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Emotional Wellness Center - Relationships
Sue Frederick As published in

Mary and Charlie's Story

Mary and Charlie have been married 10 years, and they have two children aged 8 and 6. They seem to have a very happy home life; they seldom argue, and their children bring them great joy. However, Charlie, an advertising sales executive, has been feeling "bored" and not satisfied with his life or marriage. Mary is frustrated from being mom and wife with little time for herself.

It seems that all we do are house chores and shuffling kids to events and school. I can't remember the last time we had a date or a romantic evening. I work with some very interesting, exciting women, and I can't help but let my mind wander sometimes…. I don't know if I can maintain this marriage. I'm really struggling with it. It's become tedious. I feel so restless….about everything in my life.

I feel like my life is very tedious these days. I go from chore to chore and errand to errand. I can't even remember what I used to do in the world before I had kids. Charlie wants me to be more spontaneous. Honestly, I feel drained and not even interested in sex. I also feel like I've gained too many "extra" pounds in the last few years - which makes me feel bad about myself and not eager to get intimate with Charlie.

I really love Mary and want to be with her. I'm just feeling so restless lately. I'm afraid I'll do something stupid and end our relationship. I really don't want to do that.

I'm thinking that maybe I should get some part time work outside the home. It might make me feel better about myself and even help me enjoy my marriage and kids again. I just don't know where to start….

The Therapist Says:

It's clear that you two love each other and want to save your marriage. You just need a little renewal plan. We can start with Mary. I want Mary to take one day a week as her personal day-off. On this day, she gets a babysitter to shuffle the kids around, and you two agree to order pizza out so that she doesn't have to cook.

On that personal day-off, I want you, Mary, to first do something physical such as hike, run, walk, swim or do yoga. This will help you get in touch with the physical side of yourself that you've lost touch with through years of taking care of children. You'll feel the power in your own body for a change, and that power will help you gain self-respect. It will also help you shed a few pounds. All of this will help you feel sexy and attractive again for Charlie.

Also, on that day I want you to start keeping a journal and sit down once a week to write out and clarify your life goals. What are your long-term dreams and plans for yourself? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Once you get a little personal time and space to clear your head and listen to your own needs (instead of everyone else's needs), you'll begin to see a first step you can take towards feeling better about your life. You may decide that a part time job is right for you. This one day a week of personal time will give you a chance to compose a resume and even visit with a career counselor to get some ideas.

You'll be surprised at how ideas will come to you and clarity will reveal itself to you when you have a little open space in your life.

Now Charlie, this is also a time for you to reflect on your life. I'm suggesting you take one two-day weekend retreat alone this month. During that retreat (no work allowed), I want you to write in your journal and explore your life goals. What is making you feel so restless? Is your career boring you? Do you need more stimulating work? What is at the root of your nervousness? How do you envision a happy future for you and Mary?

I also want you to create two date nights per month for you and Mary. I want you to plan them, hire the babysitters, make dinner reservations and even surprise her with special outings. Maybe get a hotel room in an elegant hotel for a night. Make her feel loved and appreciated, and you'll be amazed at how much love and excitement you'll generate in her.

I want both of you to make Sunday nights your relationship renewal night. Each Sunday night, put a video in the VCR for the kids and find one hour of time to sit quietly together and talk. Your goal during these talks is to first focus on the positive things. Your first session will be called: This is what I love about you.

The next sessions, after we establish a good foundation, will be for solving problems together. We'll start these with talks like: This is what I need….How can we work together to resolve this in a way that is mutually satisfactory?

Their Personal Journal:

Today I took my first personal day off and voila! I feel better already. I went to the local recreation center and swam laps. Then I sat in the steam room and hot tub. After that, I went to a coffee shop and sat in the corner with my journal.

I was surprised at how easily the words came to me. I see more clearly now that I'm not just frustrated with Charlie and the kids, but with myself. I've forgotten who I am and what I believe in. I want to be the "me" who existed before I was Mom.

What an evening we had! When I finally got it all arranged (what a headache), we went to our favorite Japanese restaurant and had too much fun laughing and even playing Karoake. I was so glad to enjoy Mary's company again. She really is so funny and has such a great laugh. It made me remember who we are - without the pressures and without the kids. We never even went to the movie I had planned. We enjoyed our dinner so much we didn't want to leave. Next time I'm planning a romantic evening in a hotel…

Get Healthy Plan:

*Mary needs to enhance her energy with more protein foods and less sugar. She likes to start the day with bagels and cream cheese. However, a breakfast of a protein shake or scrambled eggs will help her energy levels stay steady throughout the day.

*She also needs to cut down or eliminate the diet sodas that she drinks during the day. These offer her no nutritional value, and the sugar (or sugar replacements) drain her energy and sap her body of valuable nutrients. Instead, we're suggesting iced herbal mint tea (or black tea if she really needs the caffeine) as a refreshing sugar-free pick-me-up.

*For lunch and dinner, we're recommending more fish and proteins such as chicken and beef. These should be accompanied by lots of fresh vegetables - especially in salads.

*Charlie needs to unwind from his stressful days at the office. We've asked him to cut his daily caffeine consumption in half and to have a cup of relaxing herbal tea before going to bed. This will help him sleep better and the reduction in caffeine will help cut down on some of his "restlessness."

*He will also benefit from more protein and less sugar in order to keep energy levels consistent throughout the day. We suggest he have a fresh salad and piece of protein without the bread for lunch each day.

*The following supplements may be helpful:

B vitamins for a healthy nervous system

Ginseng for energy

Multi-vitamin and mineral complex

Herbal aphrodisiac for special dates

Kava Kava for stress

Herbal Mint Tea for pick me up

Herbal Chamomile tea for bedtime

Get Healthy Products:

B vitamins for a healthy nervous system

A good multi-vitamin and mineral complex

Ginseng for energy

Herbal aphrodisiac for romantic evenings

Kava Kava for stress

Herbal Mint Tea for pick me up

Relaxing herbal tea for bedtime

Massage oils

Book: Love Potions by Dr. Cynthia Watson

Scented Candles

Aromatherapy Oils for massage

Tantric Sex Video

Please tell us your relationship story so we can help you with a Get-Healthy Plan of your own. Email to:

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