Flash: Marriage Therapy Session 1


Greta greeted her next set of patients personally in order to calm them. The barriers usually required for psychiatric work became problematic during the beginning stages of couple therapy. Particularly sex therapy, her specialty. Later she would draw back behind the curtains of formality. Finding the balance between allowing people to open up and keeping people at a distance was difficult but necessary. Her goal was always to have the couple bond with each other and not have her consciously or unconsciously part of the relationship.

After introducing Wyatt and Liza Donnelly to her secretary, Greta led the couple to her office. She drew them away from the business desk, which they had automatically chosen to approach, to the small conversation area, where a couple of chairs and a sofa existed. She held back to see how they would sit.

Some couples chose to sit together on the sofa, used to providing a false image of marital bliss to those outside the relationship. Those were the easiest to heal. Pretending to be in love required many of the emotional reactions of being in love. Other couples had one in a chair and one on the coach, leaving her the chair on the opposite end. These couples usually could be saved; they did not want a stranger between them.

Greta frowned as the couple took the chairs on the opposite ends of the area, leaving her the center. Still the couple cared enough to contact her Internet site and arrange for therapy. Reluctantly she took the sofa position, unwilling to tower over the Donnellys during the initial interview.

The husband was dressed in a four-piece black suit. From his patent leather shoes, to the cut of his vest, his clothes spoke money and ease with it. His expensive haircut accented his cheekbones and blue eyes. The woman had an unfortunately loud yellow turtleneck sweater teamed with grey slacks, which combined completely engulfed her body. Her brown hair was pulled back in a messy bun, and her thick framed glasses hid her eyes. All her clothes could have been bought at Walmart.

Picking up her pen and pad from the coffee table, Greta smiled at the couple, turning her head to encompass both. Liza eyes dropped to her hands, while Wyatt’s met hers with frank appraisal.

“Thank you for coming by. This is the initial interview, to establish exactly where your relationship is and where you want it to be.” Greta watched as the couple relaxed, their expectations of the session being met. Now was the time to make them uncomfortable. “So let’s start with the easiest. How did you meet?”

Liza peaked over her glasses at her husband. Wyatt responded without even looking at her. “At my company. Donnelly Enterprises hired Security Tech specialists to upgrade our computer system, Liza installed the product.”

“How long ago was this?”

Wyatt shifted to take up more space in the chair, turning to completely face the doctor. “About a year ago.”

“348 days, 5 hours.” Liza whispered to her hands.

Greta blinked. “Well, that is fairly specific.”

Wyatt chuckled low. “My Liza is like that. Specific.” Liza smiled at her hands from the complement, but Greta had not missed the look Wyatt had shot his wife when she had corrected him.

“Liza, how long have you been married?”

“346 days and, um – no need to adjust for daylight savings … but two hour difference to Las Vegas time – 14 hours.”

“So you too eloped?” Greta had turned her body to face Liza, watching Wyatt out of the corner of her eye. The video cameras facing each piece of furniture would reveal even more later. Her thoroughness forced her to take less clients, but her success rate was the highest in the business. Since Greta charged appropriately, her cliental ran on the rich side.

“She was the smartest, most beautiful woman I had ever met. I wasn’t going to let her get away.” Wyatt explained, pulling attention back to himself. “It was Friday, and I had an appointment in Nevada on Sunday. I asked her to come with me to get to know her better, promised her separate rooms.”

Liza smiled shyly, raising her head. “We never did use them.”

“After the flight out Saturday morning on my private plane, we spent the day walking, talking, and rolling the dice, and eating and drinking and getting along like we were made for each other. Sometime that night we found a Justice of the Peace.”

Greta scratched notes. Not because she needed to, but because people felt more comfortable when she did. “Excellent, so you have been married less than a year. What are the problems you are experiencing?”

“Liza doesn’t want me.”

Liza’s head snapped up. “No, no. It isn’t that I don’t love you. Just since I …”

Her voice tapered off and neither of the couple filled the void. Unusual during the first interview. Usually accusations fly – he wants sex too much, she cheated on me, he won’t give me oral, she put on weight and won’t lose it so she is attractive, oh like you haven’t tucked it on too.

Finally, after the clock ticked off five minutes, Greta prodded, “Since what?”

Wyatt for the first time didn’t meet Greta’s eyes, instead his eyes drifted to the side. “Since she lost the baby.”

Greta picked up the emphasis Wyatt applied to ‘she’. She repeated back the answer, slightly differently. “Since the two of you lost the baby?”

Liza, with her hands knotted in her lap with white knuckles showing, nodded . Wyatt’s eyes snapped to Greta face, and growled, “Yes, since the two of us lost the baby.”

Wyatt’s hands gripped his chair. “He was four months along.”

Sometimes Greta hated her job. Wounds had to be ripped open to remove the poison. “And how long ago was the miscarriage?”

Liza did not provide her accurate time. After a minute wait, Wyatt replied, “Seven months.”

Dealing with a miscarriage less than five months into a relationship, many couples involved far longer, who had history of how to deal with issues and problems, could not handle that.

“And what do the two of you want to do with your marriage? What is the goal of these sessions?”

Wyatt shifted in his thousand dollar suit, while keeping his attention on Greta. “To heal. I want my marriage to heal.”

“Then you need to get up and hold your wife.” Greta directed.

“Why?” Wyatt looked confused.

“Because she is crying.”

Wyatt finally turned his attention to his wife. Liza had pulled her feet up onto the chair and was sobbing with her face buried in her knees. He whispered, “But she never cries.”

(words 1,121; first published 9/18/2013; republished new blog format 9/16/2018)