At one point in the session I stopped them and said something along the lines of how easy it is for me to sit where I am sitting and to see things clearly, and that if I were in their shoes I'd be getting into fights with my wife too.
Pressing Pause when things heat up
We agreed that when this happens that they will try to use a code word or phrase that means that they need to take a break. We also agreed that they will reconvene within 24 hours no matter what, even if they need more time to process.
This is really hard to do when one or both members of the couple are feeling triggered. In a recent instance, she needed a break and he wanted to keep going, so he was frustrated when they took a pause, but they did reconvene within the hour and worked through it.
It's messy and that's okay!
We even had to press pause a couple of times ourselves during the session because their son kept coming in. This is a video session we are conducting from opposite sides of the world and a 15-hour time difference.
I start earlier in the morning than I normally do and they stay up later at night than they normally do. We have never even met in person. It's pretty incredible that all of this can happen, technology-wise, time-wise, and relationship-wise. Imagine if a busy couple like this had to spend the extra time commuting to and from an office to meet in person. It most likely wouldn't be able to happen.
I love that I get to do this kind of work with people from different parts of the world with such different circumstances on the surface, but it's really all the same stuff underneath. Learning how to press pause before the fight escalates is a valuable skill for all couples, regardless of their nationality, background, and life circumstance.