A lot of married people who come to me for couple’s therapy are in a very ambiguous position: they are undecided as to whether they should try to fight for the marriage or if it would be more wise to divorce and start to improve their lives separately.
I have no bias towards one solution over the other. You can notice a mediator has a slight tinge of a bias toward maintaining marriage even if the two people in front of them are quite content on separating. As a mediator, I have no bias towards the sanctity of marriage or the adventure of a post-divorce life.
But let’s go back for a second. Notice what I just said. A lot of couples are undecided if they should try to fight for the relationship or not. What does that mean? It means that a lot of people come to me knowing a lot more about what they’re capable of accomplishing than they think.
A couple comes to me dumbfounded and desperate, already assuming the great power they have to fight for something. They’re not asking me “will fighting for our relationship work?”; they’re asking the much easier question for the three of us to answer: “Should we use our power to turn desire into action or not?” Wow!
Even a couple with awful chemistry, a couple who can’t stand each other, possesses the power to effect change with action. No couple is paralyzed — they can strangle each other in frustration, but they’re not paralyzed. So, if the two of you are feeling a certain irreconcilable tension in your relationship, if it’s just NOT happening for whatever reason, you need to know that whatever happens is in the palm of your hands. You don’t need me to tell you that.
What you do need from me, however, is to assess the situation. The three of us need to assess the emotional, biographical, familial, and economic situation between the two of you, and slowly work our way towards a mutual desire. If one wants to stay married, and the other has one foot out the door, then we’ll find the common ground and grow from there.
Maybe one person is denying a part of himself, maybe one’s sexual needs aren’t being met and they’re mistaking that for lack of love, etc. Whatever it is, we strip the obstacles away, and find the common ground. But as for the saving of the marriage? Most people seem to already know how to do that.
Call me if you and your spouse are confused. (212) 599-3195.