My friend at work is a jeweller and it fascinates me listening to how she goes about designing and making her works of art. One process a jeweller can use to refine gold is to use fire to heat up the metal. Gold melts at temperatures above 1000 degrees Celsius making it a delicate and dangerous procedure. As the gold melts, the impurities inside start to separate from the gold. Instead of simply dissolving and disappearing, the impurities or ‘dross’ as it is called, rises to the surface. The jeweller then carefully skims all the dross off the top to be left with quality gold to work with. Not enough heat and the muck stays hidden and the gold remains impure. All the time the refiner watches the process intently with the goal of producing this precious and valued metal.
My husband and I have had numerous challenges throughout our marriage – the result of two very stubborn people from broken backgrounds trying to piece it all together and more often than not, clashing heads and hurting hearts. As we smashed into another hurdle this year I was reminded of the refining process. It would be easy to turn off the heat, run away and never deal with the junk we have inside. It would mean the end of our marriage and yet another broken family.
Instead we’ve chosen to go to a counsellor and seek help. It feels like we are choosing to stay in the furnace. To keep the heat up. I started the process wanting to point the finger and lay blame only to be challenged to look inside, own my faults, face my fears and become stronger and better in the process.
As I share our experience with others, the negativity or resistance to counselling has both surprised and saddened me. I look forward to our time together even though it usually involves tears, frustration and working through a whole range of emotions that want to run wild and burn us both to a crisp. Counselling offers us the opportunity to bring all the hurt and brokenness into full view to be gently dealt with under the watchful eye of a trained professional. With this help, and a commitment from the both of us to work hard, we are learning to push through the conflict. We focus on understanding each other better, learning to listen and communicate more clearly, and rekindle our love and respect for one another.
Refinement is not an easy process. To reveal and remove takes courage and commitment and I’m very grateful for a husband who has chosen to step up and stay true when we are at our worst. I know it isn’t everyone’s story. I am heartbroken for those who want to work through things only to be knocked back by a partner who would rather run away or stick their head in the sand and pretend there’s nothing wrong. My encouragement would be to seek help and don’t run from the refining process. Whether that’s individually or as a couple. Along with the counsellor, we’ve been strengthened and supported by family and trusted friends. People who love us regardless of our flaws, and who celebrate with us as we discover them, tackle them and ultimately overcome them.
As I admire and appreciate the jewellery my friend proudly wears to work, it is a great reminder that my marriage is worth the fiery process.