You want to be careful, though. Ignoring her advice, that maybe some guidance on making this marriage thing a little more enjoyable, could come to bite you in the butt. Here’s a curious phenomena: If she quits complaining, this isn’t necessarily a good sign. Sure, it’s nice she’s not complaining any more, but it very well may be she’s not just learned to go with the flow. She might have decided, instead, since you ignore any of her ideas, why say anything? You’d better be worried if that’s the case, because the research on this is suggesting once she does that, she starts harboring resentments and starts withdrawing from you emotionally and other ways and pretty soon, she’s as good as dead inside about you and divorce starts to look better than being with you. And then she threatens to file or actually files and you start to get it that maybe she wasn’t just blowing smoke and you are all repentant now and wanting to change and, sadly, you might even be telling the truth, and you are willing to go to therapy and even make the appointment, but we spend the sessions figuring out how not to kill each other in the divorce process, because she’s not changing her mind. To her, divorce is just calling a spade a spade and you are left wondering what happened. Or some other Romeo agreed with her that you were a jerk and you know where that goes.
It’s a pretty sad deal and we’d do our best to try to convey to her it’d be worth giving you a go, but chances are, if she’s decided she’s died inside, we just might end up being the undertaker. Look, we disagree with her she’s died inside. We’re optimists and believe people can change, her and you, otherwise we wouldn’t make very good therapists. Still, she may not be open to input that you are worth fighting for, even if you and I agree on that point.
Come see us BEFORE she puts her divorce lawyer on speed dial. In fact, way before: while both of you are still feeling there is something worth saving. We’re not afraid to give you a few pointers and help you heal from past hurts and learn new ways to approach things…ways that actually work, instead of getting everyone even madder.
It’s time to quit saying “we-don’t-need-anyone-else-looking-at-our-problems”. We don’t just sit around and look at your problems, anyway. We try to help the two of you respect each other enough to work together to solve your own problems. We make an assumption that neither or you are dumb! We try to work ourselves out of a job. We try to give each of you a voice so you can tap into your respective wisdom and insight. We also know what works and what doesn’t work and unlike most therapists coming out of grad school today, we aren’t afraid to share that information. A transmission guy should know how to fix transmissions. He does it all day. We should know how to help couples. This is what we do. We know what works. We know what doesn’t work. And no, we aren’t going to take either of your sides and help you beat each other up. We’re more interested in seeing you thrive.
But the first step to thriving? Realizing you could use a little help. Humility would be a sign, maybe things could be different. And humility for a husband? It just might be the encouragement your wife needs.