For a couple of years, I was in a group of local women entrepreneurs that met monthly. We’d eat dinner and talk through some discussion questions. Slowly the group evolved more into friendship gatherings than intentional meetings and it was wonderful. One topic that came up a handful of times was Joan, a therapist one gal recommended over and over. Joan was a miracle worker of a therapist and a true confidant. She sounded like exactly what anyone would be looking for in a therapist. Unfortunately, Joan, as amazing as she might be, officed a solid 45 minutes away from where we live. Clearly, she was not our next marriage therapist.
As a true therapy believer, I was about as disappointed as I could possibly be, but my husband and I figured out a new way to therapy. We’d been before, and needed it badly. In our past years of therapy, we gained many tools on how to talk to each other (calmly is best, listening helps), how to work through big conflicts (screaming is a no, slamming doors is frowned upon). And really, more than anything, we learned how we each felt heard.
One night, already in bed, we realized we needed to have a tough conversation. I asked if he’d head downstairs with me and sit at the table to talk. I have no idea why I suggested it, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I lit a candle, put on peaceful music and hoped for the best.
And a new kind of therapy was born.
That tough conversation was met with listening ears. The table as our mediator, music setting a calm space and the candle providing light in a dark season provided us the environment we needed to be able to therapy on our own. A conversation that anywhere else would have been heard and said differently was had composed and polite. Where in the past, we’d lay in bed next to each other in the dark, assuming each other’s responses and reacting to imaginary feelings, at the table, we looked at each other, listened to each other, and thoughtfully responded.
Now, whenever we can, when we’re facing either a tough topic or we know we have to find a compromise on something we don’t agree on, we turn Enya’s A Day Without Rain on Amazon Music and meet each other across the table. We listen and I usually cry at some point. We end up leaving the table in some sort of agreement, either in an understanding of each other or in a compromise between our two positions.
Enya is our marriage therapist and she’s worked wonders. I’d be willing to bet that along with our table and our growing maturity, she’s about as good as any Joan out there.