Steve was planning on flying to the funeral of a friend’s mother. As a former marine, he was stationed in the South. His closest friend’s mother Theresa lived within range of the base. Typically when they were on leave, they would stay with Theresa. She was like a second mother to Steve.
In our couples counseling session, Paula complained that Steve no longer opened up to her emotionally. She felt very connected to him early in the relationship but was feeling distant from him recently. Paula wanted to understand his disconnection.
Steve started talking about Theresa and the impending funeral. He talked about how close he felt to her and the deep sadness he felt regarding her death, to the point of tears flowing unto the stoic marine’s cheek.
Steve said he told three other people about Theresa in the last day, but “it was just a story.” Here in the session he was able to share the deep loss that he felt. Paula supported him as she reached out and stroked his hand while listening to him. He was feeling emotionally safe enough to have a rare vulnerable moment.