When my co-author, Sally, and I first decided to write books together, we imagined a trilogy. The first would be a book on friendship, the second would be a book about kids (both published by FaithWalk in 2005/6) and the final book (that never got written) was supposed to be about marriage.
Pondering the last project in the series, we bantered back and forth via phone:
“I’m not sure I have much to say about marriage. Sally, this book needs to wait until we’re old and grey and we have more wisdom on the subject.”
I’m pretty sure she was lounging in front of her fireplace during this conversation, crunching on homemade kettle corn, because she kept apologizing for munching loudly in my ear.
“Cher, collectively, we’ve been married for thirty years. That’s valuable life experience. I know we have something to say about relationships: the unexpected gifts, the wrenching disappointments, the mystery of it all!”
How ironic that in lieu of writing that book, and now 22 years into my own marriage, I’m pursuing a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Now, I listen to other people’s relationship stories. And I love it. Most couples are focused on what’s not working when they first come in, but it’s rewarding to discover what is working, and to help people find creative ways to partner.
Thanks for the privilege of working with you for the past year, and for teaching me that:
- Conflict is inevitable, and everyone has a different way of dealing with it. Whether your style is more animated and feisty, or reserved and methodical, the question is: do you have the skills needed to effectively problem solve?
- Relationships are as unique and varied as the rows and rows of paint swatches at Home Depot. I mean, how many yellows can there be? You simply need a shared vision of how you’re going to work and play together to create the changes that you need.
- Relationships can be challenging, so why not have some fun along the way? I like to dig in and help you work on the tough stuff, but I also like to laugh. I’ve learned to balance “heavy” sessions with “lighter” sessions to encourage perspective.
Remember, it’s never too early to reach out for support! Think of it as an opportunity to write another chapter in that relationship book that is yours and yours alone. What will the title of that new chapter be?
Cheri Mueller, Marriage and Family Therapy Intern