Stephanie loved her uncle Jerry. When he unexpectedly died, she was quite distraught. When she told her husband Jake, he hugged her; but the hug was so limp, she didn’t feel supported. When they were getting ready for the funeral, Jake was running late. When Jake insisted going through the drive-thru for coffee and a muffin, Stephanie was infuriated.
When they got to the church, there was only seating in the back; the family was sitting up front. When the service was over, Stephanie overheard one of the aunts commenting, “There she is. Stephanie did make it.” Since Stephanie was a central member of the family, she was quite embarrassed.
This incident occurred years ago, but it still gnawed at her. Previous attempts to resolve it were unsuccessful. When Stephanie brought it up in marriage counseling, Jake said he couldn’t believe she wouldn’t let go of it.
When Stephanie shared the story, Jake reacted defensively. I had Jake listen and transform his defensiveness into responsiveness. Stephanie was relieved to finally feel heard. Stephanie felt Jake was insensitive at the time of her uncle’s death, but felt he was now being sensitive to her upset. Feeling resolved, she didn’t need to bring up the story again.