It's funny to me that we colloquially refer to marriage as "tying the knot" because often that's exactly what I feel like I'm trying to UNtie when people come in for relational therapy.
When we get married, we operate using coping mechanisms we learned as children, sometimes from our parents, sometimes from our culture, often from our pain. These methods (that often helped us survive!) can easily confuse and confound our new connections, resulting in strife and even more pain. The more you repeat the pattern, the tighter and more complex the knot becomes.
This is why it's so important to go to marriage therapy EARLY in a problem, before it becomes so tense the rope breaks.
To get it untangled, we have to start on the outside and work our way in, sometimes making a bigger, even more confusing mess just to get to the smaller tighter spots hidden in the middle. It's not quick work and it often isn't initially relieving. You have to be willing to slow down, trying in a new, softer way. My most successful clients are brave and humble in allowing me to help them untie their knots.
Unsplash: Pascal van de Vendel