Q: My husband and I are at an impasse in our relationship. We cannot see each other's points of view and are just existing in a miserable state. I've begged for marriage counseling for a year, which yesterday he reluctantly agreed to. However, he has stated that when marriage counseling fails (not if), "I give up." We have kids and we love each other, we just can't seem to live together. Am I wasting my time saving a relationship that he sees as doomed?
Marriage on the Cliff
Carolyn: He agreed to marriage counseling, so go. Even if it fails, counseling won't have been a waste because it's a basic step before giving up altogether. That may seem silly, but it can be important to be able to tell yourself you "tried everything."
And, if you choose well, your therapist can help you through whatever the next step happens to be.
One suggestion: Go into counseling looking for new ways to understand what's happening, new ways to frame your marriage, new ways to speak to your husband, versus a new way to save the marriage or get your husband to see your side. Set only the goals that are within your control.
Anonymous: I read the other day about someone's marriage failing after 35 years and three kids. Um, no. It ended. Lots of good came out of it, and then things changed, and it ended. "Failed" makes it sound as if the fact of being married is the accomplishment. It is also terribly judgmental.
Carolyn: We were talking about the possibility that counseling would fail, but the argument still applies.