By Alan & Autumn Ray (USA)

Marriage coaching is niche coaching in that the client is really the relationship.  It is more complicated than individual coaching because it involves an intimate relationship where misunderstandings push emotional hot buttons and make effective communication much more difficult.  Effective marriage coaches are both relationship/communication educators as well as traditional coaches.  Let’s take a look at how quickly communication can breakdown in a marriage.

The Issue

It has been a long, hard day for Rick and it is good to be home at last.  He walks in the door and exclaims, “What a day. I’m starving.  What’s for dinner?”

Jane is tired and frazzled.  Two-year-old Mikey has been fussy all day and Jane is surprised that Rick is home so early.  She looks at the clock and mutters to herself, “Where did the day go?”

Not seeing Jane in the kitchen or hearing a cheery “Welcome home!” Rick asks louder, “What’s for dinner?”  Jane yells down the hall from the baby’s room, “I’m changing Mikey’s diaper.”

Rick yells back, “That’s not what I asked!  What’s for dinner?”  Jane yells, “I don’t know.  Can’t you find something for yourself?”

Rick yells, “I’m always finding something for myself.  I’m sick and tired of finding ‘something for myself.’  I wish you would get it together.”

Mikey begins crying as Jane finishes changing his diaper.  She picks him up trying to comfort him and starts down the hall.  “Rick, I just hate it when you come home and start demanding dinner.  You are always upsetting little Mikey with your yelling and . . .”

Before Jane can finish, Rick cuts her off. “I was not yelling, I simply asked, ‘What’s for dinner’ and you started making excuses about . . .”

Now it’s Jane’s turn to cut Rick off.  “Excuses?Excuses?  You have some nerve to call my taking care of Mikey an excuse for not having your dinner waiting for you the moment you walk in the door.  I can’t take this anymore,” and the conversation continues to spiral down.

Source: iCN Issue 7 (Relationship Coaching); pages 30-32

About Alan and Autumn Ray

Alan and Autumn Ray were married in 1970 and are the founding directors of MarriageTeam, a 501(c) (3) non-profit dedicated to empowering couples for winning marriages.  MarriageTeam trains Christian coach couples and places pre-marital and married couples with coaches for 6 to 12 weeks of skill building and coaching.  Alan has a Master of Science in Counseling and Human Development and Autumn has a Bachelor of Science in General Studies with Social Work emphasis.  They co-authored Rick and Jane Learn to Listen and Talk that illustrates how marriage coaches help couples learn and apply improved communication skills and have all but completed the second book in the series, Rick and Jane Learn to Conquer Anger, which is scheduled to be released in the fall.  Together they are a certified Marriage Enrichment leader couple, Seminar Directors for PREPARE/ENRICH, and skilled trainers.  Alan and Autumn have two children and a grandson.  You can contact them at