“Sometimes our light goes out but it is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” – Albert Schweitzer
For a therapist like myself the greatest reward is knowing that you have helped people live better fuller, satisfying lives.
This week I had a call that was as rewarding as it gets.
Over thirty-five years ago a doctor and his wife came to me for counseling. He was mid-forties and a gentleman from the word go. She was pretty and vivacious. They had three daughters.
The marriage was exhibiting problems and they were both willing to work on them. Good start.
I saw them together, took histories of their growing up, former relationships, and the marriage.
From the start I had the feeling he was the more sensitive one and the one more capable of giving and receiving love. She seemed more shallow and self-centered and materialistic. Her ideas of happiness were superficial.
I asked to see them separately and after a month or so it became clear he was becoming more aware of what his needs were and that she could not deliver emotionally.
While we therapists can guide, and present the options and have people look at and explore and test out all areas we NEVER give an opinion as to what a client should do.
Being a mature and intelligent insightful man, he decided he wanted to end the marriage.
Now that decision is one of the bravest any person makes. Especially when there are children involved. In this case the children were in their twenties, not infants.
Making a decision to end a marriage or intense relationship takes all the courage in the world.
This is true no matter what; children, money, job, moving, family, friends and so on all make it hard or easier.
However, when the pain outweighs the pleasure and you see that this may be for the rest of your life, you should listen to your heart.
It is good if you have family to discuss the issues, or a good friend can help, and a professional will be unbiased and present the options. This decision should never be done in haste or anger but only after time and thoughtful consideration. The new life may not be what you thought it would be. Caution is the word!
Once the decision is made there is a new opportunity for a relationship that will better meet your needs. There is a line in a song that says, “As long as I know how to love I will survive.”
That is ABSOLUTELY the case. Love will find you, I promise!!!
Do not waste your life or live it without passion. It takes learning and a relationship that ends is a fine teacher if you pay attention. None of us are perfect or the best partners all the time BUT we can be the best overall for the ONE we truly love and have the desire for. It’s whose feet you want next to you in that bed every night that counts in the long run.
So back to my doctor.
He met a woman a bit older than him and they married. She had been widowed for a while and had two children. While she was a bit of a plain Jane she had what he needed.
What he called to tell me was that now, at about eighty, he had a terminal illness but he did not want to leave this earth without telling me how grateful he was for my helping him decide and giving him the confidence and hope for something better. He is married thirty years and so very happy. I had met her after they married and they were truly bound together and joyful.
His illness will be dealt with in a beautiful way as a result of the intimacy that they share.
What a lovely ending, sad in some way that it is an ending, but as we both said together, not everyone is brave to do what he did and live so lovingly for all those years. I was deeply touched.
Unhappiness and stress are the killers in this life and only love really matters in the end.
“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”-Rabindranath Tagore