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Æthelthryth the Texan

Marriage counseling/therapy thing mentioned here before?

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I know I've read through threads in the past where people have mentioned some marriage therapy/intensive thing that works well? I can't even remotely remember the name though or the threads to search. Can anyone help me out if you know what I'm talking about? 

And also, since you are reading if you know the program, would this be appropriate program for an empty nester middle age couple going through a rough patch, or is it infidelity specific or anything?  Is it religious? I have a friend who is going through a really, really bad time in her marriage and would like to be able to give her the name of the program. I seem to remember it was something that one spouse could even do if the other spouse wasn't motivated/interested for counseling? 

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Bumping, because I'd like to suggest something for a close friend as well. She hasn't even been able to find a marriage therapist anywhere close to her with openings.  Their first try with online therapy was a bust. 

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John Gottman?

the Gottman institute is local to me, and is well regarded techniques.  there are books, there are online, etc. so just one person can do it.

Edited by gardenmom5
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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with a Clinical Psychologist. It's the only thing with any scientific research to back it up for effectiveness. 

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I thought it had a person's name as part of it.......I think I might have seen it in some of Heart's threads, but those suckers are so long, I don't know where. Not sure if it was on YouTube or not....it's one of those things where you read through and think you'll file it away in your brain for later, but then my brain doesn't work like it used to! 

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2 hours ago, Scarlett said:

 

https://www.helpourmarriage.org

 

Is this it?  Yes it is religious 

 

 

 

4 minutes ago, klmama said:

Is it Retrovaille?  I've heard good things about it.  

ETA:  Scarlett beat me to it.  It's helpourmarriage.org

Yes- this is it!! That's what I get for not clicking the link right away. It was the Retrovaille I was thinking of, so I was looking for a name. 

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But if they are looking for a great marriage therapy method, they should try to find a Emotional Focused Therapy practice.  Great stuff; saved my marriage.

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I'll mention the others too. I'm not sure if she'll try anything. She seems really done. I normally don't like to throw unsolicited suggestions at friends IRL, but it's really hard to sit and just watch/hear about their marriage burning down. They had a really good relationship, and went through a lot of drama- her ex-husband was psychotic and there was so much stuff over custody- and they were so steady through it all. Blended families, super busy lives with 6 kids...... Now the kids are all grown and successfully launched- having kids and families of their own and when it seems like it should be the smoothest sailing it's like War of the Roses.

It's hard for me to even know what to say to her- so I am hoping they check out the Retrouvaille and at least give that or a therapist a shot. To have seen them make it through so, so much and now crash and burn here just makes it all the sadder. I and a lot of my friends got divorced in our 20's but something about seeing people go through it at 50+, for whatever reason is hitting me a lot harder than it did when I was younger. 

Anyway, thanks everyone for the link and the other suggestions too. 

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This is what I credit for my amazing marriage today - https://www.marriagebuilders.com

I don't take everything the guys says as gospel, but his basic concepts have worked to build a good strong relationship, and I can see those that don't follow those basic principals, like my first marriage, suffer. It is not particularly religious, possibly secular. Certainly not in your face religious. He has a bunch of books but all the info is on the website as well, for free. He specializes in couples that no longer are in love with each other, and getting them to feel love toward each other again. He is basically using learning theory, classical conditioning, and decent communication to fix marriages. 

One person could do the initial reading, etc but for parts of it you need both partners - their are questionnaires and such for both to fill out - but the other partner doesn't have to read all the books or anything. 

Edited by Ktgrok
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10 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

This is what I credit for my amazing marriage today - https://www.marriagebuilders.com

I don't take everything the guys says as gospel, but his basic concepts have worked to build a good strong relationship, and I can see those that don't follow those basic principals, like my first marriage, suffer. It is not particularly religious, possibly secular. Certainly not in your face religious. He has a bunch of books but all the info is on the website as well, for free. He specializes in couples that no longer are in love with each other, and getting them to feel love toward each other again. He is basically using learning theory, classical conditioning, and decent communication to fix marriages. 

One person could do the initial reading, etc but for parts of it you need both partners - their are questionnaires and such for both to fill out - but the other partner doesn't have to read all the books or anything. 

She's SBC, so it doesn't need to be secular, but I asked originally because I wanted to be sensitive on what i sent her, because her first husband was abusive and the counseling she got at that time through her church and especially from her Pastor (she did everything and then some to try and stick that marriage out until he almost killed her) was to honestly put up with a crazy amount of psychological abuse and threatening behavior under the whole "be a good wife/role model and pray and he'll turn into a good husband". I have no reason to think this guy is abusive in any way shape or form, but I didn't want to send her something that was going to play back on the straight up "submissive cure" if that makes sense. 

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43 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

She's SBC, so it doesn't need to be secular, but I asked originally because I wanted to be sensitive on what i sent her, because her first husband was abusive and the counseling she got at that time through her church and especially from her Pastor (she did everything and then some to try and stick that marriage out until he almost killed her) was to honestly put up with a crazy amount of psychological abuse and threatening behavior under the whole "be a good wife/role model and pray and he'll turn into a good husband". I have no reason to think this guy is abusive in any way shape or form, but I didn't want to send her something that was going to play back on the straight up "submissive cure" if that makes sense. 

Gotcha. This should be fine then. 

I wonder if she learned to be submissive and constantly compromise from ex husband, and now doesn't have the skills to actively promote her own views or deal with conflict in a direct manner? That is fairly common, and as the wife eats her own annoyance over "little things" over and over rather than cause conflict the resentment builds and builds. 

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Gotcha. 

The big thing in that book/website/method is that we fall in love and stay in love when our happiest moments are with our spouse. And if our happiest moments (most fulfilling, etc) are always with others (kid, coworker, girlfriends) and our spouse is who we associate with grunt work or paying/fighting over bills, etc...that's not good and can lead to falling out of love long term. Add in "love busters" which are things the spouse does that annoy us (or that we do to annoy them) that each on their own isn't much but also each makes a withdrawal in our "love bank", over time that also adds up. Finally, the way to make deposits in our love bank is for our spouse to meet our most important emotional needs - for some that is security, others it is physical touch,  or meaningful conversation, or whatever (think love languages). If the husband  was not meeting her emotional needs, and the people that were - be that children or friends or coworkers - are no longer there, she's going to feel badly. And suddenly that he isn't meeting those needs becomes a huge problem where before she could 'get by" on others meeting them. 

The website/books have quizzes to do to figure out what each person's most important needs are so that the spouses can start making big deposits in their significant other's love bank quickly, has questions to fill out to figure out what things they could do together that they both associate with fun/good feelings (so if only one lists movies, that isn't the thing to do. If both list dinner out, that's a better place to start. Later, when they are happier with each other, of course they can switch off with things one likes and the other doesn't, but in the beginning it is important to both enjoy that time together so as not to resent the other person or associate them with negative experiences). There are questions to figure out which things are huge love busters that make the biggest withdrawals. And most importantly there is a policy of complete honesty. No more pretending or going along when you hate something - your spouse can't stop those withdrawals from the love bank if they don't know what they are. 

It's just very practical, not super emotional. 

 

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Just avoid the forums on MarriageBuilders. Psychos I tell ya. 

I agree the concept is sound. His needs / Her needs is awesome. 

As for the wife in question here....I do think it is very likely she is having an affair. Emotional at least. 

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

Just avoid the forums on MarriageBuilders. Psychos I tell ya. 

I agree the concept is sound. His needs / Her needs is awesome. 

As for the wife in question here....I do think it is very likely she is having an affair. Emotional at least. 

Idk. I think she would say- she’s to the “I don’t give a damn” phase. If anything I think she would jump into one if she had the opportunity, as sad as that sounds, but I’m not getting the vibe she’s crossed that line at all. I’ve witnessed some affairs at work, and the people usually get really distracted and floaty, and disconnected whereas she is in the full on angry, aggressive mode. She’s actually hard as a friend to talk to right now because she is giving him zero room for error. By which I mean, he doesn’t want to shut down the bar with her on a week night. I could see her “looking for an excuse,” to cheat, but it’s almost like she would do that just to want him to stop her? Again- idk. I’m in the weird friend position where she’s a fair amount older than me, has been married longer than me, and has launched kids, so I feel pretty out of my depth to try and give her advice. I sent her the links and she said thanks- she has just been looking up therapists so hopefully something helps. 

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30 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Idk. I think she would say- she’s to the “I don’t give a damn” phase. If anything I think she would jump into one if she had the opportunity, as sad as that sounds, but I’m not getting the vibe she’s crossed that line at all. I’ve witnessed some affairs at work, and the people usually get really distracted and floaty, and disconnected whereas she is in the full on angry, aggressive mode. She’s actually hard as a friend to talk to right now because she is giving him zero room for error. By which I mean, he doesn’t want to shut down the bar with her on a week night. I could see her “looking for an excuse,” to cheat, but it’s almost like she would do that just to want him to stop her? Again- idk. I’m in the weird friend position where she’s a fair amount older than me, has been married longer than me, and has launched kids, so I feel pretty out of my depth to try and give her advice. I sent her the links and she said thanks- she has just been looking up therapists so hopefully something helps. 

 

She probably just needs her own therapist - who knows what's she's dealing with/going through ?

Trauma can take a long while to manifest, and you said she has a background of spousal and religious abuse.

Just support her to get her own therapy; an unhappy person isn't going to be in the head space to work on a marriage anyway. 

 

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11 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

She probably just needs her own therapist - who knows what's she's dealing with/going through ?

Trauma can take a long while to manifest, and you said she has a background of spousal and religious abuse.

Just support her to get her own therapy; an unhappy person isn't going to be in the head space to work on a marriage anyway. 

 

She's been in therapy herself off and on for over 15 years, but it doesn't seem to be helping the marriage in the least, or her happiness, so not sure what else to say to her on that. 

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She sounds a lot like my mom before she divorced my dad. There was no affair. 

My mom went from her parents' home to her first husband's home very young. He physically abused her and she ended up back at her parents. About two years later, she married my dad. She never lived on her own. He was six years older and had done a lot of living and partying, especially while in the military. When we were all older, mom was ready to live that part of her life but dad had been there / done that. They divorced, she was on her own for the first time, and was happy again. She eventually remarried and has been with him over 20 years (about as long as she was with my dad). It took us kids a bit to be OK with mom again because it did seem out of nowhere and cruel. But in the end, my parents were friendly again and all was OK.

Hope your friends have a better outcome.

Edited by Joker
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7 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

She's been in therapy herself off and on for over 15 years, but it doesn't seem to be helping the marriage in the least, or her happiness, so not sure what else to say to her on that. 

 

I'm a firm believer that if therapy isn't helping - at least in terms of increased self-awareness - there's likely an issue with ineffective therapists (there's a lot of them out there). 

Maybe she's just done ?

Does she want to work on the marriage, or does she feel like she 'should' work on the marriage ?

I mean, no need to answer me 🙂 because it's not my business, but from your description she sounds done.

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2 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

I'm a firm believer that if therapy isn't helping - at least in terms of increased self-awareness - there's likely an issue with ineffective therapists (there's a lot of them out there). 

Maybe she's just done ?

Does she want to work on the marriage, or does she feel like she 'should' work on the marriage ?

I mean, no need to answer me 🙂 because it's not my business, but from your description she sounds done.

I can't tell if she's done-done or not. I think she might be. I don't know if she's gone to the same therapist or not this whole time- we don't go in depth on that part. But she got off her anti-anxiety pills a year or two back, so I took that as an improvement? 

The tipping point seemed to be that she wanted to move to a nicer area of Houston after all the kids graduated and he did not because the house was paid off and where they live is 10 minutes from his work. She wants to move out to close to where we live which is a lot more expensive,  and which would make him have an hour or so drive to work. He finally agreed over the summer to move after several years of not agreeing, and now she told me yesterday she's probably going to pull the house off the market because it's a bad time to buy a new house as bad as things are between them......so the seriousness has upped to where she not just saying "we're in a bad place." I just found out yesterday her oldest is also going through a divorce (lots of drama), so I don't know if that's feeding into. I'm sure it's not helping. Has to be hard to watch your own kid go through a betrayl and divorce and deal with your own stuff. Full plate. 

 I tread on the side of "less said is better" so I don't know what to say other than "I'm really sorry," and listen, as obviously I can't fix anything, but now I will be honest, she is totally drowning her sorrows at bars, so that's made it harder to be the listening ear. I love my friend, but i'm not going and hanging out at a bunch of random bars all the time and that's all she wants to do. I sent her the links only because she'd mentioned marriage counseling, but i don't think there's anything else I can do beyond that. But if she said "I want a divorce" it wouldn't be like I'd try and argue her out of it or anything.......I hated it when people did that to me, so I wouldn't do it to her for sure. 

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She sounds like she's developing an alcohol problem, or self medicating, and nothing is goin to improve in her marriage while she does that. 

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4 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I can't tell if she's done-done or not. I think she might be. I don't know if she's gone to the same therapist or not this whole time- we don't go in depth on that part. But she got off her anti-anxiety pills a year or two back, so I took that as an improvement? 

The tipping point seemed to be that she wanted to move to a nicer area of Houston after all the kids graduated and he did not because the house was paid off and where they live is 10 minutes from his work. She wants to move out to close to where we live which is a lot more expensive,  and which would make him have an hour or so drive to work. He finally agreed over the summer to move after several years of not agreeing, and now she told me yesterday she's probably going to pull the house off the market because it's a bad time to buy a new house as bad as things are between them......so the seriousness has upped to where she not just saying "we're in a bad place." I just found out yesterday her oldest is also going through a divorce (lots of drama), so I don't know if that's feeding into. I'm sure it's not helping. Has to be hard to watch your own kid go through a betrayl and divorce and deal with your own stuff. Full plate. 

 I tread on the side of "less said is better" so I don't know what to say other than "I'm really sorry," and listen, as obviously I can't fix anything, but now I will be honest, she is totally drowning her sorrows at bars, so that's made it harder to be the listening ear. I love my friend, but i'm not going and hanging out at a bunch of random bars all the time and that's all she wants to do. I sent her the links only because she'd mentioned marriage counseling, but i don't think there's anything else I can do beyond that. But if she said "I want a divorce" it wouldn't be like I'd try and argue her out of it or anything.......I hated it when people did that to me, so I wouldn't do it to her for sure. 

 

Off meds, at bars ?

Yeah, you can't do much.  Sad.

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Is the marriage really the issue?  Or is she at a total loss with the kids moved on?  Her life turned upside down and she isn’t needed or busy like before.  But her dh still has his job and is gone all day.  She sounds like she needs a purpose in life.  Like she’s resentful at being left behind with nothing to do. If he retired and they had plans and did life together, would she still feel that way?

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1 hour ago, matrips said:

Is the marriage really the issue?  Or is she at a total loss with the kids moved on?  Her life turned upside down and she isn’t needed or busy like before.  But her dh still has his job and is gone all day.  She sounds like she needs a purpose in life.  Like she’s resentful at being left behind with nothing to do. If he retired and they had plans and did life together, would she still feel that way?

I honestly don't know. She's got a full time job- has since the first divorce. That's actually how we met. She was our office admin- her first job during her divorce-  when I started at one job, then she left for the place she is at now for a big promotion I think she's been with this place 10 or 11 years now? So she is definitely busy with that. It's a good job from how she talks- she's happy- at least she says she is. She's extremely well paid and bonused. She's just going through something I don't understand -she's very, very angry and sad- like it's at life.

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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I will attest to the fact that kids leaving home can cause all sorts of emotions to come out.  So if she had been suppressing anger while raising kids, maybe it is just all coming out now.  Personally my son leaving home only made me want to be closer to  my dh,  but I do hear it goes the other way.  

And some people can never be satisfied and thus they are always looking for the next thing.

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