He worked in the financial sector she was a psychologist. In their initial consultation it was clear to see their relationship was dying fast. With a new baby that wasn’t sleeping I could see this couple was exhausted and emotionally empty.
Combination of punishing work schedules and a 18 month old child who was too ill to sleep had triggered this couple into an automatic destructive process that had to be interrupted.
Both were focused on protecting themselves from the other, they were displaying all the usual coping strategies of blame, recrimination and power struggles leading to unbearable conflicts and days of deafening silences.
One of the skills I have developed is being able to see which couples don’t stand a chance of making a relationship work and which ones have dramatically misunderstood each other. This is why I ask couples to attend an evaluation session because I want to be sure of the direction they need to take, some couples shouldn’t be together, some have problems which can be solved with help and some can be helped in just one or two sessions.
From what they were both saying in their first meeting with me, anyone would be forgiven for thinking this was a lost cause, but I could see something different, I felt that this couple loved each other. So I agreed to help them.
What was interesting was they were both convinced the marriage couldn’t be fixed, but they both wanted to find out.
So I set a goal they could both connect to. I told them I was not going to help them fix their marriage. I was going to help them discover if it was possible to create a dynamic that could work for both of them. Fixing a relationship in the short-term is irresponsible if the couple were to be fixed it had to last.
I explained that staying together unhappy would not be good for their child and if they wanted the best for their child then they would both have follow the steps I created and be the best they could be.
They both agreed and so we started.
Every couple I see in my program will have a unique process designed just for them.
In this couples example I started by helping them connect with their true selves before we started on any couples work.
I helped them understand their critical needs so they could share them with their partner. This changed the way they acted and communicated with each other. I blocked them from meeting their needs destructively and helped them learn how to meet those same needs in ways which would help them feel much better about themselves.
We also looked at how the couple values had affected their behaviour. They both discovered that they had adopted values systems that meant that life would always feel wrong, shocked they instantly wanted to change.
In other words their individual methods of focus were igniting their fears in themselves and this in turn ignited fear in their partner.
Essential they were acting out fears created years before they met, their relationship was simply re-enforcing the fears.
Once the couple could see where their problems had come from and that neither partner was out to purposely hurt the other, they were able to become a team.
They are now on a new journey of rebuilding this relationship connected to their true selves and because they will be meeting their own needs in the process of meeting their partners the chances of lasting success are naturally high.