Your wife wants you to go for counselling. Should you go?
I often have men coming to meet me for just this reason. They are usually cautious about the idea of seeing a counsellor, but in hopes of saving their marriage, they take a chance on trying. There are some possible downsides: it will cost money, it's hard to talk about troubles, and your friends might find out. I admit all that can seem humbling, so many men (me too) put it off for a while. The upside is that a man can bring huge improvements to his marriage when he is willing to take some time and effort. That’s what I have seen. Two big topics seem to help the most:
Learn some new connection skills - If you are out of ideas on how to solve problems, understand each other, or just enjoy time with her, there is good news. Relationship scientists have been studying couples to find out what makes the difference between who stays together and who winds up divorced. Surprisingly, it's not shared interests, similar personalities or even avoiding conflict that keeps couples together. Successful couples have a way of connecting with each other that bridges their differences. By learning and practicing new habits, many men have put their marriages on a new track
Deal with inner struggles that keep you stuck - Have you found yourself reactive and triggered in situations where you wanted to be wise and strong? That happens to a lot of men. Sometimes even if we know what to do, we just can't seem to make it happen. You might just feel too overwhelmed by so many troubles at once. You might be feeling numb and unmotivated. You might be haunted by other life events or a difficult childhood. Past experiences have ways of keeping us trapped in old habits of acting or thinking. Counselling works to help make sense of what you feel so the healing process can start. New skills have a better chance of working once you know yourself better.
The men I meet are usually working on both of those topics, switching back and forth as needed. You are the one who can find the balance between the two. I have to listen carefully enough to see how it works for you because no one size fits all.
I admit that's not easy. You need to have a counsellor who understands you well enough to help you find your own way through. Not all counsellors will be a good fit for you, so its good to have a short meeting or phone call to check them out.
Dixon Zalit is a counsellor in Vernon BC, offering counselling for stress and anxiety, relationships, and other self-management topics.