It’s Thursday again, so you know what that means? If you didn’t guess that we’d be continuing with the marriage series, then you definitely need to stop right here and read the other posts – I’ll what… Done? Ok great, now let’s jump into today’s blog takeover – Toni’s ‘hangout’.
by Toni (Lady B)
Hey there! Hope all is well. Today while we hang out, I’m going to share why I believe it’s vital to maintain couples therapy. When Shelly presented the list of topics to me for this marriage series, I jumped to take this one.
You will probably get 50/50 responses on this subject matter. 50% may believe therapy isn’t needed, and the other half is afraid to tell you that they go faithfully. I’m sure that isn’t the equation you thought I was about to present, but unfortunately, that’s how it often works.
As for me and my house, I’m going to tell you that we go proudly! However, I can’t say that we’ve gone as often as I believe we should have from the beginning. Like a lot of couples, we had premarital counseling, and that was it. We would talk to our parents and older siblings if/when we really needed some advice, but never went back to a licensed counselor, until…
You know! We had a major, life-changing, this could break us moment, so we had to seek help before we called it quits.
At one point, I felt like I needed to hide my face when we were walking in and out of counseling. Mainly because we were not consistently going for maintenance purposes. The only time we would seek help is when it seemed like things had gotten out of hand. I was embarrassed! I didn’t want anyone to see us and realize things weren’t always going well.
Now understand, I will share my pain and problems, mainly to prevent someone else from going through the same situation or show them that it’s possible to get past it. However, I don’t know anyone that wants their dirty laundry aired, especially right in the moment. Therefore, I hoped no one ever recognized us at the counselor’s office. One crazy thing about thinking that way is if they are at the same location, then most likely, things aren’t the best for them at that time either. Maybe, maybe not?!
Today, as a woman who has been married for many years with both good and bad experiences, I want to tell you that I believe counseling is ABSOLUTELY necessary to STAY happy in your marriage!
What is happy, you ask?
hap· py | \ ˈha-pē
Definition of happy
1: notably fitting, effective, or well-adapted
2: enjoying or characterized by well-being and contentment
There are several definitions for happy, but I chose the two that I felt were most relevant for this topic. To be effective, well-adapted, and have contentment in your marriage, I think you should keep a consistent appointment with a counselor, at least until your relationship is beyond well-established. Established is relative, but to say the least, that could take many, many years, tears, hardships, and experiences.
Counseling is needed in marriage like an inspection is required for a car. The same way a mechanic goes through a thorough examination of the vehicle to assure that it is in good, working order is the same way we need a licensed therapist to check us out from time to time. There are many components to marriage that should be assessed and maintained. Professional marriage counselors have studied the dynamics of relationships to help us manage and achieve success in our marriages.
Couples therapy is also an excellent way to learn how to communicate better with your spouse. For anyone with any experience with counseling, you know that first thing they teach you about communication, right? It’s the exercise where they show a couple how to take away the blame game. Counselors will tell you when you’re talking to your spouse, don’t say you did this or that. Instead, try saying, “When you speak that way or do this, it makes me feel like (fill in the blank).” Most of the time, we are quick to point fingers at each other, but this communication method minimizes the attack on your partner.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with this. Even if you or your spouse doesn’t want to sit down with a licensed therapist, I believe you should be performing regular maintenance on your marriage. There should be a process that you go through every so often to assure your relationship’s upkeep. Maybe once a quarter, you can evaluate the quality of your relationship. Find or create a questionnaire that you both answer. The responses you both give will teach each of you what you’re doing right and wrong and show you both what needs to be changed. You can’t just expect things to work, but rather understand that you have to put in the work to maintain a healthy marriage. What is the process that you and your spouse have come up with if counseling is not an option for you two?
This 7-part marriage series is coming to a close soon, so be sure to go back and catch up on the interviews and previous posts from me and Shelly.
Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting Married – by Toni
Why you should consider delaying your wedding – by Shelly
Ten important things you should discuss with your partner before getting married – by Toni
How kids will affect your relationship – by Shelly