yerkovich200Today’s post is from 2013 Hearts at Home conference speakers Milan and Kay Yerkovich.

Their book How We Love was a game-changer in our marriage. Their focus is emotional health in marriage and their resources are changing marriages all over the world.

You can find the Yerkovich’s online at


Bill and Sandy had a quiet weekend for a change and instead of the usual hectic racing and chasing around, the kids were gone and they were alone. Without distractions, Bill’s mood took on a quiet and pensive tone. He didn’t say much to Sandy throughout the day and he really didn’t get much done either. Feeling melancholy, he just putzed around his home office, took a nap and did a couple of simple chores.

Observing this, Sandy’s agitation increased throughout the day. Her expectation of a kid free fun filled day with Bill was slowly slipping away. Her mind was trying to figure out why he was withdrawing from her. She took it personally and with each passing hour, the agitation turned into fear and eventually anger. When she could take it no longer, she picked a fight with Bill and accused him of purposely trying to hurt her by his behavior. “Are you having an affair?” “What are you hiding?” “When I walked around in a towel all morning you didn’t even look at me! Are you gay?”

In lifeguard terminology what just happened was a double drowning. Why? Because to Sandy, it wasn’t OK for Bill to not be OK. His emotional moodiness caused her to become emotionally dysregulated. Not only was she unable to keep her own head above the water, she had no capacity to reach out her hand and inquire about Bill’s quiet mood.

Had she been able to stay emotionally regulated as Bill’s demeanor grew darker, she might have been able to ask “I’ve noticed you are very quiet today and your energy seems low. Would you be willing to share with me what you are feeling?” Had she done that, the back story to Bill’s behavior might have emerged. On Friday, the company had announced there would be layoffs within the first quarter of the year. He was also waiting for some test results from the cardiologist. His father had died young from coronary disease and his own fifty eighth birthday was looming on the horizon. He’d been with the company for twenty five years… his reoccurring thought … “Who’s going to hire an old guy?”

How about you? Is it OK to not be OK in your marriage? Or are there frequent double drownings at your house?

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