Ron and Connie came in to see me. Their marriage was already in peril. They had been married less than a year, later in life after living together for four years. Then, while they were out listening to music and drinking, disaster struck. Ron was getting too cozy with a mutual acquaintance.
Since then, Connie had a pit in her stomach. Her long-standing jealousy ramped up. She started to think “If it’s going to be this awful, I can’t take it. I’m out of here.”
Please note: Connie’s jumping into the worst-case scenario was only fueling her fear. It wasn’t helping her deal with what she was feeling right now. Her job was to reel herself in when escape thoughts started to play, and realize she needed closure on the specific event she had observed.
But even more, she needed to hear the reality from Ron. In all sincerity, he said he wasn’t interested in anyone else. He had committed to her after dating so many women he couldn’t count.
He said (and I wrote down):
I am not interested in an affair or leaving you.
I married you because you’re the one.
I want us to be as solid as Jeff Bridges and his wife.
Connie started to cry, having relayed seeing them at the airport last week and observing their nonverbal connection.
I instructed Ron to repeat what he had just said to Connie every day until it really sank in for her. He was not her philandering father who had strayed from her mom. Connie didn’t need to be suspicious. She needed to hear the reality from Ron and as well, remind herself of the truth over and over.
Tip: It’s so important to write down what you know but forget, like how much you love your spouse, or how much you need to keep working at your job because you need the money right now. Holding on to what is true and repeating it over and over to remind yourself, is a powerful antidote when all the doubts and emotions that can carry you away into torrents of murky waters. One of the things that happens when we are in the grip of fear is that we forget what’s true when we are clear.