“Did I marry the wrong person?” As a marriage counselor and couples therapist, I am frequently asked that question from my therapy clients here in Westport and Ridgefield, Connecticut. They are frustrated and saddened by the state of their marriage – the arguments, the disappointments and the misunderstandings. When problems seem overwhelming, couples struggle to understand what went wrong and why nothing they try seems to work. Frequently, they question the choice they made in selecting their mate.
It can be the result of a nasty argument, or a forgotten anniversary or even a certain look. There is that moment when you wonder if you made a mistake and married someone who isn’t right for you. Your mate aggravates you, neglects you and can drive you crazy. Did you goof by getting married to the wrong person? In most cases, the answer is no!
Marriages have their own rhythm. At times, they give us great joy and satisfaction. At other times, they cause a great deal of unhappiness. It is unrealistic to expect the union to be a constant source of satisfaction. Marriages, like most other things, require effort. Too often I see couples who are so busy managing their lives – the children, the careers, the homes, that they have little time or energy for their relationship. The husband and the wife have tried unsuccessfully to improve the situation. He tried to communicate more; she tried to be more romantic. When they don’t get the hoped for response from their efforts they give up. The marriage continues to disappoint.
During couples therapy, I encourage each mate to look to their own behavior to see if they have put the energy and effort into the marriage that it requires and deserves. I encourage the husband and wife to give their full energy to the marriage. Marriage counseling can help the couple understand what is not working in the relationship. A husband and wife can learn to understand each other better and to communicate more effectively. If this work is not done and the couple gets divorced, these same negative patterns may develop in any future relationships. Why not try to improve the current relationship? Why not look to your own behavior to see what you need to change? Before you decide that you marriage the wrong person, it may be time to look in the mirror and consider our own behavior first.
Paula is a marriage counselor and couples therapist with offices in Westport and Ridgefield, Connecticut. She provides to services to couples and families in Wilton, Weston, New Canaan and Fairfield. Call her at 203-761-9587 for a consultation.