So far, the therapists at Imagine Hope have recommended some great books (and a few that I’ve already added to my reading “to do” list)! One book that I’ve found to be very informative, as well as a highly recommended book to my clients is: Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson. We see many people come into our office that are struggling with a spouse who isn’t sure they want to continue with the marriage. Some are struggling with a spouse who has an addiction, or a spouse who refuses to end an emotional or physical affair. Many times, the one who wants to save the marriage is so desperate to hang onto the relationship, they end up in a role of “pleaser”, which causes them to lose more respect and their spouse to become even more distant or uncertain about the relationship. Dr. Dobson’s book teaches a different approach to working on a marriage with someone who is so ambivalent about the relationship. Using a “tough love” approach, this book helps the individual who wants to save the marriage learn how to:
Set boundaries in the relationship Regain self-respect by eliminating behaviors that are defeating to the relationship Shift the focus from being the one to “save” things, to focusing on getting YOURSELF healthier Restore a healthy balance of power to the relationship Have conflict and confrontation based out of love (instead of fear) Ease the strain of the relationship by letting your spouse make decisions that have natural consequences Let go of things that are no longer working Empower the person who has felt helpless and out of control in trying to “save” the marriage This book is one that teaches the reader to embrace their fears and pain, and challenges the reader to become more “real” with their situation– which sometimes means going against what your instincts are telling you to do. It’s uplifting, empowering, and a great tool for those who are ready to work on their own issues when they are with someone who is refusing to work on theirs. I would highly recommend! Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.