This couple have a shared life, with a child and a mutual passion for theatre, but ultimately what they have not guarded is their emotional connection.
This happens to so many of us.
As a couple therapist, I found myself yelling at the screen, as a rabid hockey fan would at their losing team.
Both Nicole and Charlie’s statements would make up what we EFT folks call a Hold Me Tight conversation.
Regarding divorce, the movie got it right as to how the PROCESS of divorce, especially how the legal system, which in North America, at least, is an adversarial system of winners and losers, exacerbates emotional pain and works against the collaboration and closure that is in the interest of kids and their parents.
Do Charlie and Nicole still love each other? Of course they do. That is very clear, but they do not have what you need to keep and repair a bond.
We call it A.R.E., as in ARE you there for me? THIS is the key question in love relationships always. In numerous studies of bonding science and in EFT, we lay out the
that defines the security of the bond between lovers.
They have lost this emotional connection. Nicole rejects mediation because she has lost hope and lost her sense of trust in Charlie and their relationship. She sees him as obsessed with his career and almost indifferent to her needs and wants. She was also wounded his by having a sexual fling.
We don’t see exactly how the ARE in their relationship erodes, just the end result.
No one needs to just let the script of Marriage Story run its course any more. We can understand, shape, repair and hold onto love. After 30 years it still leaves me a little breathless each time I say this!
This is good news, not just on holidays that celebrate love, but every day. And as the Sondheim song at the end of the movie says, love is what makes us truly ALIVE!