The couple arrived at our cottage late, having flown in from Tennessee to participate in a Marriage Intensive. I arrived the next morning to begin our work. After greeting and breaking the ice with small conversation, we began our work. As we began to talk I quickly noticed how far apart they sat.

Kathy, a thirty-five year old woman, sat stiffly in a single chair, while Jess, her burly husband, hugged the edge of a large sofa. I wondered if it had simply been a long flight and perhaps they were tired. Or had their years of conflict taken such a huge toll on their intimacy?

Our work began much the same as most Intensives—we began to talk about the process leading to their seeking depth marriage counseling. But this Intensive was a bit different, and I couldn’t put my finger on it right away. Kathy seemed pensive, reluctant to share. It took her several moments to answer questions. I attributed it to their emotional distance, and possibly the awkwardness she felt in sharing with someone she didn’t know well.

Finally, in the middle of our third session, Jess blurted it out.

“Are you going to talk about your depression?” he asked angrily, looking over at Kathy. “Are you going to tell him how you close up for days and don’t talk to me?”

Continue Reading on