Kim was longing to feel emotionally connected to Sam again, so I was coaching Sam how to be more emotionally responsive to Kim. They were visiting Sam’s parents for their annual trip, and Kim commented that she didn’t want their relationship to be as disconnected as his parents. Sam began to defend his parents saying “You only see them once or twice a year, so you don’t see the more positive aspects of their relationship.”
I pointed out to Sam that he was defending his parents rather than being responsive to Kim’s concerns. He had previously acknowledged that his parents were disconnected—“like passing ships in the night.” I urged him to focus on Kim’s main concern, that their relationship wasn’t as disconnected.
Sam responded by saying, “I don’t want us to be disconnected. I want us to be close again. I love you and I want you to feel that.” Now Sam was doing a much more effective job connecting.