"Dear Michael": A Fictitious Letter Addressing Family Trust


"Dear Michael":  A Fictitious Letter Addressing Family Trust
In my teaching we often use celebrity situations to examine why marriages and family life fail.....

Yes, the world thinks that I am in the hospital because I need my meds for bi-polar illness regulated, and that is true.  But I am finally recognizing the stress of living with one who can show such insensitivity toward those he has said he loves.

Please don't expect me home anytime soon.  You have the gift of good looks, and you are an excellent and charismatic actor.  But, as a husband to be trusted to safeguard the deeply personal parts of our life together, you have a great deal to learn.  I plan to stay away while you decide if you are ready to grow up, respect marital intimacy, and regard family members as more than photo and TV ops to promote the way you want others to think of you.

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Remember that this letter is fictitious, presented for teaching and learning only.  Using this public interview to learn from,  following are relevant questions for thought and discussion about marital trust and success in family living:

 1.  How do you feel about Catherine's reaction to Michael's interview?

 2.  Are there some conversations about one's life involving a partner that should never take place?  If so, does Michael's interview fall into this category?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

 3.  Does this interview violate marital trust?  If so, how?

 4.  Think of your life experience and what you have seen and learned.  When one acts as Michael has, could there be reasons for this thoughtlessness?  If so, what could they be?  Could he be trying in some way to pick a fight or get back at his wife for something?  If so, are there wiser ways to make a point and deal with disappointment and anger, rather than acting it out?

 5. Have you seen difficult problems in a marriage discussed and resolved?

 6.  Is forgiveness always possible?  Please share reasons for your response and examples.

 7.  Should Catherine leave Michael?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

 8.  Can extreme thoughtlessness be one way that a partner can provoke the other to leave?  Have you seen examples of this?  If so, what are they?

 9.  What other issues may be a "back story" to Michael's interview?  Can he be angry about other things?  If so, do you have any ideas about what?  

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10.  Can there be healing after this kind of experience in a marriage?  If so, how can it occur?  If not, why not?   


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Article contributed by
Advanced Member

SaraKay Smullens


I look forward to your thoughts and sharing with you.

To be continued,

SaraKay Smullens, MSW, BCD, LCSW, ACSW, CFLE, CGP 

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Credentials: BCD, MSW
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