In last month’s column, I recall that you had responded to the question of a woman whose husband had just requested a separation. One of the suggestions you had made was for her to ask her husband if he’d go to marriage counseling. Any suggestions as to how to go about doing that?
When one person is requesting a separation, just waiting and hoping for that partner to eventually come around could be a mistake. It is unrealistic and wishful thinking to think the marriage will just fix itself due to the passage of time alone, without teamwork and/or some form of outside professional support.
When choosing a counselor or therapist, it may help to choose one that the partner requesting the separation would likely be most comfortable with, since they may be apprehensive about seeking therapy, as many people can be. For example, if you think they would be more comfortable talking to a woman vs. a man, choose accordingly. It will increase your chances of their agreeing to go. Once the initial fears about therapy are calmed and you both feel comfortable with your therapist, the first step will have been taken and the real work can begin.
A therapist will be able to pinpoint the root of your marital tension without laying blame on either of you, while gently guiding the two of you on to a more unified, productive course for your relationship. This should put your mind at ease. If the therapist believes that either of you has issues unrelated to the marriage, he or she may recommend individual sessions for you both in addition to your couples appointments. Working on yourselves independently is not only good for you personally, it is extremely effective in re-establishing communication between the two of you, bringing you back to the point in your relationship when you felt more attached.
Knowing when to let go is a process. The first step to knowing is doing everything in your power to resolve the problem. Keeping an open mind, being patient with each other (even when the other person is not) and being completely open and honest will help you succeed.
If, after doing the necessary work, you find there is no way to reconcile your differences, you will then know it is time to let go. If you believe your relationship’s foundation was once strong and you wish to rebuild it, now is the time to put everything you’ve got into saving it.
Whether you stay together eventually, or not, you will know in your heart you did your very best and that will give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio. Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.