Pass Her the Kleenex Already!

Posted on February 26, 2019


Therapists always have tissue in the room.  When you sort of make people cry for a living you need to have it within the client’s reach.  One thing I often observe with couples is the situation wherein the wife starts to cry and the Kleenex is sitting on the other side of the husband.  I am thinking, “Please, please pass her the Kleenex.”  If I can catch his eye without pulling away from what is happening for her, I might even point to it.  If I can’t get him to do it, then I will get up and hand it to her myself, but there is a lost opportunity when that happens.

Reaching over and handing her the Kleenex says, “I see what is happening with you and I care.  I am here for you.”  That simple action communicates empathy and attunement, both of which are really healing in a marriage.

One of us needs to do it.  If it falls to me, all she knows is that the therapist is attuned to her experience.  Husbands, if you do it, she feels loved and cared for by you.  Guess which experience is more likely to save you money on therapy or attorneys.

It isn’t about the Kleenex.  It’s about making your wife feel cared for by you.

I always tell clients that my job is to work my way out of a job with them.  When you can do for yourselves what I do for you in therapy, you don’t need me anymore.  So do it.  Pass her the Kleenex already.