About Coach Jack e-mail
Jack and Toshie Ito

Books and Help from Coach Jack Ito PhD

Dr. Jack Ito's Book

What to Do When He Won't Change

connecting through yes book

Connecting Through “Yes!”


build love with communication

Building Love through Better Communication: 5 Free Lessons for Women


communication e-book

Back in the Picture: The Man's Guide to Better Communication in Marriage and Committed Relationships

Married Men Issues and Answers about Relationships

Not attracted to your wife? Not satisfied with your relationship? Wife threatening to leave or divorce?

These are situations which you can handle in a way that improves your relationship. These are very sensitive areas for women, so knowing what works and doing that is much better than going with your gut.

(click on a question to read the answer)

How do I tell my wife that I'm not satisfied with our relationship?
You are right to be concerned about the way to say things to your wife. Although men tend to be very practical and want to just lay the facts on the table, that approach most often does not work. The reason it doesn't work is that although you are presenting fact and not emotions, they are connected to an emotional experience that your wife has had. Take for example, the word "baseball". By itself, it is just a word representing a small globe shaped object that is thrown in a game. It is indeed just a fact or a thing. But, when you say baseball to different people, it will pull from then an emotional reaction based on their experiences with baseball. For some, "baseball" will be attached to images of playing with brothers and sisters as kids, or throwing the ball around with dad. For others, it will remind them of how they were never chosen for the baseball team or didn't have a dad to throw a ball with them. It is just a little, innocent word, but it creates different emotions in someone from the very mention of the word. Asking someone not to have an emotional experience when we say something is like asking them not to have a memory. And that is just not possible. With this kind of emotional loading to what we say, how can we ever say something that won't be taken the wrong way or cause upset with our partner? The best way to say things to your partner is to use words which are usually positively emotionally loaded (connected to positive memories). The words "romance," "fun," and "excitement," for example, are words which are usually not connected to bad memories, whereas "dissatisfied," "tired," and "unhappy," generally are connected to a pit of bad memories. Consider these two statements: 1) "Honey, our relationship seems to be getting dull and I think we are both dissatisfied with the way things are going. If we continue like this I know we will both be unhappy." ; and 2) "Honey, I want to work with you to make our relationship more romantic, fun, and exciting. I want it to be a relationship that all our friends will envy." In essence, both statements carry the same information. However, because of their emotional loadings, the second statement will be far more energizing and motivating than the first. The general rules are: 1) say what you want and not what you don't want; and 2) give an example of how it will be good for your wife as well as you. If you are the one to connect the dots, then you can be more sure of what picture is drawn in her mind.
My wife is threatening to divorce me. I don't want to lose our relationship. What can I do?
There are four NATURAL ways to deal with this situation. You can try to convince her that her thinking is messed up (a defensive action); you can try to convince her that she is the reason for the marriage problems (an attack), you emotionally shut down and try to avoid the situation (running away), you beg and plead for her to change her mind (needy way). There is one UNNATURAL way to deal with this situation: rebuild a close connection with her, earn her trust and respect, and create a future you will both look forward to. If you think you can do that by yourself, you are wrong. That's why you are in the situation you are in. But, a relationship coach will be happy to walk you through these steps and to deal with things one step at a time. This will help to keep you from being emotionally overwhelmed and from pushing your wife further away.
My wife wants me to have coaching/counseling. I don't want to. What should I do?
First, be thankful she is giving you this chance. Many wives end their relationship after waiting for their husbands to change, and past the point where they are willing to work on the relationship. Secondly, ask her to write down anything that she thinks would be important for you to work on in coaching or counseling; and Thirdly, be honest with yourself about whether she is right. If she is, and you don't do something both different and better, you risk losing your relationship with her permanently. That often happens to men who believe it won't. Choosing between a counselor and coach mainly depends on whether you need to manage your emotions (counseling), or improve your relationship skills (relationship coaching).
My wife wants me to improve, or else.... I don't know how to improve.
Most people don't. Except for very basic instinctual activities like eating and breathing air, everything you do had to be learned at some point. At some point in your life (likely long ago) you didn't know how to put on and button up a shirt, tie your shoes, or write your name. Someone who did know how worked with you step by step to teach you these things. The reluctance that some men have about learning to have a great relationship is astounding considering that they learned to do almost every other important aspect of their daily life. Get help, make the improvements, and get on with your life. It will be both easier and less expensive than having your wife divorce you and/or emotionally shut you out.
I'm not attracted to my wife anymore.
Many men are surprised to find that even though they may have married the most beautiful of women, that other women begin to look more attractive than their wife after a while. Other men have been equally surprised that their wife is looking more and more attractive each day and that gray hair and wrinkles become endearing. Much of our attraction has to do with how we characterize the object of our attraction. Scientists have found that that if men and women are shown pictures of someone and given different information about the person, that their attraction toward that person will also vary. Further, when asked to guess what people are like based solely on their pictures, attractive people were thought to have more positive qualities than unattractive people. The key point is, that attraction (and repulsion) has to do with what is going on in our head about how a person is and is not due to the physical characteristics of the object of our attraction. For this reason, fat women are seen as more attractive in some cultures while thin women are found to be attractive in others. In some cultures a woman would not consider you to be attractive if you didn't have lips that were stretched out with large discs, etc. We become more attractive to others when they regard us positively. Others become more attractive to us when we regard them positively. If you want to become really attractive to a woman, really work on your relationship with her. If you want to find her really attractive, then really work on your relationship with her. (And under no circumstances tell your wife that you are not attracted to her!).

Relationship problems? Choose the right tool for the right job

(Back to Top)