My wife cares more about her mother’s opinion than mine. Even though we’ve been married for five years, she still involves her mother in decisions that I think should be between us, like our finances or how we take care of our baby girl. It’s like she’s on Team Mom instead of Team Marriage.
There is a difference between your wife maintaining a bond with her mother, which is healthy and loving, and forming a coalition against you, which undermines your marital connection and sense of partnership. Like you said, it feels like she’s not on your team. Spouses seeking couples therapy in Bethesda often bring a similar complaints to yours. They don’t feel secure with each other, they don’t feel friendship, they don’t feel a sense of loyalty.
In Dr. John Gottman’s recent book, What Makes Love Last?, he argues that betrayal is at the heart of all relationship problems. Betrayal isn’t always in the form of an affair. It’s also persistent coldness, disrespect, or withdrawing sexual interest as punishment. By choosing her mother over you, your wife is betraying your marriage by denying you the emotional support you wish for. You want her to turn towards you, not away.
Trust is the antidote to betrayal. One way to develop trust in a marriage is by learning how to respond to each other’s emotions and opinions in a way that deepens connecting rather than driving a wedge. In couples therapy, Bethesda couples therapists help increase understanding of your partner and teach ways to express acceptance and support. Learning how to communicate with empathy and learning to trust each other again are the keys to overcoming betrayal in a marriage.
If you know a couple who struggles with betrayal or trust issues, we hope you forward this post. Couples therapy in Bethesda MD helps couples learn how to turn a low-trust relationship into a strong marital alliance.