Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Husband Unwilling To See Therapist Together

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.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I graduated from school several months ago and have been desperately looking for a job. I did well in school and had a couple of good internships, but I can’t seem to land anything yet. It is so frustrating. I feel like I did all the right things -- or at least what I was told I should do -- but it’s hard out there.

It’s demoralizing to hear that unemployment is at an all-time low. I see a whole lot of young people just like me who are out of work. How can I get my confidence up in this situation? I really need a job. I’m beginning to doubt myself. -- Need Work

DEAR NEED WORK: The best thing you can do is have patience and keep looking. I know that sounds awful when your financial needs are looming over your head, but your attitude is everything right now. If you get into a panic, it will be difficult for you to search with focus and even more challenging to sell yourself in a job interview.

Hunker down and know that you are not alone. It often takes time to find work. Look through every outlet that you know for jobs in your area of interest. Expand your search a bit beyond your comfort zone, too. Call on people you know who may have contacts in your area of interest. Relationships are just as important as education and preparedness -- sometimes more.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)