We are born into a healthy, loving, committed marriage, or a chaotic, unstable, and dysfunctional relationship... or more likely, somewhere in between these extremes. The point is, we don’t get to choose.
Our family of origin experiences have an enormous impact on the trajectory of our lives.
Fathers teach sons how to love a woman and how to lead a family... or they don’t. Fathers teach daughters what they deserve from a man — love, respect, and partnership… or they don’t.
Mothers teach sons to recognize and honor the love of a woman; the importance of her voice of reason and her comfort... or they don’t. Mothers teach daughters how to love, respect and encourage a good and honorable man... or they don’t.
We take what we learn from these experiences into our future as we test the waters of our adult relationships. If we are able to recognize and admit that we are falling short, we often struggle to understand the role of those early influences.
The challenge is to recognize those early influences and to comprehend the impact they have had on our current choices; to be able to identify and choose a different course of action than might have been modeled by those whose behaviors initially influenced us.
The guidance of a caring mental health counselor can provide the safety and opportunity to explore the impact of the family we grew up with on our thoughts, values, and beliefs about ourselves as individuals and as partners.