The Evaluation and Treatment of Marital Conflict: A Four-Stage Approach

By Philip J. Guerin Jr.; Leo F. Fay et al. | Go to book overview

7
The Treatment of Stage I

COUPLES in stage I are for the most part still in the beginnings of the relationship. The partners trust each other and, when tension appears or arguments arise, they are able to discuss what has happened. They feel safe and comfortable with one another and are often still cradled in a loving cocoon--the two of them against the world. Time, circumstances, illness, confusion, disappointment, betrayal, and the like are often still seen as things that happen to other people but will never erode their relationship if they can just stay on top of things and solve problems as soon as they happen. Marriage at this stage is more like an affair than a working relationship. It is a process of fresh discovery. There is no accumulation of hurt from earlier conflicts to impede progress.

Our experience with stage I couples has been through marriage enrichment courses sponsored by local churches, civic groups, libraries, and schools and through our own Family Systems Training courses offered at CFL. These experiences have led us to the conclusion that for these couples a psychoeducational program, with or without four to six sessions of

____________________
The authors wish to acknowledge gratefully the assistance of Eileen G. Pendagast in the writing of this chapter.

-168-

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