During the pre-wedding counseling, most counselors will tell the couple that they should do their best to resolve whatever issues they have between them as a couple. Since the two of them have become one, there is no need for anyone else to hear about their problems. Also, whoever they may be sharing their issues with may have issues themselves which they haven’t spoken about.
Plus, not everyone they speak to has their best interests at heart. Couples are therefore encouraged to keep their secrets secret and sadly, often, a culture of non-disclosure and dying in silence is built. Couple that with the belief that anyone (read woman) who cannot keep her family has failed in life and you have a recipe for disaster and most marriages which could have been a success have failed.
I am not an advocate for blabbing about the deficiencies of one’s mate or irrational comparisons that some people indulge in. Certainly there are issues that couples can draw on their own experiences to resolve. The ideal would be that couples always resolve issues for themselves. Sadly, we hardly ever have the ideal.
The truth is that more and more people are entering marriage without being aware of the emotional requirements of living together with another person; without some awareness of how mentally tasking it is to sometimes having to literally figure out what is wrong with the other person who probably is unaware themselves of what is wrong with them. Many enter marriage unprepared.
When people in this category begin to have problems in marriage, the advice to resolve issues for themselves is not the best. What this advice simply does is to put everyone in the same state of maturity before marriage and therefore telling them that they can go it on their own. This is simply not true. Couples often need help to stay together and when issues arise, the sooner they get help the easier it is for them to resolve their problems and continue staying together. It is my theory that if more couples talk about their issues with third parties the rate of divorce will drop.
The question however is: who do they talk to?
The answer in one sentence is: couples should talk to someone who is neutral and independent minded enough to not take sides with one party or the other when trying to resolve their issues. Did I just see you mentally cross out family and most friends? Good move! Truth is that most family members do not have what it takes to help a couple resolve their issues. They are hardly ever neutral. They will take the side of their son or daughter so that at the end of the day, if your aim is really to resolve the issue, your family should be the last to hear about it.
As for ‘friends’, you should be even more careful with those. This is where you want to talk to a friend who has proved over time that they have your genuine interest at heart. It is for this reason that I often encourage couples to make mutual friends. You cannot really afford to have different sets of friends because what this ultimately means is that when issues arise you may not be able to sit down with any one friend to talk about it. If you also read this article here
https://anabagail.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/lagos-marriage-and-the-importance-of-background-checks/ you will understand that this is one reason why I do not encourage what I have termed “Lagos Marriage”.
Some have chosen to talk to their religious leaders. Again there is need for caution, be sure that the person you are running to for refuge knows how to guard his tongue. It will be such a shame for you to go pour out your heart to someone only to be used as the subject for a sermon the next week with half of the church already aware of your issues before you begin to resolve them.
I think the time has come for us to have dedicated marriage counselors. Presently, I think these units are often attached to the church or other religious group. With more and more people losing faith in churches, I think it is time that this unit be separated from the church.
I know it might be cool to say God is punishing people who have left the church with failed marriages but note that even people within the church are also challenged and most of them will rather speak to an independent party than to their “pastor”. And then what about couples who worship differently?
We really need to break the silence. The wedding is just one day, marriage lasts a lifetime. I personally have reservations about people who say they would rather maintain total silence over their marital woes. Sometimes, all it takes is someone outside of the couple to have a heart to heart with each so as to resolve the issues they face.
Talking to a third party often provides the clarity needed to see issues from a different perspective and acknowledge one’s deficiencies instead of the two going through an endless circle of blame trading which.ultimately resolves nothing.
So, what do you think? Wouldn’t it be better if we made room for a third party when necessary?