If you are a guy, you know what it’s like.
Once you saw her you couldn’t get her out of your mind. You get her number, think about her all of the time, talk about her at work, with your Mom and Dad, with all of your friends. You have a computer full of her pictures. YOU HAVE TO HAVE HER. Then one day you decide to take the plunge. I’m all in. I’ve made up my mind……..
I’m going to make an offer on the boat I’ve been dreaming about.
Wow, a 30ft sailing catamaran. A friend, actually a professional marine surveyor, who knew “a lot” about boats, was hired. He spent hours kicking the tires and reported that any defects were just cosmetic. “Sure she’s not perfect but you’ll fix her up after you get her home. She’ll clean up without a lot of trouble.” Unfortunately, after I began the “cosmetic” work I found out Flying Feather was rotten to the core. And I didn’t even know what balsa core looked like before I bought the boat. BTW, it’s the core that holds the boat together!
Reality set in and I discovered that a complete rebuild was needed. The boat needed to be cut apart, rot removed and the whole thing put back together. A 3-year project.
My biggest problem
was lacking any skills or knowledge of materials to get the work done. I’ve never attempted anything like this and was really depressed about this huge mistake I made. Flying Feather looked worse and worse every day. Even boat yards refused to take on the project. “Not worth the effort,” they told me.
Fortunately I was referred to a semi-retired, master boat builder in town who was willing to let me work with him. I was his apprentice; he was my boat restoration master. He told me what to cut, what to leave, where to buy materials at the best prices and started me off on each portion of the work.
Working on Flying Feather became my “happy place.”
I was willing to work hard, all I needed was a coach; someone who had the skills to point me in the right direction with confidence. Somebody to show me the way when situations were complex or difficult.
While it was difficult and sometimes downright painful, I was committed to this boat. She was my boat and I was going to do whatever it took to get her in tip-top shape. At times I was discouraged thinking it would never happen. Then one day I realized that everything was coming together and this amazing boat would be out on the water, sails flying, wind blowing, nothing getting in my way.
That sums up my story with Flying Feather a 50-year old boat. The result was a thing of beauty and I spent many a day out on the ocean pushing her to the limits. Truly an awesome boat.
Years later, Flying Feather was sold to a doctor from Tampa, when we bought a larger boat. However, the challenges, skills and the victory stuck with me. With some care she will give the new owner many, many years of enjoyment.
My marriage was a lot like this boat.
Early on it was just Mary Beth and me having fun, starting out. Then kids came, a major financial recession and stress. We both began to see the cracks and blisters that didn’t seem so important during the early years. In fact, the “balsa core” that held our marriage together began to rot below the surface of our relationship. We didn’t realize that the structure was crumbling beneath us.
But I had committed to Mary Beth. The problem was that we really began to hate each other. What happened? How did it get so bad?
We tried counseling and while I am sure there is value for some couples, all we learned was how to get really angry in front of a professional.
At home, we barely talked unless it was about picking up kids or groceries. We were willing to work hard on our marriage, what we needed were skills and a coach, not advice. Mary Beth and I looked for someone who could teach us step-by-step, how to face, understand and solve the problems that crept into our love life.
Fortunately we found the workshop we call "Love for Life" Dr. Sherod Miller and his wife, Dr. Phyllis Miller developed a system where a couple can learn to re-kindle the love, energy and passion that sparked their early relationship. As our marriage turned around, we flew to Golden, Colorado to get Sherod and Phyllis to certify us as workshop facilitators.
What is it?
Well, it’s not therapy. It’s not counseling. It is a lot of hard work. Every workshop, every homework assignment is like peeling your brain and your heart open and re-wiring your soul.
Look, it took some time for your relationship to degrade to its current level, it will take some time and work to build it back up.
An expression I like to use is, “A problem, well defined, will seek its own solution.” Love is like that. Once a couple begins to define a problem, their issues and learn to listen, understand each other and collaborate, the solutions become obvious. In most cases, when the couples we teach get really good at this stuff the solutions come to them in ways they’d never imagine. But most important, they learn to share life together again. To understand each other, support each other rekindle that spark and fan the flame that got them together in the first place.