All too often, I find that new clients sitting across from me on the couch are gazing longingly through the balcony door at the view. Their marriages are crashing around them, just like the waves are crashing along the ocean shore. These couples are wishing for a different life, and you may be wishing that as well.
While therapy doesn’t have to be the last resort, or the ultimatum, oftentimes couples are on the brink of separation or worse before they seek professional help. Their relationship has become a battleground, a constant thorn in the side. Gone are the days of laughter, passion, and great sex.
Now, circular arguments, resentments, and even hatred are the norm. Life partners have become glorified roommates, communicating only in terms of necessities. Instead of working as a team, these couples are caught up in the ‘who’s doing what & when’, because any routine chore is better tackled alone, away from the critical eye of the other.
But, look below the surface of petty jabs and you will find two wounded hearts. A pair of individuals who once loved each other enough to make the ultimate commitment, jaded by years of unmet needs. Needs that may or may not have been expressed. Needs that fell by the wayside as work, kids, and fill-in-the-blank became the priority.
So, here you are, at a crossroads of sorts. You know you’re miserable. You don’t think you can take one more day pretending you enjoy the company of your spouse in front of the in-laws. You’re secretly planning your escape or, even worse, threatening to leave in front of the kids.
Yes, you’re considering divorce. BUT…have you considered the alternative? Change. Happiness. A marriage healed. Therapy.
If you think it’s beyond repair, that your marriage is too broken to be put back together, please reconsider. In my years as a therapist I’ve seen a lot, and in my professional opinion, barring extreme cases of abuse, nearly any issue is possible to overcome. Hope still exists. IF, and only if, you are willing to do the work. Willing to look inside, gain some perspective, change, and most importantly, extend the grace you expect from your other half.
You see, that couch with the view of the ocean waves, is meant to be a safe haven to address all the hurts that have built up over time. It’s meant to be an avenue for constructive conversation, facilitated by a professional with the best interest of the union in mind. Therapy is the productive and beneficial alternative to that costly, destructive divorce that, if your relationship was the best it could possibly be, you really wouldn’t even want.
Yes, the commitment to work on your marriage is tough to make, especially if you’re not sure your partner would even be on board. But I challenge you to ask yourself, isn’t it worth it? Aren’t you worth it? If you were truly being honest, I bet the answer would be yes.
Just remember what those waves outside can accomplish, they refine even the coarsest sand. All relationships need refining, and this may be your season to start the process. So, whether it is today, tomorrow, or even next month, I hope you will take the time to invest. Invest in your relationship. Invest in your future. Invest in yourself. And, if you decide I am a good fit for you, I will be honored to walk alongside you through this journey of change. Hope to see you soon.