A counseling session with Jim and Sue.

A quarrelsome young newly wed couple walk in:

“We are broke, doc. We spent $50 per hour on marriage counseling at another clinic and the relationship is not getting better.

“What’s the problem?”

“I want Jim to go back to school, but he thinks he is not smart enough.”

“I am not ambitious, Sue, I like working in a gas station.”

“You come home late at night and you are not nice to me.”

“You don’t like to have sex like before.”

“I am not in the mood because your mother is critical of me.”

“My mom visits every day because she likes to help us.”


Jim and Sue had no money. How could I help  eliminate the hostility between them in one session? Technically, they needed a contingency management plan for the relationship, but that would take months. I told Jim and Sue that they would get free counseling for a month if all the explanations of what is happening between them are expressed only as facts on the ground. The following week in counseling:

“Jim works at a gas station. He comes home at 12 midnight, wakes me up and starts kissing and fondling.”

“So?” Jim says.

“I feel resentful.”

The next evening Jim comes home at 10 PM and surprises Sue with a red rose and a smile. They make love.

The ability of couples to create a meaningful instant relationship (MIR) is rare because the idea to convert “explanations” into “descriptions” and “interpretations” into “facts on the ground” does not occur to most couples. Now it will! You will save money! Enjoy!


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