I asked him what his relationship was like with his wife now, and he reported it had gone down significantly on a scale from 0-10 with 0 being no relationship. I asked him about his relationship with God on the same scale. He reported that it had gone up several points since his confession. I asked him whether he intended to raise it further, and he answered affirmatively. I asked him why it wasn't higher.
Earlier this man had indicated that he did not think he could be happy himself until his wife was happy. I asked him what evidence he had for this belief, and little was brought forth.
I asked him whether God was doing all that he could to make the relationship with him a 10, and again he answered affirmatively. If God is perfect and doing all that he can, then why isn't the relationship better?
He identified that he was responsible for improving on his end. He described his bitterness towards God for putting him in this situation and the unfairness of it all.
I asked him if he thought his wife might feel the same way, and with some reluctance he admitted she probably did.
Essentially, by my questioning I was able to help this man identify with how his wife was feeling and thus create empathy. The man also realized how his belief that his wife must be happy before he could be happy was an unhealthy dependence. In other words he was making his wife responsible for his emotions. He was still upset and angry, but his awareness had increased significantly.
I think this is a good example of how we often want God to be responsible for our happiness and emotions, and how we tend to have parallel relationships with our relationship with God. The more we understand our relationship with God, the more we will understand our relationships with others, especially those most significant to us.