Counselling

Three a crowd?

So it was a competition ‘the worlds strongest man’.  The guys were flexing their muscles and doing their thing when this man came up.  He had the muscles and the mindset.  He was going to lift up this weight no matter what and he gave it all he had until snap!! His bone gave way!!  This was a physically impossible task for him!!  This is the way a pastor described Depression in one of his messages.  A stress that causes your mind to snap!!  When it is just more than your mind can handle. Sometimes your partner’s mind cannot also handle and there may be a need of some outside influence.
However marriage can be a secretive place – this is not necessarily a bad thing.  Without trying to, we could find that we  are keeping everything to ourselves; good or bad – especially bad.The fact that marriage is a secretive place is why it can be very difficult to reach out for help until its breakdown is almost irreversible.  Many couples wait until things have gone beyond the point of no return before they reach out for help – to save themselves from the impact sometimes; not so much the marriage. Someone was preaching a while ago and he said something along the lines of ‘there are some situations you cannot save (e.g. some marriages); pray all you want etc.  He lamented the fact that some couples would put on a ‘good face’  day to day then suddenly and drop by to church on their way to court (to divorce) and he wondered why they would not seek the church or their mentors in church earlier.
I believe one of the reasons for this secrecy is; that when the issue involves someone we love and respect; we instinctively shy away from opening up as we know that we don’t have complete ownership of information hence many couples run info past their other halves before sharing. However, one of the ways you can tell when a relationship is over is how willing the players are to tell on one another; subjectively, objectively, whatever, positive things mostly negative things
 I remember being at a meeting where the leader wanted to relate an incident that happened in his home.He said , ‘sorry, I have not yet discussed with my wife” (looking at her apologetically) but …..(he went on in not a great detail).This earned my reputation.
I for one am very reluctant to open up because i don’t want the person I confide in to think any less of me and my partner.  Could it be an issue of trust or could it be pride? Knowing that there would be situations that  may need to be escalated, I believe couples need to discuss how to go about seeking help  during pre-marital counselling. Unfortunately my husband and I did not have any single pre-marital counselling session with anyone  due to logistics .Before hand, there should be an agreement of who the “ go to” person/people should be (family can be biased), a neutral party might be best but must be someone the couple  respect.
But the decision to  seek help should not be taken lightly and it is important that there should be some form of qualification/training  for those who we should seek help from. The people should be trained up to a point because not everyone can properly handle the unburdening of another’s emotions
.Another matter that may need discussing is if the counselling in these situations should always have both parties present at all times. This in itself has its own advantages and disadvantages.     Being both present to talk about issues to each other’s hearing can help to  avoid the ‘what exactly did you say’ situation leaving each other feeling very vulnerable. However in the absence of a partner, one can easily express un-necessary emotions, especially negative emotions . Can the counsellors recognise when they hear raw emotion and guide you so you don’t go over the edge or do they get caught up in it? This can leave the hearer, the subject and yourself feeling a bit wounded and could lead to an issue in itself.  The subject might even feel exposed and also feel like trust has been broken which makes life more difficult and adds another battle; to regain trust. 
But exposing oneself to a counsellor can leave one feeling vulnerable.  How do we feel when people we talk to end up thinking things are worse than we have said and begin to treat us different because of  what they know.  Little wonder people just try to work things out by themselves. These are just my thoughts and I sometimes wonder if  other people have the same feeling as I do.
You need to know what to do when you reach breaking point but before you are broken.  There are times (maybe not so many) that you need to reach out in order to survive, to succeed and not be hindered by what someone else may think.
As I listened to Joel Osteen (well know preacher) earlier this year defending his position in the wake of flooding in Texas (the media getting overworked about how his church was not helping – I wont go into it at this time), he said something along the lines of ‘I will do the right thing and not worry about my reputation, I will leave my reputation for God to take care of’.  It made me to think that in order to be counselled, you both have to agree not to let your reputation be your stumbling block.  Allow God to take care of you and your reputation as you concentrate on being hewn into the person God wants you to be.
May the Lord help us to step out of the place of secrecy and reach out to the right person by the powder of the Holy Spirit.  Not everyone; not just anyone but that someone/persons you (hopefully) have in your lives whose intervention you agree to accept.My aunt was having a rough time in her marriage and went to the pastor for a 1 on 1 session (sometimes you have to do it alone). Unfortunately for her it was world cup season and she had a keen football fan for a pastor and when they wrapped up, he could not wait to get her out the door (it seemed to her), did not walk her to her car as he was accustomed. She was out the door and he was rushing off to the TV. That was not what really got to her. What got to her was when he discussed the problems in her household in church (albeit codedly) during his Sunday message (this time she was in church with her husband….) in a manner that was upsetting. They left the church.
Have you had any marriage/premarital counselling?  What was your experience like?  What are some of the most helpful nuggets you have received?  Have you gone without?  Any regrets?  I would love to know.  Please share.
Thank You,
Zippy

Dishusbandmata……passionate about relationships

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2 Comments

  • Soar like The Eagle

    Thank you for sharing. First and foremost this should be agreed before marriage what to do when situations like these arise. Most people opt to sort it out themselves but life has shown there are situations beyond ‘sorting out ourselves’
    I like what the writer said about counsellors getting training. They should be objective and unbiased The root problems should be attacked and not sway to back up the side showing so much emotions. Dealing with the root issues could help solve the emotional distress.

    I have had to see a Pastor about some issues. His advice: I should be grateful to be where I am. Some people want to be where I am and cope with whatever distress. He states” you have a husband when others have none, you have children , you have a job. He doesn’t cheat nor beat you. What is your problem?

    Emotional distress is real

  • flourish

    Sometimes it does seem like the counselling is concentrated pre-wedding after which people are just left alone and that in itself is dangerous,better still i have always advocated another 6 to 12 months post wedding working alongside with the couple as they now try to put to practice all they have learnt prefarably with the team that worked with them pre-wedding.
    Thank you once again Zippy for sharing .

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