton. I worked through a lot of issues I had been trying to deal with for years and years which helped me, but also helped us both. We also had some things to work out as a couple, which we were able to do. Once I finished with counseling and everything, things were great.

      That was a good 6 years ago. We've been married for over 2 years, together in total for over 10 years. A lot of things we learned then, we still use. We communicate better and talk about things rather than letting them bottle up over time, etc. I honestly don't think we'd still be together if we didn't go to counseling then. But we also both were very invested in the relationship and really wanted things to work. It was definitely a mutual decision and we both took it very seriously. Our counselor was amazing, which I'm sure also helped. She never judged, but was also very blunt.
      Last edited by Rockerchick; 11-13-2012 at 12:19 PM.
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      11-20-2012 12:11 AM #26
      The best marriage counselor is the mother of your wife. I've had some issues in the past with my wife and only her mother was able to get it through her skull.

      In a marriage, there's no such thing as having a reasonable communication about anything. Someone has to pull the extra weight on one thing or another. In the end if couples can learn to compromise and get through the tough times the good times may seem like heaven.

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      11-20-2012 09:30 AM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by Vision33r View Post
      The best marriage counselor is the mother of your wife. I've had some issues in the past with my wife and only her mother was able to get it through her skull.

      In a marriage, there's no such thing as having a reasonable communication about anything. Someone has to pull the extra weight on one thing or another. In the end if couples can learn to compromise and get through the tough times the good times may seem like heaven.
      I agree with this, but only because I have a very reasonable MIL that loves me. I'd venture to guess that this is very rare and that the last thing most husbands would want is their MIL giving advice to their daughters on marriage.

      Communication in marriage is more like negotiations because one person always has an agenda or wants something their way and it becomes a matter of giving your argument in a way that comes across as compromise. Its the times that someone is stubborn and won't negotiate or play the communications game that it doesn't work.

    28. 11-29-2012 01:16 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by Cortical View Post
      As someone in the field, I can assure you marriage counselling is often an exit strategy to leave a relationship. While it may be helpful for some, it generally produces little results.

      Best thing to do is have your wife work independently with a therapist to address any underlying anxiety and depression, which in turn is likely affecting the marriage.
      Thanks, this was kind of my impression. My wife has been seeing her own counselor, and I'm not opposed to seeing one myself, but I'd want to discontinue the marriage counselling before I went solo. Also, I'm not sure if it would be appropriate or not, but I'd prefer to stick with the counselor that we've been seeing as a couple because I'm comfortable with her, and because she already knows so much of the background. We haven't been for a few weeks due to scheduling, and things seem to be fine. I'm not saying that I'm perfect, but it seems most of our issues revolve around her anxiety episodes.

      As far as talking to the MIL, I don't think that would work too well. She's the type that I feel would get in my wife's ear and turn her into a victim if we were to split, no matter how amicable the split was. That whole side of the family is anxiety fueled drama.

    29. 01-04-2013 02:38 PM #29
      Hmmm...not sure about councelors and meds. They always give me a very uneasy feeling in my stomach. When I started my relationship with my girlfriend she claimed she couldn't sleep, had to take meds because she was a 'generally depressed' person etc etc. As I said I have a big problem with that so with lots of patience (and a few fights) + research, I've got her off her meds and sleeping like a baby every night. In her case, anxiety and depression are constantly caused by an assumed inadequacy (is that the word?!). I think a lot of it comes from her mother but also from constantly trying to achieve something and never enjoying the actual results...It took a lot of work and we're still facing issues that result from this but communication is absolutely key! You must be able to express your feelings and receive respect in return and not judgement. Honestly, if I didn't care for her as much as I do I'd have thrown in the towel almost 6 months ago - I've left girls for a lot less.

      I'm now shopping for an engagement ring...All the best to the OP - if you guys both want to fight I don't see why you can't solve your issues....

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      01-08-2013 12:25 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by Papa Dras View Post
      A psychologist in OT. I literally had 20 jokes to type and just gave up.
      He/She is just doing "research" hanging out in OT. It's probably like a group of psychologists watching and teaching Koko the Gorilla sign language.

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