My Personal Vision of Catholic Marriage Counselling

The following script is adapted from the notes of a presentation given to Centacare Parramatta by Ray Reid, October 1st, 2010

Vision of Marriage

The fulfilment of each human person comes in truly loving, in the giving of the self to another and in the receiving of true love from another. Love aims at reciprocity and is completed when there is mutual self-gifting.

Each spouse in marriage is called by Christ to love the other and their children so that all may grow in the love of God and of other people and, in doing so, find a deep and lasting happiness. The calling is quite specific; the love is to be given to and received from specific persons.

The love of Christ is present within the very being of each spouse and each member of the family. Christ wishes this love to flow among the family members. It is His aim to heal the pain which results from the blocking of this flow of love in misunderstandings and conflict.

The essence of love is committed self-giving. Love is not fundamentally a feeling. It is a decision, a movement of the personal will to live in communion with another so that both can grow in love of themselves, of each other and of others in the world.

Committed love lays down a secure dependable structure of love on which members can rely in tough times. There is what I have termed, an experience of loving presence.

Committed love brings a deep feeling of peace within the lover, even when less pleasant feelings such as anger, sadness, frustration, disappointment are experienced.

Marriage is a never-ending journey towards the discovery and sharing of the personal truth of each of the spouses. The security and warmth which pervades the loving marriage relationship enables each of the spouses to recognise their weaknesses and inadequacies, to have them accepted by the other spouse and, thus, to be strengthened in their efforts to overcome the weaknesses and faults and thereby live more fulfilling lives.

Loving presence, therefore, promotes the growth of each individual spouse as a separate and unique person, who lives in ever increasing unity with the other spouse without losing any aspect of individual identity.

In marriage, physical loving is a vital and necessary component. Making love is truly that. Not only is love expressed but it is increased. Other not explicitly sexual physical loving communications are vital as well.

A truly loving couple and family will not be able to contain that love within the confines of the family.

Vision of Marriage Counselling

I stand within the vision I have outlined. The effort I have made to live within it has brought me great joy and peace. My belief is that the solution to marital problems must include at least the concretization of some part of that vision.

I believe that unless the vision is truly embedded in me, my expression of it will have little power to attract and engage other people.

I am willing to reveal how I have learned the beauty of the vision and how, at times, I had had to really struggle to stay within it. I hope such personal revelations are not imposed on other people but flow naturally within our conversations and leave them free to accept or reject the vision.

All problems in marriage and family life can be reduced to this: the love does not flow properly. All counselling is aimed at restoring the flow of love and increasing it. I aim to have the love flow in the counselling room. Since I am in the room love must flow within me and from me as well as to me. I must only enter into the life of a couple or family if I, for a time, am willing to, as it were, live and love with them.

My vocation as a counsellor is to bring the healing love of Christ to people in emotional pain. That love of Christ is mediated to me in a very fundamental way through the love of my wife of 36 years, Jean. Without her, I would not be able to be the counsellor I am.

I do not easily accept that separation is best for a particular couple. My effort is to see if it is possible for love to flow in a shared life. If this seems not possible, I will attempt to help them separate with the least possible hurt to each other and to any children of the marriage.

Within the above framework, I use a wide variety of psychological theories and techniques. My aim is to have as a good an understanding of the clients’ experiences and circumstances as I possibly can so that I can make the best possible contribution to having the love flow increase between (or among) them.

By |2019-05-24T15:45:05+10:00May 24th, 2019|0 Comments

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