Can This Marriage Be Saved?

One of my favorite quotes: "Hope begins in the dark"


In my opinion, hope is one of the most significant things that a therapist can offer. Nowhere is this more obvious than in couples' counseling. By the time a couple has come in my door, they have been locked in a painful dance for a long time. Each interaction taking its toll, chipping away at their marriage and their selves.

It's been my experience, that couples know very well what is wrong with their marriage and their partner. They (better than anyone) know the ways in which they hurt one another. They know all the reasons their marriage is "doomed". They can give a detailed account in fact.

And yes, that is valuable information. And yes, it is important for a therapist to know all of it. How do you cure an illness you don't yet understand? So I see value in learning the ins and outs of the couple's past experiences. Their tally of hurts. The many ways that they each have wounded the other.

But then what?

What comes next?

I dare say, that is what couples come to counseling for. They are stuck on the "now what" part. The painful dance keeps playing over and over and they can't seem to get over, under or around it. To me, that is what hope is about.

Hope isn't a trite word... a ridiculous idealized version of reality. Hope doesn't substitute for the here and now. Hope doesn't undo the pain, or fix the problem. But (in a word) hope is fuel. Without hope, there is no motivation to try. No motivation to "show up" emotionally or otherwise.

Hope is the idea that things can be different. Not the guarantee that they will.

But what a powerful substance it is: hope.

In favor of hope,

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