Competing Spouses

When the Dolans, a Christian couple, came to see me, they had not spoken to each other for several weeks. The tension had become unbearable.

The issue was over dancing in gym class. Hal Dolan had said flatly that their son should not participate.

Melissa Dolan had agreed in front of her husband, but privately gave their son permission to participate. Hal found out about it through a conversation with a neighbor who had visited the gym class. [Read more…]

Consistency

Marilyn and Charles had been having trouble for several years. The trouble was not fights or noisy arguments, but playing cat-and-mouse over Marilyn’s changing moods.

The couple would plan to go to a Sunday school class party or a family gathering, but Marilyn would beg off at the last minute. She just wasn’t up to socializing. Charles would feel sorry for her, change the evening’s plans and stay home. After several weeks of staying home, he would become blue. Then she would feel guilty for causing him to give up his social life and she would start going out. But he knew she was doing it just for him, so he would feel guilty and stay home more. It was a vicious circle, actually a battle of wills, his versus hers. [Read more…]

When Independence is Bad

When Independence is BadViola Walker was far from an avid angler, but she did go fishing with her husband, Louis, several times after they were married. Then, after three trips to the same trout stream and enduring her husband’s complaints that she scared the fish away, Viola gave up the fishing business.

Viola’s interest was community projects and current events. She became deeply involved in these activities. Then, after one fishing trip, Louis talked about a “genuine fisherwoman” who had been in their crowd, and Viola felt a pang of jealousy. And she was hurt when he said he couldn’t stay home to watch her debate the new expressway route on television because he was meeting his fishing friends, including “Lady Walton.” [Read more…]

Great Expectations

Great ExpectationsTodd Turner was in trouble: for the third time, his wife had threatened to leave him, and this time she meant it. And all over a dog—or so Todd said.

Todd was away from home much of the time and had bought Tracy a dog for company before the birth of their first child. After the baby’s arrival, Todd wanted to get rid of the dog.

“If the dog goes, I go, too,” Tracy warned.

“All right, go ahead,” he told her.

And so they separated. [Read more…]

The Need for Respect

The Need for Respect“I’ll post those receipts the way you say to, Ken, but Mr. Roland never had me do them that way,” said Margaret Lowe to her husband in their insurance office.

“Mr. Roland … it’s always ‘Mr. Roland did this’ or ‘Mr. Roland didn’t do that'” he snapped.

“Don’t forget, Ken,” Margaret said, “Mr. Roland was successful enough to sell out at 50 and move to Florida.”

“And when I’m 65, I’ll still be struggling to complete the down payment on the business. You might as well add that,” he growled.

For ten years, Margaret had admired Mr. Roland’s keen business sense. When Kenneth Lowe joined Mr. Roland’s sales force, Margaret thought she saw the same qualities in the new employee and she accepted his proposal of marriage after a rather hurried courtship. Then in those first few months of living together, she found she didn’t know Ken as well as she had thought. [Read more…]