Fix Them Please!
By: Christy Aloisio
November 15, 2010

It’s something I hear everyday. “I did not do anything wrong in this marriage, she is the one that had an affair.” “He has an addiction and he needs therapy to fix it.” “My wife thinks I need to come and see you to talk about my issues.” Spouses that come in to “fix” their partner. They feel like by sending their husband or wife to therapy and having them work on themselves and their relationship will be suddenly fixed. THERAPY DOES NOT WORK LIKE THIS! An individiual can come in and work on her issues, but the only thing that will be better will be her. Not him and definitly not the marriage. I see individuals as clients all the time, but the purpose of this is to work on the individual and not the marriage. Marriage counseling is just that, marriage counseling. Two individuals working on their own issues to improve the marriage.

Imagine an emotional health scale. Zero being really unhealthy and ten being amazingly healthy. When we marry our partner we always marry someone that is the same number on the health scale that we are. If you are a 4, then your partner is a 4. If you are a 3, then your spouse is a 3. If you are a 5 on the health scale and you go on a date with someone that is a 3, you would recogonize the difference in the mental health right away! You would walk away from the date and say, that person is so unhealthy, I do not want to see them again.

This same concept is under effect in a marriage. So when you married your spouse you were the same number as they were. So when someone shows up in my office to “fix” their spouse, it can actually backfire in their face. If a wife sends her husband to get fixed then he may go from a 4 to a 5 on the health scale. Sounds great, right? Well now the husband is a 5 and the wife, if not working on her issues, remains a 4. All of the sudden, now the husband finds that he is having a hard time being in a relationship with someone who is lower on the health scale then he is. She “fixed” her husband, but most likely at the expense of their marriage.

Regardless of what the issues are with one spouse, the other spouse always has a part. Married to a sex addict and thinking I sound crazy? Yes, your spouse has an addiction that he needs to work on, but what about your part? Why did you marry a sex addict in the first place? Why have you put up with the behavior as long as you have or why have you not noticed the behavior until now? You have issues to work on as well to improve you mental health and in turn improve your marriage.

Marriage counseling is not easy for people. It has to be a priority in each of the spouses lives. You have to be motiviated and willing to dig into and feel pain from issues that you face. But most importantly, if you want to have a healthy marriage, each spouse must be willing to face their issues head on to get healthier!