I spent the afternoon preparing for the men’s group. It seemed strange, after the mammoth sessions we had in Sicily, that this session only lasted for five hours. The focal point was Earl. His wife had expressed concern about returning home after Sicily, and he was angry and upset and all too ready to throw in the towel. He could not see that the fact his wife was actually telling him how she felt meant that she loves him and she wants things to work.
It took great effort on the part of all the men to share with him their stories of how they had not taken similar opportunities to listen to their wives. In fact, this evening many of those men realised for the first time that, on all those occasions when their wives and girlfriends had expressed desperation, they were actually trying to communicate something very important. In all cases the men had reacted the same way as Earl was doing now and all the relationships suffered as a result.
We all urged Earl to calm down, see the benefit and the gift of his wife’s communication, and to work through his issues with us – with other men. That is the only way he will ever be able to have any understanding of what his wife is saying to him, and the only chance he has of working through the issues she has. To react with anger, pain and frustration will only lead to a break-up and, ultimately, Earl’s third divorce. He has a chance to change his pattern and, more importantly, he has the support of the whole group to help him succeed.