Go To Section 7
Section 6. Now the interview bridges into the issue of distrust and how couples can go beyond it. (22:34 — 33:36) Frank gently reflects (28:14) “I guess both of you can wonder who is playing tricks here?” gesturing perhaps it could be God or fate. Despite Frank’s unexpressed skepticism about lightning striking twice, the time for Kim’s possible disclosure is not now, so he conveys respect by leaving the mystery unsolved. Instead he invokes the story of another couple who survived an unexpected pregnancy with the husband remaining loyal, and going beyond his initial distrust when the wife made a strong gesture of solidarity to her partner and their relationship. Again, Frank was not prescribing a solution, but merely indicating that others had found a way to go beyond distrust. Kim then went on to give examples of John ultimately affirming her needs when she presented them in a non-threatening manner (see Gottman’s research on the value of a soft start-up).
The discussion returned to the issue of arguments becoming quite heated verbally and Kim’s not wanting the children to be upset. Here he likely made an error in not asking Kim directly about whether the fights ever got to the level of physical violence, to ensure that issues of safety were properly addressed. In their debriefing session with the studio audience, Frank said he was picking up on Kim’s non-verbal responses that physical abuse was not an issue. Kim confirmed this, but Frank admitted that this assumption led him to gloss over a potentially threatening situation, a therapeutic error.