Tuesday, November 1, 2011


If you have read this far you probably already know what things couples have control struggles about. Let me list a few of the more serious issues.

Alcohol, food, work, internet time and appropriate useage are huge and serious issues that couples struggle over. Whether or not to come to marriage therapy can be a huge struggle. You've heard the joke about the skid marks outside the door of the marriage therapist? I am starting with the biggies and working down to the which way to hang the roll of toilet paper or what TV show to watch.

One spouse trying to monitor or limit the other spouse's behavior- even if the monitoring spouse is right- can be major source of conflict in a family, actually worsening the situation.

What is the answer? I don't believe that I am going to attempt to respond to these heart wrenching and painful issues in a few sentences but here goes. The issues that I mentioned can be serious and disruptive to a marriage and a family in many ways. Any wisdom that I have to pass on to you, I have gleaned from 12 Step Programs, many years of clinical practice and having been around the block a few times myself.

Here's the bottom line for the spouse who is disrupted by these behaviours. You can not control them. Pouring out the alcohol, becoming the food police, lecturing and monitoring will only increase polarization and result in the other spouse digging in their heels. It won't work and will only make matters worse.

You need to focus on yourself - head for the nearest 12 Step Program that addresses the issue you are trying to control like Al-Anon, in the case of alcohol addiction, S-Anon in the case of sex addictions, Gam-anon for gambling addictions to name a few. I strongly reccomend 12 Step Programs as an adjunct to couples therapy. Or should I say couples therapy as an adjunct to a strong 12 Step Program? If you are living with a hint of addictive behavior, you need to check one out.

Don't get me wrong. You do not need to and should not accept unacceptable behavior. Wisdom 101 is don't try to control the addictive behaviors mentioned above. They are bigger then you are. Your marriage will end up looking like the picture posted on October 16 with the entangled couple pointing at each other. And that is not a pretty picture.

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