J. Christopher Pickett, M. Div., MA, CADC, LCPC
Chris Pickett discusses some of the underpinnings of marital challenges and difficulties and how he, and the therapists at Barrington Behavioral Health and Wellness, can help guide you through the ‘marriage minefield’ to a rewarding union with your loved one.
J. Christopher Pickett has been an ordained minister since 1982 and moved into the addictions field as a chaplain and addictions counselor at Lutheran General Hospital in 1988. Since 2000, he has worked for Midwest Ministry Development Service (MMDS) doing career counseling and assessment. Chris is also a clinician on staff at Barrington Behavioral Health and Wellness.
Marriage is not always easy ~
Two people joining for life,
coming from different family systems,
having different friends,
having unspoken expectations based on beliefs and values,
having differing plans for raising children,
having differing expectations about socialization,
and so on…
So why do people even bother? Why is it that the union of two people has been so honored in our society and has remained a core to most of our life’s expectations? Obviously, different people have differing motivations and put differing levels of importance on these but some of them are as follows
- to have someone else to share their experiences with
- for support through good times and tough times
- to share love through mutuality and the joys of intimacy
- to share in raising children (if they are so blessed) with their exuberance and energy as well as challenge
- and have someone in your life that knows and understands you deeply
Marriage is a commitment to remain true and steadfast as partners one with another. It is saying “This is the person who has my back and I have his or hers.” Marriage is a commitment for fidelity and trust. Even the best marriages go through struggles and need help from a professional counselor who can as an outside observer give counsel, encourage understanding, and find solutions for unhealthy patterns of thinking, and behaving that are often tied differing personalities, family systems,
When one or both of the partners in this union have a problem with addiction, it further complicates an already complex relationship. Years of denial, deceit and distrust are not miraculously healed when the addicted person gets into recovery and suddenly makes life changes. In fact, the spouse has often developed patterns around the addiction in order to survive, that need to be looked at so that adaptation, trust and love has the potential to be restored. This makes having marital counseling even more important.
The deceit and disillusionment that comes with all forms of addiction, undercuts the foundation of trust and security that is so essentially a part of the marriage partnership. Healing through the work of reconciliation and forgiveness has to take place so this union can thrive and trust is rebuilt. As with most marital unions, the patterns of interrelating have been systems that go back to childhood families and have been moved forward into the marital relationship and tend to further pressure patterns of co-dependence and dependence and may inadvertently push the addict or alcoholic back toward drinking or using again. These interpersonal interactions need to be understood and changed to prevent relapse and to promote a return to loving and mutually beneficial relations within the marriage.
It was my honor to work with Dr. Casey with a number of couples over 20 years ago and today we continue to help couples find health and healing in their marriages. Sometimes the wounds are too deep and the couple decides to separate and divorce. In these cases, we at BBHW work to make that process as peaceful as possible, which is particularly important when children are involved. Without awareness and healing, wounded people tend to continue a pattern of wounding, acting out of their pain.
If you are having problems in your marriage, we encourage you to seek help. Call us today at: 888-261-2178