Marriage counselling, some see it wider as I do – relationship counselling – is subset of family therapy. Have you heard the saying ‘Life is fragile, handle with prayer’? Referring to how fragile it is, it’s no less true of marriage as a primary relationship in our lives. Of course marriage counselling, all counselling, is not necessarily about ‘fixing.’ It can be about growth, being proactive, even greater intimacy.
Yet count yourself lucky if your boat of a marriage relationship has not been rocked maybe to the point of being ship wrecked. Those whose boats are rocked are only now potentially at the starting point of understanding that this kind of relationship needs intent. And take care, because autopilot is also not likely to work for the next relationship. Then why not just get this one right.
It really can work for you, but you have to work [for] it, both of you. You see, I’ve been there. And I’ve failed. I will gladly share my story (not now, but I could and with love from friends I have). All these stories have this in common: It takes two to get boat out of the harbor. I mean, in most Western societies marriage is not something done to you. People set out to open waters together. Still one person can be among the most knowledgeable or skillful sailors in the world (but in-spite of your PhD in family therapy), yet that person is not keeping the boat afloat by him or herself. That’s a given.
I think it’s because I’ve been on ship wreck island that marriage counselling (well, everything to do with families) occupies a special place in my heart. Consider whether you want to go to a marriage counsellor who couldn’t do the undoable and keep the boat on the water – at least alone. Or consider that there are a number sailors whose made it through the white squall broken vessel and all (See also the film), to tell the story as it were. Some of these sailors who share similar stories than mine won’t be doing what I’m doing anymore. They feel ashamed. That’s a great loss. And then there are those who take courage, who in-spite of their own story, who in collaboration with you act as interpretive guides, who works the stars, braces the cold of night and try rekindle and nurture the warmth beyond the fight.
These kinds of boats (all relationships) are notoriously fragile but it could be the greatest adventure of your life. Keep it safe, and if you can’t and it has to go, then there are better ways to do that also. But who knows. Hope surprises.