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Gift Certificates For Marriage Counseling?

Nov 29, 2007
Marriage counseling is a big decision. So is deciding how to tell your family.

Being a typical male, John suggested telling them that marriage is like a car and counseling is like maintenance. Being a typical female, I worried family members would think our warranty had expired and we were going to look for new models.

Because marital problems are often explained by "taking two to tango", I suggested telling family that counseling is like dancing lessons. John vetoed this. Just mentioning dancing lessons was bad for our marriage.

Finally we decided to compare marriage to a marathon. Sometimes you experience a runner's high, sometimes you hit the wall; but you're already in the race before you realize you need a trainer.

Although John and I didn't care if our trainer was a man or a woman, we wanted him or her to be married. Graduate degrees are nice; but we wanted someone with hands-on experience - as in hands on a joint checking account.

Our someone was Dr. Hughes, who happened to be in the same building as our optometrist. I thought that was a good sign. If all else failed, new glasses might help us see our mistakes.

Dr. Hughes helped John and me through our first appointment by asking us to make lists of changes we'd like in our relationship. What a surprise! My list was mostly changes for John to make and just about every item on John's list started with the words "I want Knight to".

One of the things John wanted me to do was go to the beach. I thought I could do that. I bought two chairs, an umbrella, a bigger cooler and some new beach towels - but we never went to the beach. My being willing to go was enough for John to cross that item off his list. It was enough for me to cross an item off my list too. John hadn't complained about what I'd bought.

Four months of therapy was like our water stop and now the marathon continues. Not all marathons, however, are made in heaven. In fact, mine was made locally and delivered to my front door. A mutual friend brought John to my house to meet my older sister. Two years later John realized it had been love at first sight. Hmmm. Maybe we hadn't needed a therapist. Maybe we'd needed a Seeing Eye dog.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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