Did I ever tell you dolls that my parents are divorced? True story. They broke up when I was about 20 years old, so I can’t really say I am child of divorce, but because I am the oldest of four, most of my siblings can. The nice thing about being an adult when your parents divorce is I could talk to both of them about the wins and mistakes they made in their marriage and learn from them. One of the things they talked about is how much therapy helped them keep the marriage together for a lot longer than it would have otherwise, and how it created a way for them to work together while separating and not go through all the horror stories you hear about when it comes to divorce.
When I met my husband I knew very early on that he was the one for me. We spent a lot of time talking about what marriage meant to us and how we wanted to raise our children. We also went to a marriage counselor before we got married because I believe it is really important to be able to use therapy as a way to get things back on track when your marriage goes off course. And it will go off course.
I made it clear to my husband that before we got married it was important to me to see what therapy would be like and if he and I could work together with a counselor. At the time neither of us were religious so we didn’t have an option to go to a priest, minister, or rabbi which I think are all great choices if you are religious. As a matter of fact I believe there are some religions that make you see a religious leader for marriage counseling before you get married and I think that is a fantastic idea. Honestly, if my husband had been adverse to seeing someone to help us with any problems we might face in our marriage, I wouldn’t have married him. It was that important to me because I could see firsthand how much it helped my parents, even though they ultimately decided not to stay together.
During the course of our 14 years together we have been to counselling twice. The first time was about 4 years ago. I was trying to learn how to be happy as a housewife but something was missing. In therapy I admitted that I really wanted another child- something my husband had always said he didn’t want. When the words flew out of my mouth I was terrified because I didn’t know how he would react to the fact that my wanting another child was a really. big. deal. to me and might be a marriage ender. But the man totally surprised me when he immediately said he wanted one too! What? To this day I am so thankful we figured out we were actually wanting the same thing and now we have our beautiful daughter.
The second time is actually right now. For reasons I have now figured out in therapy, I was angry at my husband pretty much all the time. My anger was causing a lot of problems and I wasn’t able to fully articulate why I was angry and then come up with ways to solve the problem. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I kind of knew exactly why I was angry, but instead of being awesome and sitting down with him and letting him know what was on my mind in a calm and collected way, I would shout at him and generally be a jerk about the situation. Finally we both decided enough was enough and we started to see someone about 5 weeks ago.
Want to hear something amazing? Best 4 weeks of my marriage! Ok, I am exaggerating, but I am telling you, we are, for what feels like the first time, working as a team to create the family of our dreams! I guess we have just been winging it for 14 years! Ha!
Im not going to go into all the details of what our issue was or how we have solved it because I believe each person has very specific problems and there is no one solution. But I do think being able to recognize when there is trouble in our marriage and then know we don’t have to solve it alone is something that has kept us together for all these years.
There is no shame in admitting you and your husband don’t have all the answers. There is no shame is seeking out a neutral third party who can help clarify and explain to you what your spouse is attempting to convey. It doesn’t really matter if you talk to a therapist, and counselor, a priest, or a doctor, so long as they are trained to help couples find their way back to one another. We all need help sometimes and I believe admitting it and going to a professional is one of the best things you can do to have a good marriage.
For those of you who might be interested in seeing someone to help them with any marital troubles, I suggest first going to your family doctor for a reference. They usually know who the best family and marital therapists in your area are and will have the information you need. Then together you and your husband should interview each one until you find one that just feels right. If none of them feel right, then interview more! It is very important you both find someone who you trust and you both believe will help you.