Marital, Family or Individual Therapist serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana

Surrender Your Weapons!
Written By: Mark Smith

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'The BASICS for a Healthy Life and Marriage' Understanding the Basics of
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Indianapolis Marriage Counseling Information

Effective marital therapy begins and ends with the therapy couch being first and foremost a very safe place. Judgments, finger pointing, aggression, victim stances, shame, sarcasm, meanness, arrogance, defensiveness, interrupting, over talking, pettiness, hitting and reactivity must be uprooted and eliminated from the environment. I love it when that happens. This week a woman who is doing amazing work came in with tears in her eyes and remorse in her heart for engaging in many of the afore mentioned therapeutic no no's during her previous marital sessions. She then dug through a very lovely white purse, pulled out a wooden spoon, said it represented her critical behavior in sessions with her husband, hurled the spoon to the floor and promised him to not communicate that way anymore. Of course my responses were "cool, can I blog about this" and "I'm keeping the spoon".

Surrendering contraband weaponry - that's what I'm talking about! By that afternoon the confiscated spoon was hanging on my wall like some proud trophy or like the spoils of some horrific war. I'm thinking of making every single marital client I have surrender their metaphorical most dangerous psychological object of mass destruction to me early on in the process. Then my walls could be lined with machine-guns, grenades, knives, brass knuckles, nun-chucks and bombs of all types. How cool would that be!

Safe communication is everything. It saves marriages. It impacts generations to come. It builds bridges. It provides an opportunity for deep emotional healing. For most of my couples and I would dare say many couples in general it is near to impossible to pull off. Old wounds, thick emotional walls, easily pushed buttons, defensiveness, denial, blind spots, lack of skills, shallowness, fear, codependency, projection and reactivity all conspire to make vulnerable, sweet, connecting, intimate communication utterly and completely impossible.

That is what makes marital work with a truly gifted therapist so genuinely valuable. We create a safe environment where mutual respect, attentive listening, sensitivity, openness, empathy, compassion, kindness and heart felt relationship truths get communicated from one soul to another in truly beautiful ways. That beats the hell out of banging your head against a stone cold wall again and again while experiencing the awful loneliness of never being heard. What would you want your spouse to know about you if they could safely and tenderly be invited to meet your deepest most vulnerable self?

It is much easier to commit to safety and non-reactivity than it is to pull it off. Later that evening I got an email from my spoon surrendering codependent filled with deep hurt, despair, abandonment, edginess and some threatening spoon waving words due to some issues that went down in the session with her husband. In effect, due to her pain, she is being tempted to grab her spoon off my wall and go back to business as usual. She is hurting!

It happens. Shit happens. Deep wounds tend to engender distrust, reactivity and warfare. The best defense is a good offense. I believe this couple is going to ultimately survive and thrive. They just don't see the light at the end of the tunnel quite yet. It is all about being motivated to work on the person you see in the mirror every day because that person disturbs you. It is about having a malleable, teachable heart. It is about having a driving but never paralyzingly pain, being about to trust the enlightening cutting words of your therapist/prophet and then faithfully making time and energy for the work. If a therapist can disarm both you and your spouse, unearth your wounded little kids and then provide a safe place for deep connection because they courageously named your couple stuff accurately then yes, the title of marital therapy prophet of sorts absolutely fits.

Be safe. Put your weapons down. Pour your wounded little hearts out. Show each other lots of empathy and grace. Your marriage is a gift. It is ALL good!

Indianapolis Marriage Counseling Information

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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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