By far, the majority of requests are for marital issues.
Peak times for calls are fall and January after couples have been saving face for the sake of summer vacations and Christmas.
It's disheartening that it's April and the phone is ringing off the hook.
There are couples my children's age who no sooner have taken their vows, are ready to throw in the towel.
I merely schedule appointments. I am not a counselor, but can offer prayer and encouragement. I say things like,
"God is a God of reconciliation."
"With Him, nothing is impossible"
"Help is on the way"
...anything that might ignite a spark of hope to keep them trying.
I say these things to myself as much as to them because marriage can be hard. My husband is the sweetest person, but we get just as mired in bad communication, fears, conflict over money, intimacy and child rearing as anybody else. Sometimes to a real point of desperation. What makes us stick for 33 years has been our stubborn belief in marriage.
Marriage is a multi-level mystery with its spiritual metaphorical implications: Jesus, the Bridegroom and his church, the Bride.
The depth of its meaning is somewhere between the four walls of my home and the span of Eternity.
Mastering marriage is an art form; like learning to paint, sculpt, dance, write poetry or play the piano, (the last two I know a little bit about). It takes long, hours of patience, practice and perseverance.
And somewhere there's a masterpiece to be seen, a sonata to be heard, a well choreographed dance, a poem that speaks what our souls feel.
We just have to stay around long enough to experience the beauty of loving long.