DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been going to a therapist -- separately. I couldn’t get him to go with me, but he agreed to start by talking to her on his own. I feel like I am making a bit of progress when I talk to her, but he still refuses to talk together.
I don’t know what to do. I want to save my marriage, but it is clear that we need a mediator. We are a little closer by having this woman, but how can I get him to see that it would be really helpful for us to have her talk to the two of us together? -- Need Help
DEAR NEED HELP: Ask your therapist to help you develop language that your husband may be able to relate to about coming together for a therapy meeting. Ideally, your request should be optimistic and without judgment. You need to convey to your husband that you care deeply for him and your life together, and you want to figure out how to make your bond stronger so that both of you can be happier. Your invitation to him for a combined session comes from your desire to determine how you can communicate better and see your way to a rekindled closeness that will benefit both of you.
Do your best not to threaten your husband. No matter how frustrated you get, it rarely works. At the same time, understand your limits. Can you stay in your marriage as it is? What needs to change for you to feel confident that you can experience joy with your husband? What can you do now to ignite joy? Do what you can in search of a positive outcome. This includes optimistic gestures that you believe your husband will appreciate. You might also remind him of things you would welcome.
Also ask your therapist to make a request for a session with both of you.