08 Jul Marriage and Family Counseling: A GREAT Idea!
Several months ago, one of the researcher’s at my husband’s company dumped at least a dozen expired chemicals down the drain and left for the day. A couple of hours later, as other employees left, they heard the fire alarm but just thought it was a drill or a false alarm. One employee, a volunteer fire fighter, investigated and discovered that that particular mix of chemicals, while expired, had worked together to cause a chemical fire. He was the only one out of a dozen people who took the alarm seriously. Had he not investigated, the fire would have raged out of control until it set fire to hydrogen tanks which were only a few feet away. The result, according to the fire department, would have been the annihilation of an entire city block.
Why do I share this story? When we are in a family or a marriage, we may see or hear certain signs or warnings which indicate that the family or the marriage is in trouble. Some of these problems are minor. Others problems, if left unaided, become more and more critical with time. If family members are smart, they seek help. Others ignore the problems, and only when things are (figuratively) ready to blow do they recognize that there is a problem. By then, it’s usually too late. Too much damage has been done.
Several years ago, my own family went through a difficult time. I was viewed by one of my teenage children as the tyrannical enforcer of authority, my husband as the liberator of the victims of the tyrannical enforcer. There was so much contention every day for several weeks, that I welcomed the end of the day, and dreaded the beginning of the next. Several times I went to a place in my home where I knew no one could hear me, and sobbed. I didn’t know what to do, I just knew I was miserable. Out of desperation, my husband spoke with a friend who knew of an outstanding family counselor. Our counselor spoke with our daughter alone, and then had her wait while he spoke with us.
For me, my relationship with my daughter and my husband was strained. The hardship I was encountering with my daughter had collaterally affected my relationship with my husband. Our counselor was very frank, and gave my husband and me much needed tools to communicate with our daughter and each other more effectively. Things did not improve that day, but over time with the help of these tools and continued counseling, things improved enough that life in our home was better and much more pleasant. It required a lot of work, but it was worth it. Figuratively speaking, it was like we had been communicating as a family with Morse code, until our counselor taught us how to speak. Once we began using the tools for communication that he suggested, we had no desire to go back to the way we were doing things before.
The point is, if you are seeing or hearing warning signs in your family and they are not going away but persist, DO something about it. Take action. Get help. There is no shame in that. To do nothing would be to stand back and watch everything that matters most (your marriage and your family), be destroyed.