Marc and Laurie came to couples counseling in crisis. Marc uncovered that Laurie was having an affair that spanned many years and he was furious. In a life that focused on kids and demanding jobs, they had lost each other. Laurie rediscovered connection with another man, until being discovered unraveled their marriage.
The initial work in couples counseling is often talking about the affair—Marc needed a better understanding of what occurred to begin to move past it. Now they were beginning to talk about their relationship, but Marc’s initial anger was keeping Laurie at a distance.
Laurie said, “I want to be let in.”
Marc responded, “There were thousand of issues that we never talked about.”
Then Marc added, “I need you to express your needs so I can fulfill them.”
This was the essence of their marital breakdown. Laurie had needs that were no longer being met and she needed to let Marc unequivocally know what they were. Marc was now prepared to listen and respond.