Format of Questions for an Alternative Version of  Problem’s Relationship to a Couple’s Relationship.

David Epston


1) Were you brought in to this Relationship by Love? Or was it something else like you wanted someone to wash your dirty laundry and prepare meals for you?  Or was it something like you wanted children and thought he would provide solid genetic material?

2) What was Love’s version of him/her in the first place?  Or were you blinded by Love to him/her in the first place? In spite of those matters that are besetting your Relationship, how much of Love’s version of him/her still lives on for you in your everyday life? in your heat’s longings? in your dreams for the future of your Relationship?

3) Has s/he ever been able to convince you of Love’s version of her/him in this Relationship of yours?  Or could Love’s version not endure once you married?  after the honeymoon?  after you had the children?  Did s/he convince you of Love’s version of her/him by word or by deed?  Which of the two do you find more convincing?  Or do you prefer them ‘mixed’ up in ‘acts of love/partnership’ or whatever you want to call them?

4) What has the Problem tried to ‘talk you into’ (is ‘trying talk you into’) about him/her? How is that version of him/her different from Love’s version of him/her? Which version do you prefer to relate to him/her according to?

5) Have you ever been able to contest the Problem’s version of her/him? Did this support Love’s version of him/her at the same time? Did this renew Love’s version of him/her at the same time? Did s/he do so in any ways different than the ways you had in the honeymoon of your relationship?

6) Now that this Relationship of yours has become troubled/problematic/in peril ,etc, what is your relationship to the Relationship of yours? Is it becoming more determined?  Is it waxing and waning?  Or what? What has become of Love’s version of each other in these troubling circumstances?  at this time? Has Love’s version of him/her become past history and fond memories?  Or has Love’s version been injured by x(the trouble) but is now on the mend? Or is it terminal and now more a matter for hospice care than aggressive treatment?  Are you more hopeful/determined than ever to breath new life into Love’s version of him/her?  Or are you settled on the Problem’s versions of him/her and want to leave it at that?

7) When you were maddened by Love, would you have believed it possible(conceivable) that such a Problem(s) could have done so much damage to Love’s version of him/her?  And substituted its version of him/her for Love’s version? Do you marvel at this?  Or is this a cause for despair? 8) Do you now consider you were betrayed/deluded/deceived by Love’s version of him/her?  Is making a Relationship that endures more than a matter of Love?  What else would you now include in your formula for a Relationship in which Love will not only endure but be augmented?

copyright david epston 1995