By Lawrence Kaufman, Florida Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
7301 W Palmetto Park RD, Suite 201 A, Boca Raton FL 33433-3456
Betty and Hank sought counseling for longstanding communication problems. They spoke of having grown steadily more distant from one another other the past few years. They were arguing more, and avoiding one another much more than in the past. Betty was focused a great deal on their children, and Hank was staying later and later at work. They told me that they had “tried everything” to improve their relationship, but that nothing worked – except temporarily.
They believed that they still loved one another, but “constantly argued over little things” that grew into a variety of repetitive and intense complaints. They wanted my help before their relationship deteriorated even further.
After I closely observed how they spoke with one another, I pointed out to them what they were both contributing to their relationship to make it “go downhill.” They fortunately were open and non-defensive about the feedback I gave them – so they were able to “take in” and make use of my remarks.
They gradually were able to more consistently observe and monitor themselves as they spoke with one another. They learned to distinguish between “what works” and “what doesn’t work“ in their dialogue together. We discussed how they could communicate with each other in ways that could lead either to success or failure in their relationship. This was hard work for them.
They practiced their communication skills both in my office and at their home. In the end, they reached the point where they were arguing much less and felt much closer to one another.
They also resumed their stalled, mutual sex life, once they regained a sense of emotional intimacy and partnership.