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Thursday, 22 March 2001

New House Blues

Written by  Naomi Baum, PhD.

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QDear WholeFamily Counselor,

My wife and I have been married for 16 years and for the most part have been very happy until we moved into our new house in December. My wife is so upset that the house is not "perfect". We still have problems with the builder not fixing some things and this adds to her frustration. We have steadily grown apart. Last night we had a good discussion on what we thought our problems were and we both agreed that finances and the house were major problems. She also expressed concern that she did not have enough time to herself (without the kids) .I understand her feelings and will try to give her more time by taking the kids somewhere once a month. We both care about our marriage and family very much and we both say splitting up is NOT an option. My question is do you think marriage counseling is the right thing right now? I am concerned that if we go to counseling she may decide that we are not compatible anymore. I hope that's just my insecurity.

Thanks for help.
House Blues

ADear House Blues,

I chuckled to myself as I read your letter. I remember that moving into our new house, that we had just built, was the single most stressful event in our marriage. It's funny that this is something nobody writes or talks about, but I believe that this happens with many people. When you build a house you put so much of yourself into the building (in your case, maybe your wife was the one who did that) and when things are not perfect ( and they never are) they are somehow seen as a reflection of one's self. This is a very frustrating position to be in. Add to that that the spouse may also be critical of things that aren't right, and the other partner may perceive this as a put down, or personal criticism.

From your letter it sounds as if you and your spouse have a relationship that is fairly open, and you can communicate about many things. I wonder if you can dare to share with your wife your deepest feelings and insecurities as well. My guess is that if you do, you will find yourselves growing closer together. Your recent discussion is a wonderful first step in the right direction.

I think that marriage counseling might be indicated if you feel that you are stuck. At this point it sounds like you are actually moving in the right direction and if you can keep up the momentum of communicating, and work on spending time with each other, away from the kids and the house (a night out, once a week, or once every other goes a long way) I think that you may be able to solve most of this without turning to counseling. If however, you feel that you are not moving, and feeling more and more isolated and alone, that is the time to go for help.

Good luck.

Dr. Naomi Baum, PhD

Last modified on Tuesday, 24 January 2012 18:27
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Naomi Baum, PhD.

Naomi Baum, PhD.

Naomi Baum is the Director of the Resilience Unit at The Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma and the National School Resilience Project. Her work at ICTP focuses on developing programs to build resilience in communities that have been highly exposed to trauma and stress. She has successfully brought her approach to Biloxi, Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Her work there included seven visits to the city, she trained teachers, social workers, school nurses, and counselors. She has also worked with the population in Haiti following teh earthquake. She has written about Trauma and Resilience in several published articles and books.

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