My wife and I have been separated for over a year. It seems that
her love for me has vanished. She felt that for three years that I was not
fully dedicated to the marriage (not sharing household chores, not having a
joint bank account, flirting with other women). I want her back. I have
learned from my mistakes. Is there anything I can do to save our marriage?
If I understand the issue, we have a three year marriage during
which you took your wife and your marriage for granted. You were not ready
for a committed relationship, were still operating as though you were single,
and you expected your wife to be either Mom or a maid. You say you have
learned from your mistakes and want to rekindle the relationship and, I
assume, remain married. Your wife, on the other hand, is saying to you that
she no longer loves you and wants to terminate the marriage.
Apparently you and your wife had different ideas of what marriage is all
about and what you expected from one another. Most of us model our behavior
after some version of our what we saw with our parents or some other
significant adult. The first relationship we are faced with is that which
occurs between our parents, and the first relationship we have is with our
mother. Hence, a great deal of how we relate to women will be based on our
relationship with our mother, the type of model our father presented and how
we perceived our parents. In addition, our attitudes and values are shaped
by our peers.
There must have been something that attracted you and your wife to one
another. Since love between you was once there, there might be a chance to
re-kindle the relationship -- if you are both willing to work on it.
Marriage is work. It can be the most frustrating of relationships and the
most blissful. It is always a challenge.
Since you have not demonstrated your commitment to the marriage, it will be
up to you to show that you are serious about the marriage through the actions
you take. Your words will not be enough. You must demonstrate your
willingness to change. One such demonstration would be suggesting and making
arrangements for the two of you to seek professional help together. With the
help of a marriage counselor, you and your wife may be able to explore the
differences between you and develop new ways of relating to one another.
Since you have invested four years together, spending several months in
couple's therapy would be a small additional investment.
You might want check out a series of articles in our magazine, Making Your
Marriage Work, which can be found in the
Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist,
Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing
psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years.
He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation,
couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and
assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing
Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.