August 16, 2017
August 16, 2017


The first step to finding a solution can be to make an appointment and go to a counselor.

As the counselor, I attempt to have the client think of solutions immediately when there is a problem. Unfortunately, an issue is discussed and there is an emotional response, but no behavioral or factual changes. Therefore, the problem lies there accelerating into fast drive.

Egos are hurt and continue to fester in that the issue was overridden by frustration, resentment, and anger. The fact is, often the participants have not identified the real issue. Or the issue is lost by the complainer in a turbulent sea of discourse.

Try writing down what the issue really is.

That may take pages and pages of notes until one can truthfully know what s/he wants. I have had many clients who state that they want more love and affection, but the communication to the partner is something like this: "Get away from me"-"I want a divorce."-"I need space and time to think."-"You never (_________ fill in the blank)." -"You go out____ and I never go anywhere." In other words the clear message is lost with accusations of past history that may or may not be repeating itself.

In fact the issue that is presented is often the complete opposite of the desired outcome such as in the above paragraph.

Concentrate on the present issue and clearly identify it. If your partner ignores the calm, concise message, then let him/her know the consequences of not attending to finding an answer. How will the relationship continue or prosper if this issue is not resolved?

I notice that my clients have difficulty thinking in terms of consequences. They state they are mad. So what does that mean to the marriage? Does that mean that they will not have warm feelings when approached for intimacy? Not because they are resentful and trying to get even, but because they feel ignored and abandoned.

What happens when the individual does state clearly the issue and the consequences in a calm quiet manner and is disregarded by the partner? The consequences need to be elaborated upon in greater detail and depth. Hopefully, the relationship has not become so apathetic that the extreme step is also ignored.

If one has to go to the extreme and state that unless a cooperative result is arrived at for this high priority issue, the relationship is over. One must carry the consequence to the final step if there is no participation.

When the partner is loved, deciding to terminate it is a difficult and frightening step. However, one must thoughtfully explore what there is in this relationship if one is alone and unattended. Is this a relationship? What is left of it? Why hang on to it if one cannot get the attention of the partner with civility.

Do note that I stress a calm concise and civil delivery. Neither man nor woman responds to screaming, fowl language, put downs or any other negativity. If that is the manner of your discourse that becomes the consequences. Therefore the focus of your disagreement is lost in an emotional tirade.

However, stating that you are divorcing and not actually following through becomes a threat. Now all leverage for communication is lost. Therefore do not use this consequence unless it is a reality which you will execute post haste.

Obviously one must thoughtfully think through the consequences in each case, raising the ante so to speak if the consequence has no influence on the other party.

After you have gotten the attention of the other participant, discuss options for both. Listen to the reasons for and against each action from both parties.

1. Take turns with obligations or goals or whatever the issue may be.
2. Compromise. Possibly after the compromise use the take turn principle. One changes for a time period and then the other reverts for the same time period.
3. Creative solutions which satisfy both partners. Partners may be willing to compromise his/her stance as long as the major points of the individual issues are satisfied.

Check through the articles on this website. Examples of the major points of this article are related in more detail in other columns.