“Marriages, like careers, need constant nurturing… the secret of having it all is loving it all.”
– Joyce Brothers, psychologist
“… they wanted to do something about it before things got out of hand.”
Halle and Hank had been married 13 years and had two children, Hannah, aged 10 and Herbie, aged 11. Halle drove the courtesy car for a local car dealership while Hank was a mechanic at another dealership.
Both Halle and Hank were in their mid thirties and devoted to their children. Halle said she did as much chauffeuring at home as at work. And, Hank countered with he’d rather repair cars than drive them but some days, being a father, made it an even split for him.
Halle had made the call to set up the consultation. She had a dark complexion accentuated with jet black hair and large bright eyes. And, Halle had a pleasant smile which she shared readily.
Hank had that lean look of people whose job requires them to climb in and out of cramped spaces with awkward shaped tools. He wore the stereotypical, well worn baseball hat with his sunglasses clipped over the front peak. Hank’s short cropped hair and flint blue eyes reflected and magnified his quick wit.
Halle said she had called because they hadn’t been communicating very well lately, arguing, sulking and being distant from each other. Hank added they wanted to do something about it before things got out of hand.
“I was arrested for driving drunk.”
When I asked them if something had already got out of hand to motivate them to call, they each looked away, retreating into themselves.
Halle looked up first, tears forming, and whispered sheepishly,
“I had an collision with my car last month. I now have a DUI charge. I was arrested for driving drunk. Luckily, no one was hurt. I went through a red light without stopping and got creamed by a pickup truck who had the green light. Fortunately everyone had their belts on so their was just vehicle damage.”
“Have their been other incidents in your past, Halle?” I asked wondering about addiction issues.
“No, that was, and will be, the first and only time!” she said firmly.
“Sounds like it was your ‘wake up’ call, Halle. Do you see it in that way?” I asked.
“Very much so, Ken. And, on two levels…my own stress level and my marriage.”
“Tell me more, Halle.”
“It was bound to catch up with her…and it did!”
“At work we had a recent expansion and with it came extended service hours and lots of overtime. My team are younger than me and like to get together after work and unwind after a long day. I forgot about my family responsibilities. I was depending more and more on Hank to carry the ball for me at home and wasn’t even discussing it with him.”
“Where are you on all this, Hank?” I asked.
“Well, I was really surprised in one way. But, in another, I wasn’t because Halle had been burning the candle at both ends for some time. It was bound to catch up with her…and it did!” he said with a hint of self-righteousness to his voice.
“Hank, I’ve learned other people mirror the parts of ourself we don’t appreciate yet. So, if you perceive Halle has been burning the candle at both ends, where are you burning the candle at both ends and how may that have contributed to this situation your marriage is in?” I asked carefully, wondering if he was ready to own his part in his marriage challenge.
Hank was a little shocked by my question and sat back in his chair and looked at Halle.
Halle also looked a little surprise by what I had asked him.
“A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love.”
cv- Pearl S. Buck, author
“It takes two …to build, or destroy, a relationship.”
Then she jumped in with,
“Are you saying Hank is part of this situation?”
“It takes two to tango and two to build, or destroy, a relationship. When you got married, you each vowed to make time for each other regardless of what might happen in your future together. That future has been happening and now you are both facing the need to reestablish the priorities you had on your wedding day.”
Hank jumped in then,
“So, I have been contributing to this crisis as much as Halle has…is that what you mean, Ken?”
“Yes! But, I’m not suggesting you were doing it consciously. You have been trying to deal with the challenges of your life while Halle has been doing the same. But, in doing that, you each created important learning opportunities for yourself and each other.”
“…but I’ve been afraid to take the risk…”
“Let’s go back to my earlier question, Hank. Where are you burning the candle at both ends which probably has contributed to this situation?”
“It is like your asking me where I’m struggling?” he replied.
“I’am indeed, Hank!”
“Well, I know Halle has been working all the extra hours for the money it brings into the house, into our current debt load…which is substantial. We are stretched pretty thin right now.” he started off with.
Then he added, sharing his awareness of his part in the situation,
“But, getting back to your question, I’ve been in my same mechanic position with the same salary, at the dealership for over eight years. And frankly, I’m bored with it. There are opportunities to move up in the organization…but I’ve been afraid to take the risk of applying for them, even though Halle has been very supportive.”
“Do you think this may have been a factor in your current relationship challenge?” I asked.
“I don’t see how it couldn’t be really. We have a large mortgage and with car payments and two kids…it’s a real battle some months to meet our costs. I don’t think I have been holding up my end.”
Then he added this,
“And, I think I have been ‘hiding at home’ with Halle working so much, just focusing on the kids, making meals, dealing with homework and keeping the house clean. It has been providing me a kind of escape hatch to avoid dealing with my own lack of job satisfaction.”
“…carefully evolve your relationship with each other and your relationship with your selves.”
“What do you think, Halle?”
“Hank has been a loyal and hardworking guy for his boss. He’s smart and good with people. I’ve always thought he could move up at work, but he’s been reluctant to put himself out there and give it a shot.”
“From what each of you have told me, I would suggest you need to carefully evolve your relationship with each other and your relationship with your selves. Does that interest each of you?”
Halle said, “Do you mean we need to work on our communication skills with each other and with ourselves?”
“That’s it exactly! You each would be served by updating your perceptions of yourselves. And then, enhancing your ability to connect with each other.” I said.
Hank volunteered, “Well, I think I want some assistance in building my self confidence because I realize now more than ever before, I need to move on in my work. And, I would certainly be interested in rebuilding our relationship.”
“The great secret of a successful marriage is to treat all disasters as incidents and none of the incidents as disasters.”
– Harold Nicolson, diplomat
“But, it’s true, I don’t need Halle to change anymore.”
Then it was Halle’s turn,
“I think I need to learn how to balance my work and my family right away. Also, I have really been thrown off kilter by this DUI. I need to figure out how to deal with the embarrassment of having a criminal record and how to explain it to the kids, my family and close friends. And, I want the closeness back, you and I had, Hank when we got married.”
“OK! So you’re both committed to rebuilding your relationship and you are both committed to growing yourselves. I want to meet with each of you individually and as a couple as well. We’ll book the first individual consults for next week and the couple one for the following week. How does that sound to each of you?”
“I’m in and really glad we are getting at it right away.” Halle said.
“Ditto for me!” echoed Hank.
Over the next weeks, Halle and Hank, using the Demartini Method™ were able to raise their self esteem and self confidence in handling their unique challenges. And, as a couple, they also grew more appreciative of themselves and each other, as they learned how every behaviour of their partner which annoyed them also benefitted them, and conversely, how every behaviour which they liked also cost them equally.
Near the end of our couple sessions, we were discussing the progress they had made and I had asked them what was different now for each of them?
Halle volunteered with, “What I notice most is how when we disagree about something, it doesn’t last very long…it doesn’t undermine my commitment to our relationship anymore…my mind doesn’t go to doubting myself and our marriage.”
Hank added, “Ken, when you said in one of our sessions, when we are done we wouldn’t need or want our partner to change in any way…I was skeptical! But, it’s true, I don’t need Halle to change anymore. I can’t find any behaviours like that anymore. There is nothing she does which doesn’t have a benefit and cost to me…and it is OK, in point of fact, perfect!”
“Congratulations! Welcome to the real world!” I said, smiling.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
– Mignon McLaughlin, journalist
Until Next time…
Now you know, your partner cannot change. It’s your job to learn the value of them as they are. It’s your job to find the benefits to you of their annoying behaviours and the costs to you of their nice ones. This is why you are together…to grow your sense of yourself using your partner as a learning tool. Its normal, natural and necessary for your future!
YOUR NEXT OPPORTUNITY TO UNCOVER YOUR PERFECTION:
“The Couple Transformation Day”
Saturday, October 28th, 2017
Suite #3 The Pierce Institute Offices
549 North River Road, Charlottetown, PE
Here is your chance to:
- Confirm Your Relationship Commitment!
- Conquer Relationships Challenges!
- Build More Emotional Stability!
- Settle Financial Disputes!
- Create A Social Life!
- Resolve Parenting Issues!
- Reinvigorate Your Intimacy!
So: Invest in YOU! – Invest in your RELATIONSHIP!
Register Today! There are no mistakes, only learning opportunities for your future well being!
Details are available at www.kenpiercepsychologist.com
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
Be well…balanced! Ken
Further information: www.kenpiercepsychologist.com