"At first my husband and I came to you because we were in crisis. There were danger signs I'd ignored or minimised over several months, but I had a feeling that this wasn't going to end well. When it inevitably blew up, we did what we'd done at other times of crisis in our 20-year marriage: we asked for help. In the past, the choice was stark: call a counsellor or call a lawyer. This time wasn't that kind of acute but it was one of a long string of mini-crises that were, frankly, wearing me down.
Coming to you was a leap into the unknown, because I wasn't at all familiar with your style or method of coaching. But it VERY quickly became clear that you have a unique gift for tapping into a part of both of us as individuals that neither of us had known or even cared to know. Then you introduced those parts of us to each other. Sounds simple (and a little bizarre, I know) but the effect has been astonishing.
The most prominent symptom of our marital difficulties has always been a tendency to snap at each other, to assume the worst motive in the other during any kind of conflict, large or small (especially small!). But now, having met (and cared for) the vulnerable versions of each other, we both find ourselves stopping before snapping, asking ourselves if it's really likely that the other is being THAT much of an asshole for no reason. Again, it sounds simple, but the effect – day-on-day – is a lightening of the whole household. And with each swept-aside assumption reinforcing the narrative that we've been seeing – projecting – the worst in each other for no damned reason whatsoever, it gets easier to see it clearly the next time.
It's been some months now since we had our last top-up session and, frankly, there's still work to be done. As with any important change which takes practice, once you start skipping a few opportunities to exercise your new skills, the old habits start creeping back in… But I never thought we could be on the other side of the issue: I had honestly thought we'd go on in casual misery for the rest of our lives, loving each other but not liking, trusting or respecting each other very much. Because of our sessions with you, I know now that the second half of that sentence is just a matter of practice and constructive work. Even knowing that lightens the load.
I think we had six sessions with you (astonishingly!) and we'll need a few more in the future, but I honestly can't imagine a better investment in our family's future. Our 14-year old son said the other day, "Aw, you guys are so cute!" and I realised that it's been a long time since he'd seen us that way."