You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Q: My husband and I have been married for almost seven years, and for the last three months we’ve been separated. We seem to have a multitude of issues, ranging from communication, finances, sex and trust. We married later in life, both of us coming from completely different backgrounds, but in some ways we both still seemed to want the same things. He says he doesn't feel respect, trust, or love from me, and I'm not sure how to show him. We married very quickly after meeting one another, so I'm almost sure we did not take the time to get to really know one another. I feel isolated from him, like we don't really connect with each other. We don't talk, we don't laugh, and I don't feel I can share my deepest fears or joys with him. I don't feel like we are friends at all, much less best friends. I asked him about getting some professional help, to help us get it together, and he agreed and said he would find us a therapist. Three months have gone by now and he has not produced one yet. Any time I mention it, he just says that a counselor can't do anything for us that we can't do for ourselves. He feels that if we just try dating and getting to know each other and have some fun, things might just improve on their own. We have been going out and trying to date, but I find myself always thinking about what's wrong with us and why we can't seem to get to the core of our problems. I really feel like the longer we stay apart, the less I am going to want to be together. I'm sure I love my husband, but I just don't know how to get us back to the early days of our marriage when things were good. What advice can you give me?
A: Marrying later in life does not guarantee that you will not make the same mistakes that others make when they marrying young. Regardless of what age you are when you marry, once you see problems, they must be addressed. It takes two people to make a marriage work. Unfortunately, you seem to be the only person working on your marriage. What does that tell you? The fact that you have asked for help and your husband agreed, and then refused, is a clear indicator that he may not be totally invested in saving the marriage.
It sounds as if you are overwhelmed with these issues. That’s understandable. Issues related to communication, finances, sex, and trust are serious and may be difficult to overcome. If you and your husband are unable, or more so unwilling, to talk, nothing will change. Your husband is sadly mistaken if he thinks things will change on their own. Things do not mysteriously change; it takes work. You can not change your husband, but you can change yourself. You must stop and get honest with yourself. How much longer are you willing to stay in a relationship that is not meeting any of your emotional needs? You asked how to get back to the first days of your marriage, right? Sadly, those days are over and long gone. It is a new day and you must be prepared to deal with it. If your husband is unwilling to seek professional help at this time, get prepared and move on. You deserve more! -- Dr. Sherry
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