Guest Blog By Soul Space Therapist, Ashlee Knapp, LAMFT
I love Jerry Seinfeld’s sense of humor. He has a hilarious New Yorker’s perspective on life, and having grown up in Connecticut as a New Yorker wannabe, I appreciated it. He has made a lot of jokes about real life issues. One of them is marriage. He said, “Marriage is like a game of chess except the board is flowing water, the pieces are made of smoke and no move you make will have any effect on the outcome.”
Relationships are difficult to navigate. We do our best for the people we love, but hard times come. Challenges enter a relationship—either suddenly, or as a collection of daily incidents. Have you woken up today feeling your relationship with the person you committed to love is causing pain, or is not what you had envisioned? Or is it feeling empty or at an emotional standstill?
Relationships can slip into unhealthy patterns of communication, instead creating patterns of hurt and anger. Deeply insecure relationships can form with the people we should feel most secured to. One of the most well-supported and effective approaches for couple’s therapy, focused on healing insecure relationships, is called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). This therapeutic approach helps couples rework unhealthy relationship patterns to be able safely work through the core issues in the relationship, simultaneously creating lasting change so that issues are truly resolved and much less likely to resurface.
A medieval French philosopher once wrote, “A good marriage would be between a blind woman and a deaf husband” (Michael de Montaigne). This is a perspective often mass produced by media through sitcoms and cartoons. But this is not the truth. A good marriage, or healthy relationship, is when both the husband and wife have open hearts that are turned toward each other.
If you and the person you are in the relationship with are both committed to change, to working on the relationship, then it does not have to be that way forever. There is hope in change. There is healing in change. Your relationship can change to be a source of love, dependability and trust, which will anchor you and your partner against the storms of life. Dr. Sue Johnson, a world renowned therapist and develop of EFT said, “Emotional dependency is not immature or pathological; it is our greatest strength” (Sue Johnson, The Love Secret: The revolutionary new science of romantic relationships).
So…sorry, Jerry. Although the board of marriage might be made of flowing water, and the pieces made of smoke, the moves do count. In a healthy relationship, partners do not try to defeat one another. To echo another famous saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Enjoy playing together and learn to play in healthy, effective ways.
I have worked with many couples with varying degrees of emotional distress and painful histories, and I am happy to be able to bring my unique perspective and experience to the Tucson area to help relationships that are in distress.
If your relationship has lost its way, there is hope and healing at Soul Space. Just give me a call and we will navigate the storms together.