04-14-2011, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
| | Please help me understand the types of counseling...
Sorry for the generic question but I'll try to explain my situation which may help clarify things.
My marriage has issues, there is no doubt about that. I am more of a logical/practical person rather than being overly emotional but I believe I have a string moral fiber and I feel stringly about commitments I make, in this sense my marriage vows.
We went to counseling a few years ago and frankly I was a little surprised, the focus seemed to be on rekindling romance and having date nights and so on, I think I understand why they might take that approach but I believe we have underlying issues that need to be dealt with first before we can start rebuilding anything like that, in short I believe we have a lot of what I consider practical issues that we disagree on.
I don't think of realtionships in what I consider an old fashioned sense (the man in the breadwinner and the wife keeps the house etc.) and I am more than happy to do my share, what I struggle with is how you define what is fair. I am the primary breadwinner for our family, I work hard and often for longer than typical hours that nvolve travel. I don't think this makes me special, it is what it is. My wife works part time, she wants to have a life outside the home and make some money etc which I'm thrilled about however she considers what she earns as being hers. I pay the mortgage, the bills, the groceries etc - and I'm fine with that.
Where I struggle is in how you go about deciding what responsibilities are whose, simple things - keeping the house clean, putting the kids to bed, doing laundry, dishes etc. I don't expect these things to be done for me but I do believe that given our commitments that there would be a reasonable expectation of what each of us would be expected to do. At a minimum I'd think we should have an agreement of who takes responsibility for what and commit to getting it done.
I feel I try very hard to come up with an approach we can agree on but then I feel my wife changes her mind and takes off doing her own thing. Finances are a good example, we do okay financally but I believe you need to manage your budget. I believe the only practical way is to agree what we will spend and on what, allocate money towards larger purchases and buy when we agree it is sensible to do so. My wife however does not, her approach (from my perspective) is that she buys what she wants to buy then tells me it is my job to cover the costs as I am "the provider". I don't disagree from a general perspective but as I am responsible for building our savings and budgetting for everything else I don't see how I can do that without us having an agreed plan.
A simple recent example, she is shopping with a friend and wants to buy a piece of furniture for the house. I agree it would be nice and would be a good purchase however her explanation for calling me is that her personal credit cards are maxed out and she wants to charge it to our joint card, as such I will see it so I guess she felt some warning was in order. I told her it sounds nice buy that in my opinion if she has run up credit card debt then our focus should be on clearing that before making more purchases. The conversation gets a little strained and ends without me agreeing.
An hour later she arrives home, with her furniture and the explantion that we need it to maintain our home and purchasing is perfectly reasonable as I am expected to budget for such things.
This is just one example if many I could cite, my problem is that we are plainly unable to agree on a lot of practical matters, what time whould the kids be in bed, do we "spoil" them or try to teach them some financial discipline, who takes primary responsibility of making sure the house is clean, driveway cleared of snow etc.
So, to loop back to counseling I feel like we almost need an arbitrator as much as a counselor, we need someone to give each of us a verbal slap and say "Don't be stupid, that is unreasonable". My experience of counseling however is that it focusses much more on emotion, romance etc. I do not discount that but I simply cannot see how that could be built unless it is on a reasonably solid foundation for the practical matters. I simply cannong have a romantic date night while worrying about other practical matters.
In summary my question is whether you folks feel there is counseling that is appropriate to my situation. We tried individual counseling and joint counseling at one point with no real success, from my perspective my wife will dismiss anyone's opinion that differs from hers and refuse to accept it. How do we get to a situation where we can lay out our issues to someone we both have faith in and actually have them offer an opinion on our situation?
Sorry that this turned in to duch a long post, I tried to be brief and feel I was in many ways but there is always so much to say.