Ships can list, rock and roll, take on water, take advantage of the wind, battle against the tides and get you to their destination or sink. The good old man and woman relation -ship is like that. Many relationships, whether married or de-facto, hit troubled times and when they do, they quite often can't sustain the pressures of what the 'sea' of life throws up. Some couples are deceived by the calm waters of the honeymoon stage and make no preparation for rougher times ahead. It might be helpful to note that relationships have their stages, some say seven, that couples will go through, I would like to say 'grow' through but that is not always the case. The stages start with the honeymoon stage that can last, with help, up to about a year. I can't stress enough, the importance of being able to sit down and talk in the early stages about what you want your relationship to look like. What values do you share? What time do you want to make sure you have for each other in the relationship? What are your expectations about children, mortgages, types of work, travel and dreams etc. Even though it might be hard, we need to pre-think about what sort of devices we will build in against violence in the relationship and whether there is a commitment to weather the storms that will inevitably come. I know this is hard, and for couples sitting before me anticipating marriage it is often beyond their ability to contemplate. However the rough seas will come so it makes sense to have the 'life jacket' and the 'flares' on board. Talking about flares, some have them in the ship but don't use them until it is almost too late. It might be important to engage mentors early in the relationship so you can travel in 'convey' with them. This could be a couple whom you respect and themselves have a strong relationship. You could go to each other's homes or go out together, but make sure there is a strong 'talk' factor present. It's easier to talk to someone who you already trust and have traveled with, than to try to engage a stranger. What about the wind and the tides? Well, some couples can take advantage of the buffeting of the wind to strengthen their relationships and they grow as a result of adversity, but some simply succumb quickly and sink. Others have battled tides for years and don't seem to learn that the strength of the current only runs through a certain part of the channel and by moving a little to port or starboard, they could get out of trouble. Talking therefore is vital for a healthy relationship and if you find that not working, seek out a 'pilot'.
If you would like to make contact, ring me on 0409 517273
Graeme Dawson Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Counsellor & Manager