But You’re a Marriage Counselor

But You’re a Marriage Counselor

Releasing the perfect relationship expectation


The phrases “but you’re a marriage counselor” and “your relationships should be perfect” echo in my mind. I hear them a lot. It is an odd thing being a marriage counselor. I feel both an internal and external expectation that I need to be “perfect” at love. Some days I do better than others.

Recently, on a bad day, a friend gave me the infamous “but you’re a marriage counselor” line and the words “doctors have health problems too!!!” came flying out of my mouth. It felt like the best thing I had said in a long time. It was the truth. It was authentic.

We are all imperfect– imperfect in every aspect of life. We are especially imperfect when it comes to love. We are designed that way. Relationships exist challenge us to grow and develop as humans. They bring out the best in us. Think about how good it felt when you first fell in love and every cell in your body was glowing. Even better, think about the day you held your baby in your arms for the first time and your heart swelled to explosion with a love stronger than you every imagined.

They bring out the uncomfortable in us too. Think about your first heartbreak, or the unending anxiety you felt when your partner cheated on you. Remember all the words you said or didn’t say? I am sure you can think of many examples of this imperfection.

They way we love and our ability to share, express and receive love changes with time and experiences. What matters is that we keep GROWING. That we keep growing individually and in our intimate relationships. We are here to help each other develop beyond out instincts and our history.

Growth requires that we momentarily suspend our shame about being imperfect in relationships and accept ourselves as we are in this moment. When we accept our current situation and ourselves we become more authentic. Authenticity is the opposite of perfection. Authenticity is being with our inner truth. Authenticity invites intimacy. Think about how easy it is to connect with someone when you know they are being real with you.

So yes, I am a marriage counselor, and I am imperfectly growing in my relationships. I invite you to ask yourself… Am I growing? How can I let go of being perfect and be more authentic in this moment?

Kirsten May, MA LMFT


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