Hard-Truths About Marriage
Updated: Feb 13, 2019
Interviewer: In addition to your work in Shamanism, I know you’ve spent 35 yrs counseling couples, what is the big mistake you see happen in most marriages?
Greg: A couple’s innocence to how much codependency is part of the marriage. Codependency has 5 very strong muscles: avoidance, minimizing,
denial, delusion, adjusting. Couples will use these innocently to not see clearly what’s really going in the relationship.
Interviewer: Why do they do that?
Greg: Two reasons: The big one of course is to avoid seeing what the real state of the relationship is, because then they are afraid they really shouldn't be married. The second one is the lack of confidence that they can navigate through conflicts with grace and kindness and with resolution.
Interviewer: What’s the answer?
Greg: First, really absorbing what I just described and knowing you're innocent in this blindness. Second, find a counselor who is about education and not giving you a space to scream at each other or some kind of talk therapy.
Next to Shamanism, Couples’ work is the deepest area of my fluency. I always tell potential couples on the phone that I am really more of a couples’ teacher than a counselor. Perhaps, that’s why my success rate (80%) is high. I don’t take the deep dive into the all the details or “he said-she said” of the marriage/relationship. I use examples that are flowing up naturally in the session as a way to illuminate what I call it a “couples’ principle.” For example: you are 100% responsible for how you experience your partner. I find if I keep it light and exploratory in couples sessions, they will really hear something deeper. I found out a few years ago, that traditional couples therapists in North America have a 10% success rate in saving marriages. That just blows my mind.
What I talk about in the Interview Dialogue above is a big issue that seems to be coming up more and more in my practice. The innocent blindness to what’s really happening in the marriage. I’ve had many twenty and thirty year marriages in my office who have no idea they are communicating in a unhealthy way – they are truly innocent to it. Snipping at each other, light abusive, attack-defend, etc. have become normal. But it’s very hard for them to see it because to expose the truth, might be the end of the marriage and that can be very scary for folks. Like I said find a counselor who is about education or call me! I am sure at some point I am going to write about my long-term work with Couples.
Gregory Drambour is the owner of Sedona Sacred Journeys and considered one of the top Couples Counselors in North America. He is the author of three books on practical spirituality.