Have the Conversation

Last night, I watched a movie, Hope Gap, about a husband who had withdrawn from his wife.
Her constant criticism of him led him to retreat. He disclosed to her that he checked out, no
longer wanting to work on the marriage. As the dialogue continued, we found out that he was
having an affair with another woman who was giving him the comfort and support he desired.
Despite her desire to win him back, the wife’s relentless criticism only pushed the husband
further away. She was vaguely aware of her harsh critical style, but it was too late by the time
she realized the damage.

So, how does such a couple avoid the agony? The wife agonized over the husband’s emotional
distance, and the husband was pained by the constant criticism. Ideally, the husband could
have let the wife know each time she criticized him instead of withdrawing. He could have also
warned her that he may not continue in the marriage if it didn’t stop. But it also reminds me of
couples in which the person leaning out doesn’t realize how detrimental the dynamics are until
someone else treats them with kindness.

Nonetheless, the movie also portrays the agony of the wife being left without a chance to work
on the relationship and the husband agonizing over his guilt. I only wish they could have had the