Different Strokes

Andrew and Jennifer made enough progress in couples counseling to finally talk about intimacy, or in their case, lack of intimacy. Jennifer said they were not connecting intimately. She wanted to feel validated, but instead was feeling blamed and disregarded.

Jennifer talked about how she felt validated at work. Jennifer was a school teacher and was constantly appreciated for how skilled was. But in the bedroom, Andrew’s comments about her awkwardness made her feel insecure. Now she found herself avoiding him.

To reverse this pattern, I asked Andrew to validate Jennifer in the couples session. He talked about how beautiful she was and that the best moment of his day was coming home to her. Other compliments also flowed. Andrew talked about how hard he is on himself, and that he could impose his high standards on Jennifer.

As he was talking, he was becoming aware of how his harsh words were negatively impacting Jennifer, especially in the area of intimacy. Jennifer seemed to flourish with his compliments. With his newfound awareness, he seemed determined to do differently.