Marriage counselling has been a place of great learning, not just for my clients, but for me as a counsellor. It is not about what I think, and understand about marriage after years of education and training, but what I know, because of those couples who have been willing, and brave enough, to present the difficulties they are facing.
It is not easy to talk about the difficulties in a marriage. It is painful when we start facing the truths we are living with, both within ourselves and our marriage, and the reasons we stay. Despite not being valued, honoured, supported, and often being lied to, we can devote so much time, energy, and effort to someone who neither honours nor values us.
Does this mean a marriage is doomed and over? Not at all. It is important to acknowledge your marriage for what it has been, and still is. Take a moment, and focus on the experiences of joy and happiness which enhanced your connection with each other, such as your first date, your wedding day, the birth of your children, a treasured holiday, and any other moments when you felt united. Focus on the strengths of your marriage during the times of crisis, such as a work stress, unemployment, health issues, and family relationship stress.
Now ask yourself the following three questions, and answer truthfully. Who have you been in the marriage? What do you imagine it is like living with you? Who are you committed to becoming? Truthfully answering these questions are essential. You may find there are life experiences, such as a painful childhood, a previously failed marriage, and/ or years of resentment which still shows up. These can contribute to who you have been in your marriage, the impact on your partner, and who you’ve became.
Honesty is the lifeblood of any successful marriage. It cannot be based on infatuation, and the attraction to certain qualities alone. Mature love commands a deeper sense of who you are, and an understanding you will both grow, transition, and develop during your marriage together.
The two people who presented on your wedding day, made a commitment to love and honor each other. If this is no longer present in your marriage, it is time to answer the three (3) questions presented earlier honestly, and find out if your marriage can be a place worthy of you both.