Jack and Stacy were not in a good place. Despite a decent lifestyle, internally, they were so unhappy. Their interactions were regularly tense, and the disconnection was icy cold. 

Stacy talked about wanting to be seen, heard, and valued. Jack didn’t know how to accomplish this. He would often analyze her, and somehow Stacy was at fault. He couldn’t get out of his own way.

Jack was going to need a lot of coaching to be successful. In our sessions, I sat next to Jack and became his translator. When Stacy talked about what she needed, I would interpret what she was asking for. If I intuited that Jack wasn’t going to have an adequate response, I demonstrated what a responsive response would look like.

Jack didn’t currently have the skills to be successful in this marriage, but I wanted to show him what was possible. Eventually, I could move from demonstrating to coaching him how to be more effective with Stacy—allowing him to respond to Stacy but giving him direction in the moment. 

Typically I work with both partners to be more effective, but in this relationship, Jack tended to blame and be defensive. Working in this way, this challenging relationship might have a chance.