Listen, the topic of therapy was once taboo, but it isn’t anymore. Honestly, it should have never been, in my opinion. Why are we so afraid to ask for help? Furthermore, why do we shame people for seeking the help they need. It’s time to level up!
Randy and I didn’t participate in marriage counseling before we got married. We tied the knot June 7, 2014. By the end of the month we were pregnant. I lived in NJ, and Randy lived in Atlanta. We long-distance dated for most of the 8 years we were together– we had a brief stint where we lived together in Atlanta during our early dating years. So, when I moved to Atlanta and jumped the broom and moved in with Randy, our history was us seeing each other for a few days each month, and that was it. Chiiiile, no one tells you the first year of marriage can be hell, because for us, it was. When we found out we were pregnant, we both agreed we should go to couples therapy for the sake of our marriage, and for our baby.
When you become one, it’s like the ultimate merger. You bring all your baggage, your spouse brings all their baggage, and together you have to determine what stays, what goes and what you want to compromise on. Like, that little attitude you get because you can’t have your way? Gone! Not talking for days because you’re in your feelings? Baby, bye! Leaving the toilet seat up? Dude, come on. Your hair all in the shower and sink? Those days are over. Deeper that that, you have one person that grew up in one family culture that may differ wildly from the person they are marrying. How do you create harmony? Truthfully, Randy and I didn’t have all of the answers, and if I’m really being honest, we are both pretty stubborn. So, we manned and womanned up, and went to a therapist.
Our goal was to become better communicators, and to tap into our vulnerabilities to become better people, spouses and to be a great example of love for our baby that was on the way. It has been quite a journey, and we are still learning so much. Not only do we go to therapy twice a month together, we go on our own, too. When I would tell people we were in therapy, I always prefaced it with: Our marriage is not in trouble, we are not on the brink of divorce. Lol! But that’s what people thought– it was written all over their faces. We went to therapy because there is no Plan B. We are committed to each other, and to the work it takes to maintain a union of respect, effective communication, compassion and understanding. Love isn’t enough!
My biggest takeaways from therapy have been this:
- Be intentional with our time– we will always have responsibilities, but focus on spending time with your spouse intentionally. Hire a babysitter and go out, pray together each day before bed, have a date night once a month…be intentional.
- Lean into my spouse and listen to what he has to say– we juggle so much, but when your spouse, or anyone, is trying to communicate with you, stop and listen. Put the phone down, turn off the TV, stop washing the dishes, stop whatever you are doing and lean in and listen,
- You don’t need to fight every battle– sometimes, it just isn’t that serious.
- Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes– your perspective isn’t the only vantage point. Learn to be humble enough to see things from another lens.
Being in therapy has been a blessing. We fight better. Does that make sense? We don’t have to yell to be heard, or say hurtful things like we may have in the past. We have learned how to tap into each other on a deeper level. Our souls are tied, and having someone mediate our differences, and help fortify our faith has helped us to create the harmony we were looking for as newlyweds.