Mark's Couples Case Study
William and Jennifer came in for counseling because they were constantly fighting and felt like they were at the end of their rope. They didn’t want to give up because they had two children so counseling was their last attempt at repairing their relationship. Jennifer was growing tired of William’s anger outbursts every time they would disagree about something or by William becoming annoyed at something she was doing. She felt like he was rarely happy and on top of that he worked late hours at the office most days not getting home until 7 or 8 at night leaving her with little break from the kids. William was frustrated because he felt like Jennifer was always complaining about everything he did. He couldn’t do anything right and he didn’t want to come home early most days because he didn’t want to deal with her complaints. Because of all of these things and more William and Jennifer felt as if the only time they got along was to discuss how they would get the kids to and from practice or to plan anything related to the kids.
- One thing that Jennifer and William struggled with was communication. When either Jennifer or William blew up at one another with frustration they would talk past each other and neither one of them actually listened and cared what the other was saying. Mark and Jennifer and William focused on slowing down and practiced techniques that helped them talk to be understood, but also to listen and empathize with the other person. At the end of therapy, Jennifer and William were able to slow down and talk to one another without judgment and resentment leading the conversation. Even when there was conflict, they were able to resolve it without yelling at each other or storming out of the room.
- Another thing that helped Jennifer and William was focusing on giving one another space and respect to express themselves as individuals inside of the relationship, but also outside of the relationship. Some of the anger coming from both sides of the relationship was resentment from each partner. Both Jennifer and William didn’t give one another space to pursue friendships and hobbies separate from one another even when they needed it. Mark and Jennifer and William worked on setting expectations for the relationship and working through the resentment that had been created throughout their years of marriage. Not only did they set expectations, but they sat through the painful emotions brought up by their past and worked toward forgiving each other and extending grace to the other partner. At the end of therapy, William and Jennifer were able to value their relationship enough to go on dates to enjoy one another, create intimacy, and respect one another’s needs.