How is marriage like golf? They both can make us extremely frustrated. And both have many moments when we are ready to quit.
Any sport offers challenge and relief from our daily demands and stresses. When we engage in a sport, it is so absorbing that we forget about our other demands. Sports also offer us social interactions with friends and often lots of enjoyable conversation and laughs.
What our sports activities don’t provide for us are meaningful, sustaining relationships. Relationships which may make us want to pull our hair out at times, but at other times nurture and support us. We seek the encouragement and sustenance our relationships offer. We seek the constancy, familiarity and comfort our relationships offer.
So then, where can we turn when this relationship turns upside down and takes more from us than it returns?
One of the first things I ask a couple upon meeting them is: What was special about this person? Of all the people you dated, why did you choose to continue dating him/her?
What I learn about is the elements of their chemistry between them. She might say,” He always made me feel better. He would talk to me and cheer me up with his great humor.” Or he might say,” She was always so comfortable with my friends. I am sort of shy and she always jumped right into the conversations.”
I believe that the chemistry is always there. It just gets pushed to the back by the demands of life and the ups and downs we experience. Sometimes these hurdles make couples more distant so that they lose sight of their strengths.
Part of the excitement I feel when working with a couple is learning about these strengths and helping them re-focus on them. When I can teach them new problem-solving skills, and better communication skills, they can begin to sort through unresolved conflicts and past hurts. Then the chemistry begins to reappear. I see them look at one another again. I watch them laugh at an inside joke which only they understand. I help them rekindle that original flame as the positive energy between them increases.
As they become more playful, I encourage them to engage in fun activities, whether that would be golf, or another activity or hobby. I feel so lucky to be part of such a rewarding process.