When Kate first emailed me to inquire about a scheduling a session, she wrote “Our marriage is only 4 years old and rapidly deteriorating. We need help before it’s too late.”
When I first met Kate and Will, Will said that when they fought, they really fought—knowing how to push each other’s buttons. Kate shared that they escalated about stupid things and that the fights could be awful. She said they could hit below the belt and that arguments could last for days.
As many couples in counseling, they brought their conflicts back to couples counseling. We took each of their fights and processed how they occurred. They used their new-found knowledge to reduce the frequency and intensity of their conflicts. They healed each of the incidents so there wasn’t a buildup of unfinished arguments. Nowadays they rarely fight and generally focus on how to improve their relationship.
When they were reviewing an incident that would have easily exploded earlier in our work, I asked Will, “How did you phrase it?” Will’s response was “Very carefully.”
Kate and Will were really getting it. Being careful in their language with each other was saving their marriage.