Check out some of the techniques, methods and everyday changes we made to Save Our “Marriage.” Still together, slightly scathed, still working on it… but totally in love, committed to each other and our children now more than ever.
1. Get Real & Get Help
It shouldn’t take a huge blow-out to end all blow-outs before you think about marriage counseling. I’m a firm believer that seeking out and engaging in therapy (traditional or “unconventional”), is a sign of strength, not weakness. The old adage of not “airing one’s dirty laundry” is damaging to the brain and heart; guilt and shame inducing. It stagnates. We see a doctor when we’re sick, why wouldn’t we hold seeing a therapist when we need one in the same high regard? The mister and I have been in couples therapy for a while now and we have no plans on quitting. We’re able to say the really difficult things to one another with a third party there that we couldn’t get into on our own. Sometimes you arrive at a place in your relationship where you’ve built up the walls so high that everything comes as a judgment, everything gets heard or misinterpreted far from what the communicator meant.
A good counselor will tell each of you the things you can’t hear from the other without getting angry – in a safe zone. They can give you new tools for communication and have you dig deep in fessing up to what you may need to work on to get your relationship back on track. Egos are often left at the door, perhaps not during the first visit but a few in? If you really love each other all that crap drops by the wayside and you earnestly get to the hard, honest work at hand. We love our therapist. The key is in finding a good one. I want to bake her cookies and give her all the prizes.
2. Re-evaluate Your Responsibilities
How much do you have on the go? Did you have a demanding career before having babies? Did both of you? We did. And it wasn’t the first year that set us off into a tail-spin either. It was the second year, with the birth of our 2nd baby when our 1st was 18-months-old that things quickly spun out of control. If you’re the type of person who thinks they need to do it all (=me, well at least that’s what I used to think); keeping a spotless house, home-cooked meals every night of the week, volunteering with a non-for-profit organization, having a full-on career with something on the side and taking care of a newborn or a newborn and a toddler without childcare? Recipe for disaster. (In my humble opinion.)
While we quickly realized that childcare for our toddler was totally necessary, some damage had been done. We took out our stresses out on each-other, as couples do. They say you hurt the ones that you love the most and as cheesy as that analogy is, it’s true. Often it sneaks in and before you know it you can’t remember the last time you had sex, you’re bloody exhausted and the kindness with which you used to speak to each-other has diminished. Ultimately we had to make hard decisions regarding our careers and we didn’t do it all at once either, the most recent of which only happened very recently. We now currently have ONE vocation each, do no volunteer work, and have learned how to budget a bit better so that we can occasionally hire a cleaning lady or a baby-sitter for a date night. Which brings me to the next point…