Carol and Dave are approaching retirement and are trying to figure out where to live. Their adult children are settling down and having kids themselves. The couple is trying to maximize time with their grandkids, but the grandkids live in different cities, making the decision where to live more complex.
On their own, they start their conversation by trying to persuade each other of each of their points of view, and the dialogue becomes combative. Eventually the conversation devolves into threats.
This is actually an exciting time in the lives of this couple, but they lost track of that joy, and came to couples counseling questioning whether they were going to stay together. In our last couples counseling session, they worked on having a respectful discussion, expressing their wants and needs. Dave said that they learned to stop drawing lines in the sand.
Richard Rein, Ph.D.