I come from a family which was broken in many ways. My parents had a turbulent relationship and separated, and there were many undercurrents of fear and anger in their relationship which were not openly discussed and dealt with properly. Ever since I attended psychotherapy in my 20s, I have become much more aware of the interpersonal issues that affect families and relationships.
Society in the UK is badly broken. I am concerned for the children who will grow up in our country, seeing as there are so many societal problems stemming from children growing up in unhealthy environments. I wouldn’t want any child to have to go through what I have been through in my family; but I know there are probably people who have had an even more troubled upbringing than me. What can we do about this?
I have been thinking a lot about marriage, sex, relationships, and children recently. There is part of me that feels I would love to enter into a deep relationship with a girl, but there is also an undercurrent of fear that I might enter into the kind of relationship my parents had, which led to a great deal of physical, mental, and emotional sickness for both my parents and my sister and myself. In my understanding, this kind of fear is commonplace in British society, and perhaps in other societies around the world.
I believe that the key to any successful relationship is open communication. Suffering is nearly always the result of fear; we suffer because we fear expressing the truth that is in our hearts. Psychotherapy taught me personally to express myself openly, and has led to a great improvement in all my relationships, and coupled with the moral teaching of Jesus Christ and others, I feel I have learned a great deal about how to manage my emotions and have better relationships (although I am far from perfect of course).
You may be familiar with the old saying ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus’; an expression designed to encapsulate the idea that men and women are very different. However, I believe this is an incorrect way of thinking, and is the kind of thinking expressed by people who have not had the opportunity to heal emotionally through counselling or psychotherapy.
I believe that a lot of the time, men and women enter into same-sex relationships because they come from families where they have felt unloved. They might have embraced a kind of rebellious attitude due the fact that they haven’t witnessed a solid and stable male / female relationship in their own family. Of course, I understand that relationships are multi-faceted, and there may be many reasons why people enter into same-sex relationships.
I do believe that there is a really significant problem in society as regards mental health in the area of relationships and sex and sexuality. People are having sex-change operations which must be so incredibly painful for them both emotionally and physically, and in many cases it’s because they don’t feel loved and accepted as who they are. All any human being wants is to feel loved and at peace. In this sense, women are not from Venus and men are not from Mars; we are all from Planet Earth.
Part of the reason why I have embarked on establishing a multifaith church of the future is because I want there to be a forum in the UK for discussing issues to do with the development of society from a philosophical and spiritual viewpoint. Part of the vision for the charity I am setting up is to run a counselling service, Tealight Counselling, which aims to address some of the issues highlighted in this article.
I believe it would benefit society enormously for couples to engage in compulsory counselling before marriage or civil partnerships; this could even be a legal obligation in their best interests.
Allow me to end with a few personal reflections. I have been thinking a lot about what drives men to enter into relationships, and what drives women. I feel that we all want happiness, so before getting married we should talk openly and candidly about the things that make us happy. Understanding what makes a fellow human being happy is always a beautiful thing, because we all want each other to be happy. The happiness of others is what makes us happy ourselves.
I think there is a common misconception that guys don’t like commitment and responsibility. The truth is we LOVE commitment and responsibility; we actually just want to make our spouse happy so that we can feel like we are a capable, good, and mature man/husband. I think that perhaps in many relationships, women don’t necessarily discuss their needs and desires openly with men, perhaps because they fear we won’t understand. But if I were to meet a woman who said to me, “my dream is to have lots of children with you because I adore children and want to experience their love and cuteness and beauty with you as their father”, I would really love this and it would make me feel very special and loved and want to be very devoted to my wife. Of course, this is not to suggest all women or men think the same way, this is just an example of an important desire in many relationships which may not be openly expressed.
Rather than being afraid of commitment, I believe men are only scared of relationships failing. We just want to understand how women honestly feel about things. If we know our spouse is going to be open and transparent about their motivations, feelings, loves, ambitions, drives, and desires, then we will feel confident committing to them and supporting them in any way we can.
Counselling can potentially be the key to solving pornography addiction, sex addiction, physical and emotional abuse, and many other relationship issues.
I’m not denying that marriage will always be a challenge. All kinds of relationships into which humans enter are challenging. And we are always growing and learning. But the experience of counselling allows us to become emotionally mature before we enter into marriage, and what kind of person wouldn’t want that for themself, and for their marriage?
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the official views of Tealight Counselling or The Universal Church of Almighty God; they are just some imperfect personal thoughts.