One Couple’s Story

John and Susan had been married for 8 years, and had two children, ages 6 and 3. Susan had begun to feel “disconnected” from her husband. When she tried to talk about this with John, he was defensive at first, but then admitted that he had also been feeling some distance and confusion over what had changed in their marriage, especially since the children were born. A friend had told Susan about the Family Education Center, and John reluctantly agreed to make one appointment for an evaluation session.

Not psychotherapy

At their evaluation session, John and Susan learned about the Couples Classes we offer. They learned that the class is not psychotherapy, nor is it simply advice from “experts” on how to make marriage work. John described himself as a “private person,” so he was relieved to learn that they would not be in a group class; it would be just the two of them.  He decided he was willing to proceed.

In the class, John and Susan learned our “Structured Dialogue” process, a simple, learnable, talking-and-listening exercise. Using this process, they began to talk and listen to each other in a more effective way. As each began to feel heard by the other, their tensions were reduced, and they began to see that their angry feelings were actually feelings of hurt and fear. They reported that they were “communicating again,” and feeling closer to each other.

John was able to see that Susan had been feeling overwhelmed by the tasks of her job and the demands of motherhood, and that she needed a different kind of attention from him. Susan was able to see that John needed a different kind of attention from her as well. They learned that, because they had been expressing these needs in different ways, and the needs themselves were different, they had both been feeling hurt and alone. As Susan put it: “We learned that we have different love languages.”

Conscious Marriage

As they continued to talk and listen to each other, John and Susan began to feel a renewed sense of hope. They began to feel understood by each other, and they felt their loving feelings for each other return.

After completing the course, Susan and John were clear that they wanted to hold on to the progress that they had made. They saw what they needed to do, and they believed they now had the tools to keep on doing it. They agreed that they both wanted a “Conscious Marriage,” and they made a commitment to share the responsibility for keeping it that way.

Susan summed up their experience this way:

“We have the tools. If we continue to use them properly, we will get better and better at this. If we stay conscious, we can have the relationship we want!”