I always thought that, we as human beings with intelligence and some common sense, could always handle our daily trials and tribulations. When we encounter obstacles at work, we look for solutions and resolutions, do we not? And somehow we are able to mostly find the necessary tools/answers to resolve an issue, find solutions to a problem, look for ways to improve, etc… So I thought that the same would hold true at home. How mistaken I was.

My wife and I have had our shares of joys, anger, disappointment, contempt, sarcasm, and sadness but somehow we always managed to plough through, not realizing that layers and layers of unresolved issues just accumulated beneath the surface. When we realized that correction to this path was above our skills, we reached out to marriage counselors, hoping to find solutions and resolutions. After many attempts with different ones, I became skeptical and cynical with these counselors. Perhaps I was looking for the magic potion, one that would solve it all. After a few sessions with each, we gave up with less clarity, less hope and less belief in their abilities.

Arriving at the final fork in our married relationship, with no other possible avenue, we decided to try one last time at a counselor. We reached out to Lori Chau at Four Pillars Counselling. Now, 19 sessions later, we have hope that we will make it. What I have learned in the meantime is that, in a relationship, I had extremely poor communication skills. Not that my language skills were poor, what both of us did not realize that in order to communicate effectively, we also needed to learn how to listen without our own agenda and defensiveness, both of which bring on sarcasm, contempt, criticism and often times, stonewalling. We also did not understand or realize that, to get our point across, there was an effective way and then… the destructive way. It’s a long journey ahead, but with each arduous step, I am becoming more hopeful, a better listener, a better communicator, and overall… I hope, a better partner.

Thank you Lori for opening our eyes, showing us more effective ways of communicating and listening, by being better listeners, we also become better partners. In the far, far horizon, I can see a rainbow…