Ask Dr. J. Archives

Hey, I feel that the man I married is not much of the man I thought I wanted.

Since I cannot change him, and the mere mention of the word lights a match; How do I make him understand that I need more out of this dull and dreary marriage?


Dear Linda:

Well, it’s certainly accurate to say you cannot change him! But, underneath your words, I see that you really do want to “enlighten” him and somehow get him to see the error of his ways and…..CHANGE!

Experiencing your marriage as “dull and dreary” is really an inside job. It’s up to you to figure out why you are so bored. In my review of Harville Hendrix’s book on the website, I point out that he, among other professionals, believes that we choose the person we marry in order to work through our childhood issues and become a grownup. While you did not consciously pick somebody who would later be “dull and dreary”, you did pick this person for some unconscious reasons. I believe this happens to all of us. If you leave this relationship, you will find yourself in a similar relationship with somebody else. You could pick up Hendrix’s book, Getting the Love You Want, for a full explanation.

So, the trick is to focus on yourself and try to figure out what you need to do in order to have a fulfilling relationship with your husband. If you want him to be more attentive, YOU be more attentive. If you want more of a social life, and you can’t get him to participate, YOU find some way to fulfill that need. Maybe you can take a class, join a group, spend more time with friends, etc. Try to find some things you both enjoy so you can get out and have some fun. If it requires you to participate in some things he likes, you might find that it does meet your need to get out and try something new.

I’m not saying you should settle for an unfulfilling marriage, but it’s important that you get yourself figured out so you know how to impact your relationship in a positive way. If your husband is willing to go to marriage counseling, that would be ideal because the therapist would be able to help you two get more excitement and energy back into your marriage. I’m sure you could both benefit from that.

Most people don’t like to hear that they may be contributing to their own relationship problem because it’s easier to look to the other person and think that if he/she just changed, everything would be great. That’s just not the way it happens. Each person must focus on themselves and do a little soul- searching to see how they can feel more empowered. If your partner won’t change, you can!

Dr. J

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