Editor's note: This article was originally published on Tim Parson's blog. It has been republished here with permission.
About 10 years ago, my wife talked me into attending a counseling session with her. Leading up to this I was against going and it took a lot for me to walk in the door and go see a counselor. At the time, our marriage was not great … it was ok, just not great. There were some things that Consuela said we needed to work on and counseling was the only way she could see us moving forward. So I went…
And then, I stopped going. I hated it. It was awful. A waste of time and money. And here's why I hated marriage counseling:
I had things to hide
Truth be told, I wasn't living my life in a way that honored God or my wife. I was doing things that I shouldn't be doing and I wasn't proud of the man that I was. I had skeletons that could fill an entire walk-in closet. I knew deep down that if I went to counseling, these things could potentially come out and then everyone would know the "real" me and they would not accept me.
I thought the counselor and my wife were going to gang up on me
Even worse, our counselor was a woman. I was outnumbered and I just knew that it was going to be 2 against 1. Besides, they had been meeting previously and I knew the counselor had all kinds of ammo against me. It was going to be a gotcha game and I didn't want any part of it. I had convinced myself that they only wanted me there so they could confirm all of the bad things that they already believed about me.
I didn't really want things to change
If I were being honest, I knew that if things were going to change, I would have to change. I was going to have to change some addictions that I held onto. I was going to have to change the way I treated my wife. I was going to have to change the way I lived my life. And, that seemed too painful to even consider. I was "fine" living the way I was – mostly because I couldn't imagine that things could ever be better or different. Because of this, I wanted things to stay the same because I had built up a life that I had grown comfortable in.
I was selfish
I was more concerned about how I would be affected versus how we could be healed. The life I was living was all about me – whatever made ME happy, whatever satisfied MY needs, whatever I wanted to do. I was wrapped up in ME and I wasn't worried about US. And, because I had things to hide, it was more important to me that those things were kept secret than we take steps toward healing and reconciliation in our marriage. My happiness trumped our oneness.
I said things like: "I don't need help, and even if I did, I could fix it myself." and "I don't need a map and I don't need someone else telling me how to be a good husband." I knew better than anyone else how to "fix" my marriage and I didn't need some outsider prying into my life. I had it all figured out and I didn't need any help.
Because of those things, I walked away … and things got worse in our marriage, much worse. Now that our marriage is better, I am able to point back and say that one of the biggest reasons why is because of the counseling that I and we went through. That's right … I went back a couple of years later. And it saved my marriage.
What's the one thing that's holding you back from getting the help you most need right now – in your marriage, with your kids, in your family?
Tim is a talented speaker, writer and coach who has worked in various industries including hospitality, retail, higher education and the non-profit sector. He is currently a pastor and has a heart to help people lead better: at work and at home. Tim is married to the love of his life, Consuela, and they have 4 children.