When you’re sick, you go to the doctor right? I mean, I know we don’t all go to the doctor because there are some people who get super skeeved out by medical professionals and would rather just die, but you get the point.
We also know that we should go to the doctor every once in a while for a check-up. Especially as you get older. Which I am in denial about for myself but have zero problem enforcing on my husband who has a tendency to get sick All. The. Time.
What I’m getting at is that we should treat our marriage the same way, especially as it gets older.
In the beginning is when it seems roughest. We’re figuring each other out. How the other lives, joint conflict styles, communication in general. A lot of this is hashed out in engagement and especially and HOPEFULLY in premarital counseling (Go to it, do it, learn from it. It’s soooooo important.) Plus, we all know how the first year goes. Can we skip talking about it? K thanks. Moving on.
Right now I am past the blissful second year and into my third year of marriage, which has also been fantastically blissful. I love my husband more than words can describe, I think he’s awesome, and we have so much fun together. He’s truly my best friend. It’s in all of this that we recently went to marriage counseling for the second time since we’ve been married.
Change can be a stresser for many people, and we all know how tightly wound I am soooo… it just makes sense that preparation is much needed. I truly believe that bracing yourself and your marriage for any known change is so important to its health.
One of my biggest worries in having a baby and starting a family is the impact that it will have on my marriage. I love being married and unless things are going to change for the better, I’d like them to not change at all. I hear horror stories of how marriages become kid-centered and unhealthy and it scares me.
This is why Bryan and I chose to sit down with the same couple who did our pre-marital counseling and chat about the changes we can anticipate and how we can make parenting something that brings us together.
It’s hard to have your crap aired out in front of people, but it’s so worth it in the end. We talked through some decisions that we had already made as a team and ones that we hadn’t even thought about. Best of all, because they know us and our marriage and how we work so well, we were able to ask them what they thought that we personally would struggle with in parenting and our marriage… and they told us. Point-blank. As much as it stings, it’s so good to be able to prepare yourself for problems and try to avoid them.
Having a third party present changes the dynamic. It allows us to be honest with each other without the fear of the other not listening, it forces us to be calmer toward the other person than we might have been in private, and best of all, it forces us to hear how stupid we sound sometimes. A trusted counselor is able to see things in us that we may have missed in ourselves. They change our perspective and can call us out for being douches.
But we have to let them.
As we and our marriages get older, things have a tendency to become stagnant and we have the tendency to become avoiders. Even if there is no problem in sight, a healthy check-up never hurt anyone.
So here’s to sucking up our pride, finding a pastor, a trusted couple who has been married longer than you and who knows you and your marriage WELL, or hey, if you need it, pay a professional. Whatever it takes. I know my marriage is too good to let my pride ruin it and I hope more people start feeling that way too.