Therapy work is full of pain, saddness, and tears. Couples come in full of anger and resentment towards each other. They yell, they scream, they say hateful things. The problems in the marriage seem so complicated, the couple doesn’t even know where to start. It is like standing at the bottom of Mount Everest and looking up. Tears are shed and sadness emerges.
Yes it seems as though things will never be different when couples first start working on their marriage. The road is long, hard, and full of pain. For many, it is just too much. They feel as though they cannot cry another tear or fight another fight. They throw the white flag of either a divorce or a loveless roommate marriage. For each spouse to dig into their own past of pain, hurt, and issues is not easy. It is hard. It takes time, commitment, and heartache.
But yesterday I got to see the tears of victory. Yes, this couple will always be working on their own “stuff” and their couple “stuff” for a lifetime, but right now at this time and place they have more connection and are more real with one another than they have ever been. The tears come from a simple anniversary card not with the typical “I love you” or “You are my soulmate;” but with the realness of “You saved my life.” Those few words said, that all the horrible pain that this marriage held for each of them, had made them each whole people. The author of those simple words no longer had to live in a dark secret world of shame. He was free. And even after his wife saw all that was him, the good, the bad, and especially the ugly, she was with him. She saw the little boy inside of him, and here she sat. She had not gone anywhere.
Although these tears of joy are not seen often in my office, when they do fall it touches my heart. Two individuals forever changed. A marriage bond that is strong and nearly unbreakable. These two had it. They had the motivation and courage to change. Those tears are why I am here.