Ed worries a lot, mostly about finances. Since he’s in an industry that has more turnover than most, he’s constantly worrying about his family’s future. He addresses his fear by working long hours, so he’s not laid off due to lack of effort.
Renee judges him for this. He wasn’t spending enough time with her or the kids and she would let him know that. He was consumed by disappointing his demanding bosses, as well as his dissatisfied wife.
In our couples counseling, Renee eventually came around. Rather than criticize Ed, she talked about what she needed. She actually enjoyed time with Ed and thought he was a great father. She talked about how accomplished he was at work and how unlikely he would lose his job (unless it was circumstances beyond his control).
In this conversation, Ed felt supported and appreciated, rather than feeling defeated. He was inspired to find more time with the family, without it being detrimental to his work. He began detaching from his financial worries and was reworking his connection with Renee and the kids.