A few years ago I sat on the couch in her office feeling lost, afraid and dying on the inside. He had reached out to her in an attempt to fix our marriage. We had sat on that couch together every couple of weeks for almost a year. We had made some progress but today he was done. He did not like her analysis of him and his way of doing things. He was adamant that the counseling was not working and that we would not be returning for another session.
I just sat there in silence. I was devastated. For the first time in my marriage I had found someone who listened and understood my pain. She offered me hope that there could be change in our relationship. But now he was taking that away. I didn't know what to do.
I will never forget her turning to me and telling me that she would be happy to start seeing me alone and helping me work through my own personal struggles. I felt hopeful and wanted to say "Yes, please" right then and there. But I was afraid to voice that desire. I was afraid to make that choice for myself. All I could do in that moment was shake my head and softly say, "OK" as she handed me her card.
I don't remember what we talked about or if we even talked on the drive home from her office that day. I was lost in my own thoughts of what if I decided to go see her. I wondered how he would react and if it was ok for me to see her alone. People saw marriage counselors to help them have better marriages. But what good would my seeing her alone do? I convinced myself that I'd be fine and we'd just figure it out and make it work.
About a month later, we had an argument about something. I don't even remember what it was about. All I remember was this feeling of invalidation and fear and hurt. I was so tired of feeling that way and I knew that it was time for a change.
I found the courage to pick up the phone and make my very first counseling appointment for me. And I am so thankful for that 30 seconds of courage. It began a growth process in me that gave me back my voice, my value and my peace.
We have discussed parenting struggles, relationship hurdles and personal goals. She has let me vent and then let me vent some more. We have laughed together and cried together. She has prayed for me, over me and with me. Throughout every session she has always pointed me to my relationship with God and how my daily choices should reflect that. She encouraged me to set boundaries and to use my voice again.
I am so grateful that we had a foundation together before the events of this year sent me in a tailspin. She has been such a vital part of my support system as I have navigated the overwhelming emotions of betrayal and anger and devastation. We have come a long way together.
However, today I learned that she will be leaving the practice to pursue another opportunity. I am so excited for this new adventure for her but I will definitely miss our meetings together. She has been such a lifeline for me this year. So now I am left with a choice. Do I begin a new relationship with another counselor in the practice or do I navigate my way through this life on my own?
It is something I will definitely be praying about over the next couple of weeks while I wait for my final appointment with her.