Do you want to create relationships filled with joy and intimacy?If you’re presently in a dissatisfying relationship/marriage and want to turn it into one filled with joy and intimacy, read on.Does marriage counseling really help relationships get back on track, right a wrong or create forgiveness around betrayals? Or is it just a Blame Game or in my opinion, a Professional Threesome?I used to believe that marriage/couples counseling was the answer to a relationship that didn’t feel good anymore. And being truthful, I admit that at the time I believed that my partner was the one that needed the counseling. And, when I finally convinced him to go, usually presented as an ultimatum, he agreed reluctantly with the comment that I needed the talking to. And the Marriage Counselor? Well, he was the referee. You win some, you lose some. I mean that literally.If you’re in a relationship and struggling or thinking about divorce as an option, you may want to read on. And, if you’re not happy in your relationship and divorce is not an option, then you definitely want to read on.
If you want to save your marriage and even make it an extraordinary one, whatever you do, DON’T GO TO A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR and if you’re presently seeing one “KICK YOUR MARRIAGE COUNSELOR OUT OF YOUR BED!!!” NOW!!!!
I never realized in my previous relationships and marriages, how this third party would come so closely between us, like an uninvited guest that slept between us in bed, causing more friction and confusion than before seeking advice. In addition, all my relationships that engaged in counseling ended, rather abruptly and not amicably. And this isn’t just my experience. I hear the same from all my friends and many clients too. So am I blaming these counselors for the breakup of relationships? The answer is yes, partially. Let me explain.
The dynamic that is set up in counseling sessions is clearly not about harmony at all. In fact, sometimes me and my partner spent a rather peaceful time in the waiting room before our session only to experience strong opposition once leaving, usually angry and not talking at all. Sometimes, one of us was happy because the Counselor took our side or reprimanded our partner and we left feeling powerful and validated, which usually had us fight to get to as many sessions as we could, until we were the ones reprimanded later. Either way, it was always a win for one of us and a loss for the other. That is not harmony.
One particular counseling session stands out for me when I think back to the unprofessionalism displayed by the counselor and my reaction to him. Me and my husband reached out to a highly recommended New York City therapist who asked us why we were there. I told him that “we needed a vision for our relationship, a strong picture of a happy future together to work toward and that without that we were lost.” The therapist responded with a wave of his hand and said, “Let’s figure out if you want to stay together first and then we’ll worry about the vision.” I felt a strong jab in my gut when I heard that, but at the time I ignored my intuition and trusted the process. A big mistake.
Another therapist in New Jersey would start his sessions asking us what we wanted to talk about that day, after making it clear to him several times that we saw things very differently and needed guidance. In addition, he spent several sessions with us individually where he not only asked me constantly why I was staying in the marriage but encouraged me to leave. Really? After a couple of months with him, I told him and my husband that I was not coming back and didn’t, but by that time my husband was so convinced he could help us and gave me the ultimatum to go back or get out of the marriage. I got out.
Many others have shared with me that their individual therapists urged them to have their partners join in as a couple. This is probably the most dangerous of all scenarios, as the new party often resents this dynamic later on believing that their partner and the therapist gang up on them.
Years later, I look back and realize that with all good intentions, on all parts, even understanding that counselors are trained to approach therapy in ways I don’t believe work, it doesn’t make sense for two wounded people, with long histories firmly in place before ever meeting each other, will see eye to eye on many things. Trying to discuss it in a room together is futile, because it’s each individual that needs healing for oneself and once seeing the common denominator in all our relationships, OURSELVES, we can then begin the healing we need to effectively relate to each other.
So what does this mean for relationships?
We need to heal ourselves. Period.
Relationships don’t work because we’re too busy pointing our fingers at the other person and blaming them for the way we feel. This is futile and it will never be resolved. Each of us has to take responsibility for our thoughts, actions and behavior, and once we have the willingness and courage to look within ourselves as the problem as well as the solution, we will create the relationships we love. Bringing in a third party to act as referee for us as a couple just adds another person with their own wounded history pointing their fingers at us.
Our relationships should enhance our lives, not take away from them. And the good news is that most relationships can not only survive, but thrive with the right proven-effective insights and tools. We are always attracting relationships that mirror the way we feel about ourselves. If we create the shift within we will see the shift out there.
If you’re looking for support and want answers on to how to turn your dissatisfying relationship into an extraordinary one that enhances your life, then go to Lessonslearnedinlove.com and request a free 30-minute consultation. It is my pleasure to talk with you and promise you will find value in our conversation together.
May your relationships fill you with joy and love.