Revisiting our conversation from last week, and the weeks before (Challenge Weeks 1, 2 and 3) you can see how relationships get so muddled and just plain difficult! But whyyyy??

We all want love, right? And we all start relationships feeling passion, desire and anticipation for the next date, right? So why can’t we just keep that going?! It’s maddening!!! When something so fun, so exciting, so lovely gets lost and turns into something so distant, so routine and so cold over time….that’s HARD!

This week we’re taking a journey to the small, intimate moments that can build up over time to become the reliable, safe relationship foundation that we all seek. Those moments that feel special and rewarding when we’ve chosen to bear our truth, no matter if our voice is shaky. And we’re met by our partner with acceptance and love. This warmth shatters the fear and loneliness that otherwise begins to creep in to build  vast canyons of distance and disconnection.

When working with couples I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard, “What’s the big deal? It’s not like I’m cheating on you!” Or maybe worse, “Sometimes I just wish he would hit me, so then I had a good reason to leave.” In these heartbreaking tales we’re so overwhelmed, so desperate to get back to the love we once knew. Lost, without a map.

My response to these couples is this:

“This is HARD. It’s been hard for a long time. So hard, that you sometimes even wish you had a way out that was right in front of you. Which is why you’ve come to counseling. And if you’re both willing, I can help you find another way.”

This way I’m talking about isn’t easy at first either. It’s not a direct map to the treasure. But a slow and steady path toward repairing and healing. A safe time and place to revisit old wounds that continually cloud your present connection. There is no A+B=C formula, but there is a map of sorts.

And often there aren’t glaring relationship traumas such as abuse or violence….but instead what I call “a death by a thousand cuts.” Tiny, microscopic betrayals that leave us feeling alone and isolated in our hearts.

So we start small, we get practice trying out something that doesn’t feel quite so hard. And then we get really good at it. We gain momentum, and start to see something new emerge. The warmth returns, and the wounds repair. Your love surfaces again and in a deeper, more meaningful way. The words you’ve been saying for years can suddenly make sense in the eyes of your lover. And you feel an intimacy and longing for them you’ve feared was gone forever. You feel wanted, needed, loved. And all that HARD work, all the sudden was worth it.

Stacy Griffin, MEd, LPC-S