This dynamic is frequently seen with couples in marriage counseling. It is a serious threat to the longevity of the marriage. At the same time, it’s relatively quick and easy to remedy in counseling.
The wife shows up in my office frustrated and upset because she feels overwhelmed. She feels like her husband is checked out, and she needs his help. She doesn’t know what to do to get him motivated. Her desire for him to be motivated may be in regards to helping with the kids, cooking dinner, going out on a date, cleaning house, initiating intimacy . . . the list goes on.
I’ve seen it enough times that I don’t even have to meet him to know that it sounds like she is describing a husband who is de-motivated. Chances are good that he’s feeling like no matter what he does, she judges it as not good enough. In these cases, I like to meet with each separately in one-on-one sessions. I dig a little deeper to discover the specific dynamics of the couple, and then plan a strategy for each of them to include changes to empower husband and to empower wife in a better direction.