Our marriage has been in shambles for many years now and our children have certainly sustained damage from it all. My wife and I have been to Retouvaille and to numerous counselors for the last 5 years. We have spent a tremendous amount of emotional energy and tens of thousands of dollars on this counseling.
I won’t go into the details of the mess, but should say that our problems are not related to affairs or deviant sexual issues or alcohol or drugs or anything of that nature - just the ordinary garden variety marital issues - communication, conflict resolution, anger management, child rearing, control, respect etc.
In any case though the course of our problems my wife has taken to sleeping on the couch (off and on - but frequently and for long periods of time - weeks, sometimes months). When she has slept in the same bedroom, she will only do so if the door is left open.This has bothered me tremendously and my patience is wearing thin. NOTE: this is not about sex, our sex life has pretty much come to an end in the last 5 years and is only very rarely even brought up anymore. In fact I have expressed my willingness to sleep on the floor of the master bath, as a compromise to give her her space while accomplishing one of my goals of shielding the children from this mess.
My wife would say that she is uncomfortable being in the same bedroom as I am in, and if I owned up to just how I hurt her through years of temper tantrums and berating and controlling her, then I would understand and be supportive of her needing this space.
I would say that it is long past time to move on. My problems of having temper tantrums and berating her for her faults and not showing her love and respect - all problems I freely admit to having had - are history - getting to be ancient history. the mistrust demonstrated by sleeping on the couch every night is harmful to the marriage and a really bad display for the children.
The issue of the couch sleeping has been brought up with every counselor we have had, and although all have indicated there are concerns about such a situation, and that it clearly is not the ideal, none have come right out and said it should stop. I have always had a problem with counselors who are dedicated to being non direct - and I think that is what is going on here.
Through all of this I have been unable to see that my wife is willing to own up to her shortcomings as a wife (though she has improved very much as a mother in issues that were a great source of tension in the past) and actually do anything about them. She remains to this day, unwilling to follow advice given in any of the various books that counselors have suggested.
Sorry so long. I am willing to keep going to counseling, but have been unable to see any movement on my wifes part to change the ways that she hurts me - this couch thing being the most blatant. My specific question is this, would it be wrong of me to lay as a condition for further counseling that she cease sleeping on the couch?
Also, I think everyone would agree that there could be some limits to a spouse’s willingness to continue counseling, (For example, if a wife was upset about a husband sleeping with other women, would there be anything wrong with her saying, IF you want me to work on our marriage through counseling, then you must first stop the affairs.) So what would the general principle be?