As couples we have an astounding capacity to cope with the stress in our marriages. Many seem to hang in there while their emotional pain feels unbearable. It’s not always apparent that the chronic stress in their marriage is taking it’s toll. For their own reasons they endure. It’s also difficult to recognize that there comes a time when asking for help is the wisest action to take.
The analogy of hiking companions and having a guide.
What if they already know that by taking this alternate and guided road their journey will not necessarily be an easy one because they will be putting in effort along the way. They realize that they got to their crossroad by repeatedly stumbling, falling, bruising and getting scratched. Before this they’ve used band-aids, even first-aid. They have learned some valuable things about hiking together. They understand that they must be tenacious and resilient. Staying the course is what you do when you are hiking together.
Companion hikers are aware that couples therapy is a road less traveled and that their guide-therapist will be guiding them on a road that is not familiar. They’ve decided not to be with the 50% of first-time married couples who stay on their old familiar route, reach an impasse that they don’t know how to navigate and arrive at a dead-end.
What if these companion hikers decide to commit to staying with the other 50% who don’t try to tough it out on their own or quit, but choose to ask for the help of a guide-therapist and find out how to become the companion hikers they were meant to be? What if they took the guided road with hopeful views and commitment instead of enduring or giving up.
Yes, calling the guide-therapist is a major decision. They know about feeling uncomfortable doing unfamiliar things. Maybe feeling like it’s one of the toughest risks to take. One of the most risky decisions because they do not like asking for help, especially directions. At the same time, they have experience doing risk-assessments and making affirmative decisions without a 100% confidence of making the right decision.
What if they believed that they could benefit from hiking this guided road and be grateful when they reached their destination?
What if as companion hikers they truly believe that they want to stay their course and their essential motivation for asking the guide-therapist is because they want their hiking experiences to be satisfying and meaningful and are willing to be guided down a road that’s new. They believe that on a deeper level both of them have a significant purpose.
My marriage therapy is with couples who bravely agree with me that when they decided to marry they meant to stay the course while discovering along the way that as hiking companions their lives would be happier and more fulfilled. Now, at their cross-road they can decide what their next move is going to be.
David J. Hodgson, MFT