A couple’s experience of working with us

Staying together

All of us have GPS map that we use to navigate our relationships. Tamar and Peter have theirs too. But when they were working with us it seemed like they were navigating a track that does not exist. It’s like those times travelling when there is no signal, and we have to rely on something else entirely to find our way. I remember once, I and a group of friends were on a ten day walk in Lapland.

Every twenty kilometres or so there was a hut kept stocked with food and firewood. On one of the last days we realised we got completely lost. In the bright evening of the arctic spring sun, we knew we’d have to sleep out in minus twenty, with a wind chill factor that would make it more like minus forty. I started to feel an old shame and dread creeping into my bones, when suddenly an arctic Wolf strolled up to us. It walked straight toward my partner and circled around him. We all stood in stunned amazement, and then she just walked off in another direction. We decided to follow her, more out of desperation than good sense. She travelled along a path clearly well known to her but one we couldn’t see or divine. Following the wolf made no sense at all but we were exhausted and desperate. We followed her for about an hour, and then as quickly as she appeared she disappeared.

We were left looking in all directions, panicking and blaming each other for following a stupid hunch. Then just as we started cutting snow blocks for igloos, one of our group saw a shining, vertical metallic edge peaking out from under a mound of snow about 100 metres away. It was our next hut. Later I wondered whether we had dreamt up the wolf. In retrospect it seemed so bizarre.

Now we don’t mean Tamar and Peter are like arctic wolves. But the Lapland experience was like the journey of our therapy sessions. We arrived at a safe place by a route through dread and shame. It was so unexpected. We’d given up on each other years ago, lost our way in the relationship. We’d frozen each other out. These guys had a kind of sixth sense of where we needed to go to find our safe harbour, and to build again that lovely fire in our hearts that began us. They held the space for us to own our own shit, rather than blame the other for the mess. Thank you for nourishing a small miracle in your room. Adrian & Steph. Gold Coast Qld

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