Advertisement

Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Couple Therapy For One Please

Susan’s marital distress reached a tipping point, leading her to see a marital therapist. Her chief complaint was that her husband refuses to change, blames her for all the family problems, doesn’t hold a steady job and rarely takes responsibility for his behavior. He is constantly late to family events, forms unhealthy alliances with their children and responds to confrontation with anger and entitlement. The problem is he won’t come to therapy.

While I prefer to see both spouses for couple therapy, couple work with one person is possible and effective. In practice, not all spouses are available or motivated to attend sessions. Couple  therapy, however, is not constricted to both partners attending, but rather involves a systems mindset applied to the work conducted with the person present.

Advertisement

The work involves helping the person observe his or her role in the couple process and changing unhealthy patterns by changing the client’s step in the couple dance. And nothing like an affair, lying or abuse can be on-going.

Ever since Adam first blamed Eve and Sarai accused Abram of being the cause of her suffering (Gen 16:5), people continue to stubbornly avoid personal responsibility in the context of relationships. Our natural bent is to blame others rather than “take the beam out of our own eye”.  Couple therapy with one person helps people take personal responsibility, focus on their own hearts and mind, and control the one thing they can control—their own reactions to others.

Ultimately, God holds each of us accountable for our part in our interpersonal relationships. He does not excuse us based on the unhealthy reactions of others. Thus, this type of therapy, which focuses on your reactions to unhealthy patterns fits beautifully with a biblical frame of personal accountability and responsibility.

Advertisement

So if your partner refuses to go to couple therapy, you go. Work on your behavior, conflict management and relationships skills and see what a difference this type of focus makes in the relationship. You can’t change another person but you can change you. And when you change you, the relationship does change. However, you need to find a therapist who understands the systems approach to couple work, and not a therapist who only deals with individuals.

 

More marital help, I Married You, Not Your Family by Dr. Linda Mintle (click on the link at the right More Books By Dr. Mintle)

 

Previous Posts

What Isn't Discussed in Violent Shootings
Like most of you, I was shaken by the horrific events of this past week: the senseless shooting of two TV journalists happened in my backyard. Those reporters worked at one of the TV stations in my viewing area and not too far from the massacre ...

posted 9:00:29am Aug. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Why Sex is Not Always About the Sex
If you watch most television shows, you would think that the most important part of any relationship is sex! But when it comes to what matters most in a relationship, it's not the sex. And if we focus  only on sex, the relationship won't ...

posted 7:00:42am Aug. 28, 2015 | read full post »

National Dog Day: Take Your Canine to Work!
In honor of national dog day... I feel blessed that I get to take my dog to work every day. Zoe, pictured here, is the comfort dog for the medical school in which I work. Every morning she greets the students and helps reduce their stress. ...

posted 7:00:18am Aug. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Baby Names: Helping or Hurting Your Child?
When Shakespeare asked,  "What's in a name?" the answer is, more than you think. Many years ago, I worked in a very poor school district and noticed a number of the children had unusual names. The most unusual was a girl we called Phamalie ...

posted 7:00:52am Aug. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Angry? Do You Really Want to E-Vent?
John left the meeting frustrated, angry and ready to quit. He returned to his office and fired off an angry email. For the moment, he felt better, he got his anger off his chest. But did this behavior really help? Sarah returned from a ...

posted 7:00:43am Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.