Couples Conflict

February 22, 2019

Rachael contacted me to say that she and her husband were no longer close, that they seemed to disagree on almost everything and were growing apart. Robert was initially a reluctant participant in counselling, but Rachael said she would leave him if he didn’t come along.

  • They had three children quite quickly after getting together. Their first child was unexpected.
  • Rachael returned to work after each of their children reached three months old. Family life was busy.
  • Robert was at the peak of his career and having to put in long hours.
  • Many household tasks fell on Rachael’s shoulders.
  • They no longer had time for fun activities.
  • They were stretched financially.
  • Rachael and Robert’s quality time together had diminished.

Their struggles emerged quickly. Both partners blamed the other for their demise. They explored some of their own behaviours that put a drain on the relationship. Their changed attitudes meant blaming each other slowly decreased.

Both Rachael and Robert were able to share their feelings and thoughts in individual sessions also.

Through practice, they learnt to listen to one another and reflect back what their partner was feeling. This was a positive communication strategy and a turning point for them. For the first time, they were hearing each other without defensive responses.

  • They found that most of what was happening could be changed with practice and both were keen. They participated in a number of simple marriage enrichment activities, which they enjoyed.
  • They employed a Nanny instead of using daycare.
  • Rachael needed some ‘me’ time upon arrival home from work. They decided together that Robert would take care of the children for half an hour when Rachael arrived home to give her time to settle in.
  • They organised weekends away without the children.
  • There were other activities they introduced into their daily lives. They enjoyed a new way of communicating and practised it frequently when time permitted and important decisions were being made. It usually involved compromise on both parts.

This couple was willing to put in the effort to change the parts of their relationship that had become a struggle.

If this is something you can relate to, please contact me on 027 488 9236, or email me on I am located in Birkenhead, North Shore, Auckland.

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