As women, we always wonder how men think or rather, “What in the hell is he thinking?” I sat down with one of my current male patients and asked for transparency and vulnerability….I have decided to begin a series where you will hear straight from both male and female patients and their own personal journeys in couples counseling.
IMAGO: A Guy’s Perspective
As a patient of Becky’s and fellow writer, she asked me to guest-write from a man’s perspective about a particular book + concept she introduced to my wife and me. The book is called Getting the Love You Want: A Guide For Couples by Harville Hendrix and has been critical for helping us make significant positive breakthroughs in our marriage. The concept the book focuses on is called Imago and proved to be a bit of a mind-bender for me at first, so keep reading a few more paragraphs guys, and maybe this could help you out down the road too.
A Little Background…
First, you need to know a little about me. I’m no stranger to therapy and self-improvement workbooks as I have a lengthy history in 12-step recovery settings, so I understand the value of study guides and related books. As a recovering alcoholic, I’m also on my second marriage and understand what it means to do things the wrong way. And for what it’s worth I’m a guy’s guy – usually have scruff, played rugby for 20 years, and can’t keep breakable things in the house. With our wonderful mixed family (4 kids – two of hers, two of mine) we began seeing Becky Lennox almost 18 months ago.
After a few sessions Becky quickly identified our roadblocks and where my wife and I were stuck. We had been living life in a “crisis” mode since the beginning of our five year old relationship, battling legal, medical, professional, and financial storms which seemed never ending. As a couple, we clung to each other to survive and we did it well. But surviving isn’t enough for a healthy marriage and we ultimately slid into patterns of blaming, withdrawing, and taking out stress on each other. In true Becky fashion, she interrupted one of our more heated sessions on her couch and said, “you guys need to read this book if you want your marriage to survive. Period.”
In All Honesty…
To be honest, the scary kind of honest, my pride was more than a bit insulted because apparently she didn’t remember how glowingly enlightened I already was because I’ve done so much work in recovery rooms over the years, and sponsored so many guys and done 3 step studies, and blah blah blah….. Puke. And on top of everything, I was working a job which took me out of town frequently and demanded a very high work rate, so needless to say I was looking for more DOWNtime in life, not more BOOKtime.
This Was New…
But with more than a little resistance from me (my wife is a MUCH better student) I opened the book and jumped in. Immediately I knew the concept was something I had not encountered before, and really even seems a bit counter-intuitive at first glance. I could tell this was a deep dive back, way back to childhood to examine in great detail how my parents’ shortcomings and flaws influenced me from the start. As I read, there are parts of my subconscious mind which are drawn to some of the very character flaws in my partner which harmed me as a child! For example, this is why many people who grow up with an alcoholic parent may choose a partner later in life with addictive personality traits themselves, which is the LAST thing they truly want.
Here’s the Catch…
The catch is that unless we properly identify these Imago characteristics in ourselves we can end up choosing a mate who feels like a good partner but could often end up being a very unhealthy match. And the most massive concept I took away from the book initially is that turning the mirror towards myself and working on my issues ultimately helps my wife work through her own Imago issues. In short, fixing me helps her. This may be a tough pill for some of us reading because if we’re honest (the scary kind again) we probably want our wives to “fix” themselves first.
My Challenge to You…
But you are her husband and you won’t do everything right but you are called to lead your wife. So lead her, and with your actions show her you’re committed to working on yourself and that your marriage is important.
Time to dig in and get real guys, and I want to encourage you to open this book. Meet with Becky.
Being a better you allows her to be a better her.
Interested in more? I would love to virtually meet to you! Email or call anytime to schedule a virtual session. (817) 701-5438 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CRT, CCDC, CACC | Counselor & Life Coach
Empowering individuals, families and communities to grow and heal through advanced approaches in Creative Arts Therapy, setting the standard for treatment, practice and training within the field.