HOW IMPORTANT IS COUNSELING?

Seeing a counselor or a therapist appears to be the in thing in today’s society. Everytime you see or hear an actor being interviewed, even comedians, they are seeing someone. It’s like if you don’t have a Droid phone you’re not with the system; man!

I’ve been told marriage counselors are so busy they have a waiting list to get in; like seeing a medical specialists.

They were available but I don’t think as much in demand when I first married; we learned to talk to each other about our problems and worked them out the best we could. Divorces was not as popular as they are now.

All was not rosy in the Calio household at first; I married late in life, age 31, to a widow with two young kids. I thought at my age I was mature and knew all about married life; WRONG.

Those who knew my bride in her later years will be shocked to know when we first married she was shy and timid; her emotions were not words but actions, like slamming pots, etc.  She would never tell you what was bothering her; just like a tornado, it came and went and it was over.

Not being the sharpest tack in the box it only took me about a dozen years to figure something was wrong. By that time we had five children; I did finally figure out what was causing that problem; told you I was slow, but apparently not everything was going as well as I thought.

So I finally got her to open up; it was like Niagara Falls; words kept flowing from her pretty lips. Apparently things were being done too much my way and I was not asking my partner what she wanted out of life; it was where I thought we should go and when.

After we told each other what our faults were, we agreed neither of us were perfect, but our love was strong enough that we decided that we needed to get past that and move on. The slamming stopped and their was peace in the valley. We found a sign which hung in our kitchen for years that said, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. That was a good sign. I figured life was too short to sweat the small stuff.

The reason for me hanging out our dirty laundry is not to discuss our life, but to make a point; that point being married couples don’t talk to each other enough, in my opinion. Many couples are busy doing their own thing as I was, and forget the romance in their marriage, like even setting aside a day a week for a ‘date night’.

Even with 5 kids at home, we paid a baby sitter even though money was tight back then for us, and went out for dinner ocassionally and just talked. Love evolves many changes during a marriage; at first it’s physical with fireworks; as they kinda start to fizzle out, you need other ways to keep the flames going, whether it be a hug, a tender kiss, an “I love you”, doing some chores to help your partner, doing things together not apart.

Don’t mean to indicate you need to be glued together; each needs their own space. Trouble  with most couples today there is too much space. I have always believed in talking out problems, although some times I dreaded going into those conversations with people, I always came out of a discussion not always pleased with the results, but I always had a better understanding of the other person’s concerns.

But I don’t downplay the need for counseling; some people feel a third-party is needed and some times the results are great and rewarding, sometimes nothing works. And if a therapist does it for you and you have emotional problems by all means see one. There is a lot more of that today too compared to my day. My how the world has changed.

I feel sorry for couples who have a miserable marriage or life; it must be hell living like that. You put in so much and wish for so much just to see one day your dream is gone.  Do we expect too much from our partners, our jobs, or did we have too much growing up and want too much too fast?

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7 thoughts on “HOW IMPORTANT IS COUNSELING?

  1. Frank, you are fortunate that you have had good friends and family to share and work out your emotional issues; or even better yet you haven’t had any that were overwhelming. People are moving so fast, going in many directions, working several jobs, just to keep all of the balls in the air. This exacts a toll on people, especially when all of your friends or people you know are struggling to survive, who do you talk to? Who is there to listen to you, without judgment, who is there for you at least one hour a week to give you undivided attention? It is very sad that we have to pay $100 or more an hour for something that best friends use to be able to do. It is the same reason that community service organizations are dying. The people who use to volunteer were not working so hard to survive.

    Stop and think about the number of young people in high school in the last four months who felt so alone, isolated, depressed, unhappy and felt they had no one to turn to. I do not know their specific situations, however, where were their parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents? I would venture a good guess that they were struggling to keep their families together, working, caring for their own parents or family members; the squeaky wheel gets the attention. Children are supposed to be moody, emotional etc. when they are going puberty and how many parents think or say, “it’s just a stage; they will grow out of it”. Parents are the last ones to know when their children are in pain, if they are not involved in their lives. I know so many students, who are 18-25, with one or two children, working two jobs and going to school fulltime. So many do not see their children until 8 p.m. when they feed them, help them with their homework, and get them bathed and in bed by 11.
    So many of these young women will say they had a baby, just so someone would love them; and being young and feeling invincible they can’t imagine the stress of raising babies without their education first and good paying jobs. They think the love for their baby and their babies love for them is all they need to be good parents.
    My mother had three friends when I was growing up in New York and none of these women worked, they spent all their time with their children, several hours a day solving the world’s problems and their own (they realized they were doing the latter), sitting around a table drinking coffee. That coffee time, spilling your feelings, sharing your fears, and the knowledge that they have support in each other during a crisis helped their marriage, their children, and renew themselves for the next day. When we came home from school our homes were filled with the smell of food cooking for dinner, the washing machine churning, the house was alive. How many homes today are alive with family smells, sights, and sounds? It does not have to be the wife; it could be the husband, or a relative. There was a movement in the late 1950s and 1960s when women were first going out to work, their second job to being housewife/mother, where families in a community would form collectives and one or two of the mothers would be “home” for the children of the other members who worked. The plan was to change roles after a year or six months, and the stay-at home mom would go out to work and the other mom or moms would be the stay-at-home mom. She was paid for being the community mom. The women maintained their close friendships and were second moms to their coop moms’ children.
    This is a very long response, but the need for counseling, or friends, to share fears, joys, and challenges is important for human beings to maintain healthy lives. It is very important for women, who are 90 percent feeling and showing and talking about their emotions. It is a sad commentary to pay for a professional friend, when being a best friend is priceless.
    I believe people do not have time for being friends, because being a friend takes effort. I know several people who boast that they do not have friends, because they do not have time to be a friend back. Do they need counseling?
    Frank, you have a large family and probably some of you may think that at times there is too much family, when you do; remember the six or seven children who committed suicide in the last four months. Whatever family they did have was not paying close enough attention to see that they were in trouble. Best friends would have known, that is what best friends do.

    • Rhonda very well thought out and published; a lot of truth in what you have written.. I appreciate your feed back. I guess I have been very fortunate. You’e right things have changed, we are moving too fast, indeed those coffee breaks were a good thing. Thanks sooo much for sharing your comments and thoughts. I’m sure my readers will appreciate, and many identify with your comments.

  2. I probably would not be a strong advocate for counseling, but would much rather see a person try counseling rather than perscribed medications that are so prevalent today. When my first marriage ended, I was required to take a divorcing parent class which was basically a group counseling session. I was the only male in the class with seven females who at that point in their life hated men. Although that wasn’t the most ideal situation, I was more at odds with the fact that the counselor was a divorcee with no children of his own. To this day that still makes absolutely no sense to me.

  3. Frank- I think this may be my favorite of your posts and a beautiful story. You are a smart guy, a nice person and you obviously have some insights into human nature. Unfortunately, not everyone does, and if counseling can help the quality of a person’s life, then it is worth the money, time and energy it takes. Some folks just need the proverbial smack ( metaphorically speaking) upside the head to see outside their own little view of the world. Cop out? Maybe. Is it too bad that people need an outsider to guide them through personal issues–perhaps. But we were not all dealt the same mental, intellectual or emotional deck of cards. So, in my book, if counseling has the result of helping a man, woman or child through life, then good for them.
    You should journal more of your life story like this blog, it is a glimpse into a time that I am afraid is disappearing.

    • Linda your reply was most touching, appreciated and as usual well thought out and presented. I will incorporate your suggestion into the book my bride asked me to write about our life so the kids and future generations can have.

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