The questions this week are centered on self-reflection with our choice of friends, as well as how far we are willing to go in order to save our marriage. Do we think of getting help for our marriage as a tit-for-tat negotiation? Choosing your battles wisely, and being willing to go the extra mile to get help for a marriage we want to save is a sign of wisdom. However, with that wisdom also comes understanding that you cannot make someone love you, and if they aren’t willing to try and save their marriage, you cannot save it alone. Lastly, we have an engaged father with a curious 10-year-old asking questions about his changing body. How you talk to your children about sex is a stepping-stone to how you’ll talk to your children about other challenging issues.
Dear Mary Jo,
Why do I feel so down and out when I confide in my female friends about my guy problems? Sometimes they are there, but there are times I question why I confided in them.
No one wants to feel as though they are being judged or disapproved of by others, especially their friends. True friends make you feel supported and loved no matter what you say. If you feel judged or ashamed after talking to your friends, it is highly likely they are not true friends. When you want to confide in someone, choose only one or two of your closest friends who share similar experiences. If your friends aren’t dating, they may not be able to relate to what you are feeling and therefore leave you feeling unheard or invalidated.
Dear May Jo,
My husband thinks I’m the only one who needs counseling. His excuse is time and money, so what should I do?
Sometimes men and women are resistant to therapy when they feel they have something to hide, or they are ashamed of a situation in their life. Rather than fight this battle, I think it may be wise for you to go to therapy for yourself. Research suggests that with marital therapy it isn’t necessary for both partners to go, as long as they are willing to work on the assignments given by the therapist together. It may be less expensive if you go alone, and you will certainly benefit from having the therapist’s total attention for one hour. Having someone help guide you to improve your relationship will help you feel emotionally stronger as well as supported. It is also important to remember, part of your husband’s resistance to getting help may be he has given up on the marriage. If this is the case, then realizing that you cannot make someone love you or work on the marriage means you’ll have to come to terms with a dying marriage. A therapist is a good investment to help you through whichever of these transitions you are facing.
I need your help. I like to think I’m a man with wisdom, but I’m stumped. I have a 10 year old starting to ask a few questions about the birds and the bees.
1. Is it time to talk?
2. How in the world do I break this news to him?
Yes, nine to ten years old is perfect timing to talk to your son. Below are a few reminders in preparing for your talk.
- Know his maturity level and gauge your talk to his level.
- Prepare yourself. If you feel embarrassed or shamed it will show and he will blame the topic, not your readiness.
- Have a place to talk where he is comfortable and not easily distracted.
- Be open and honest, tell him factually how his body is changing and share with him how you felt when your body changed.
- As you talk with him, ask him if he has questions and leave the door open for him to come back and talk with you more.
The sex talk is a building stone toward a wonderful, close relationship with your son. Be honest, open and comfortable.