We are going to speak today of heterosexual couples today. And let us not start with the mistake of thinking of a couple as a
unit/monad. This is the start of madness. To consider two people as one is to insult both their individualities: each is a self-actualized person. I disagree with the term couple therapy or couple’s spiritual counselling. It is definitely not doing therapy to the wo/man. The spiritual director might need to meet each couple together once in a blue moon but it is in the best interest of the four entities involved to interact as a triad: God +wife (girlfriend/female live in partner) + spiritual counsellor and God + husband (boyfriend/male live in partner) + spiritual counsellor. After writing this I am sure both Christian & Hindu fundamentalists will bay for my blood.
The reality is that people increasingly do not marry for fears that love will die and long term commitments to the other. As a spiritual director I cannot only serve one class of couples; the happily married sort.
Why do I consider a woman and a man separate in a solid relationship? The man has a different outlook to life and different
fantasy system(literally and
psychoanalytically) than the woman. Both the woman and man might first of all seek therapy of any sort because they are clashing at their basic unconscious levels. If that is so, then why start a fighting match in the very first spiritual counselling session. Heck, their approaches to God may be radically different. Their physical needs and responses may be different and it is the job of the spiritual counsellor to help them accept the way they are and their partner is. For example, the wife may not like public displays of affection whereas the man may be an
‘I love French kissing in the mall’ sort of guy. The guy may be a sucker for parties and the evening drink; the woman might love nothing more than having a pizza at home watching a good soap. And indeed love may be waning between them. The relationship was fun in the beginning and now it is only drudgery and ‘I know better than you’ or let’s have our own affairs on the side. You keep quiet and I’ll say nary. Finally, to be honest old Dr. Freud was not too off the mark when he said that the libido is all.He’s got an
and she’s got a ‘my body is the temple of sin’ complex
. As is usual with me I shall proceed step by step to try to help you folks.
When to approach a psychiatrist:
- When both of you have lost interest in sex. He cannot get it up or keep it in and you cannot for the love of anything spread your legs. Drugs can help in both conditions. There are two classes of drugs for keeping it up and delayed ejaculation: PDE5 inhibitor class of medicines. They will sort out your erectile dysfunction problem and then there are select classes of anti-depressants which will help you to ejaculate after sometime. For your girlfriend/missus antidepressant or anti-obsessives will do, either alone or in combination. You have to consult an MD neuropsychiatrist to go to the roots of both your aridity. Some of the greatest problems that couples face is lack of having sex and their powerlessness to do anything for it except blaming each other.
- If you are live-in partners or experimenting with your bodies, please use condoms and have after-sex oral contraceptives ready. Believe you me, you neither want to have
HIV or some other
venereal diseases or have a baby out of wedlock. Take help from gynaecologists to know more. There is no shame involved. The gynaecologist has seen more cases like you than you’d ever want to know.
- Lastly, if you are facing organic diseases of your genitalia you need to visit a gynaecologist; if you have high blood pressure or hyper or hypo thyroid conditions then too you need to go to doctors. In the first case, a good cardiologist and in the second case to an endocrinologist. If you are suffering from common infection of the genito-urinary tract then you need to visit either a gynaecologist or a specialist in venereal diseases. Dermatologists too can help.
- If both of you are passing through mid-life crises; men have them too, you might need hormone therapy. Post-menstrual women sometimes need specialised treatment from psychiatrists to tide over their blues. Menstruation too can cause mood fluctuations which are rumoured to be alleviated by evening primrose oil. Solid research on this prophylactic is lacking. It is best to then consult a gynaecologist.
- Is there a lack of freedom in your relationship? If she talks to another guy do you steam and if he even looks at a pretty rack, you holler the hell out of your house? If this is true, you need shrink help faster the better.
When to visit a marriage counsellor:
- After you have exhausted all the possibilities listed above and have had no improvement in your relationship with each other approach a marriage counsellor. Some psychologists specialise in couple therapy and they have their various modes of helping. But I have problems with marriage/couple therapists because they are 1) super-expensive and 2) they often treat their clients as inevitably going the primrose path of separation and 3) they treat the couple as a monad. I strongly disagree with this last view. The woman has her set of issues and the man has his set of issues so they need not see eye to eye but neither should they be bogged down by their differences.
By now, those who read my blog know that I am very distrustful of alternative therapies and my first course of action is to pop pills. It sounds gross but keep in mind that pills are God’s gift to womankind if used carefully. I do not agree with those who think we are not neurotransmitter-mediated machines. I firmly believe we are chiefly biological machines with souls introjected at our conceptions when the zygote comes into being. Otherwise we are not that different from the big apes. The rest is mumbo-jumbo, sorta king of the nowhere. This is why I request folks to exhaust naturally curable causes of marital/live-in discords before approaching a spiritual director for couple therapy. No harm if you are happy and to approach a director independently to polish your souls. But then this post is really not for you. I am focussing in those who are in deep crap.
What to expect from spiritual counselling if your relationship is breaking apart? And here unlike in the first two cases, there are two directors: God who in reality will let Her wish known and the director herself who will try to facilitate your connection to the Transcendent so that you can come to see reality as it is and take your own decisions.
- Clarity of sorts. You will be able to map your past life with your husband/boyfriend or live-in partner and see how things have turned out from the beginning. Does it seem natural to you, the soup you are in or is it of your own making?
- Do you see a pattern of Divine Will in your staying together or having met and fallen in love in the first instance?
- What role does
meditation/prayer and solitude play in your relationship with your partner?
- How will you be financially affected by your continuation of the marriage or ending it?
- Whom are you running away from? Are you too much like either of your parents and you got married in the hope that you will have a big chest or cushy breasts to cry upon? Wake up buddy, spiritual counselling will show the reality of marriage or any commitment: you are there as friends and for the kinky stuff and both of you enjoying the trip to God.
- The spiritual director’s job is NOT to patch up your relationship but provide you a patient hearing and help you to come to your own decisions.
Keep it in mind that it is God who guides and it is Her Will we will figure out. You don’t need to go bonkers just because you fight with your spouse daily, from my experience it is sweet and we do make up daily. Neither do you have to carry on in a
shit relationship where your partner
vampirically sucks out your élan vital. The spiritual guide will help you to balance your lives with the help of psychology and God.