Dr. Laura Berman is helping people make things a little spicier this episode. “Mix things up” is what Dr. Laura suggests. Robot mode, uninspired, and unresponsive…are some of the words we are hearing about this week’s brave couple. Kim, 40 and Jeff, 42, married 8 years from Lockport, Illinois.
Early in the relationship, Jeff would take the time to set the tone…and it’s a lot different today. Jeff’s mother was diagnosed with lung cancer…and as he was taking care of him mom, Kim felt like they were living separate lives. “All of him emotions went to her, and I was left behind,” says Kim. Jeff wishes Kim had been a little more connected with what he was going through. They are no longer connected as a couple…they both feel it. “Our relationship is not working,” Kim says. “I always have a bag packed. I don’t want to be a divorced parent, but I don’t want to be in an unhappy marriage.”
Dr. Laura arrives and starts working on getting the history down of the couple. Kim proclaims that she is a horrible communicator. “Communication means conflict,” Kim says. Planned sex happens twice a month….and a lack of emotion and very robotic is how they describe their sex lives. Kim’s withholding oral sex…and Jeff’s withholding kissing and cuddling. It’s been going on since Jeff’s mom passed away…and Jeff is still hurt by Kim not being there when his mom passed away. As they talk to Dr. Laura, it’s clear that some of these things have not been touched on before….there is a clear lack of connection…
One on one, Jeff tells Dr. Laura that he had to deal with his mom’s passing in isolation. He was dealing with everything…except the emotion. Jeff works hard to not show these emotions….and Dr. Laura thinks this is the vibe that Kim has been feeling. And Kim gets angry because she is not getting what she wants…but again, Dr. Laura points out, she’s not asking for it. “We’ve hit rock bottom…,” Kim says. She realized it when they didn’t talk for 3 weeks. But the unspoken anger between them does not have to ruin their marriage.
Dr. Laura gives them homework. Kiss your partner as you want to be kissed, and then ask each other for three things that you want or need. How did it go? With a little smile…they both think it went well. Intimacy and connection is what Dr. Laura was hoping to get re-started and it looks like it was successful. Dr. Laura outlines a pattern for dealing with communicating about feelings and emotions. The pattern is: What’s the feeling you are having? Then what is the thought behind the feeling? Then…what is it that you really want?
Next, Dr. Laura takes them to an outdoor climbing wall to build on communication and asking for what you need. Kim is going to be the climber…and Jeff will be communicating….but after a lot of communicating and even more struggling…they switch roles…and Jeff makes it up the wall…and maybe they have moved a little closer to each other…to depend on each other and feel each other’s support.
Dr. Laura sends them to dinner and dishes out the homework. She gives them a set of questions to go through…sounds like a little role playing…to take them back and to spice things up…and she adds to the homework, oral sex. Dr. Laura is helping them mix it up. “Try the fantasy box,” Dr. Laura suggests to one caller…and this homework is from the same box.
Surprise – dinner is at the same restaurant where Jeff proposed to Kim…the first question…is to redo your vows and take turns saying them…and then, they go into the role playing. How did it go? Smiling and laughing, they come into Dr. Laura’s office for the last day. The butterflies are back…more of a connection…it’s a lesson for any relationship… It’s really true when they say communication is key.
Thank you Dr. Laura…for not being afraid to help people “In the Bedroom…” and in their relationships. It’s so much more than sex…