Drew-Ann awoke in the middle of the night wondering where her husband Evan of 6 years was, as he was not in their bed. She thought he might be sick so she went downstairs looking for him and to her horror found him chatting to another woman on an internet chat website. This was the low point of their marriage. Until this point she thought that they had a ‘happy’ marriage. Drew-Ann reported that she felt so betrayed, hurt and humiliated that she did not think she could ever trust him again. Evan reported that he felt confused and misunderstood. He did not understand why Drew-Ann was hurt, as he had not ‘cheated’ on her, he was just chatting. This is how they began marriage counseling with me.
They both loved each other and wanted to regain their ‘happy’ marriage. This factor makes the outcome of marriage counseling almost always positive. When a couple loves each other, and is willing to commit to working though their hurt feelings, they will heal, and can rekindle what they had before.
For Drew-Ann and Evan they needed to learn how to communicate what they wanted more clearly from each other as well as heal this particular wound. They also learned what behaviors they were using to avoid each other, (we will call these behaviors Exits). Once Evan learned how to close this particular Exit, i.e., chatting with another woman on the Internet, Drew-Ann was able to notice how she watched T.V. at night as an Exit, i.e. a way of avoiding closeness with Evan. They learned how to make and keep Agreements, as well as to forgive and move forward in their new ‘happy’ marriage.
Written by Mara Fisher L.C.S.W. She can be found at BridgeofLife.com