We’ve all been there–if you’re reading this you know what I mean. You and your partner have grown apart, you’re fighting, something has gone wrong. Perhaps there is infidelity or financial difficulties or disagreements. Regardless of the reasons you may be struggling, relationships are FIXABLE!
It’s easy to walk away, right? Simplest thing to do. “I can’t do this anymore, I’m out”. I’ve seen it a million times. Marriages and relationships are disposable these days, and it’s sad because it doesn’t have to be that way. There is help, but it takes time, willingness, and effort to work on the relationship.
One of the major reasons to work things out is because you have a living legacy to your selves. Your children.
My experience is that it’s worth it to work it out. Did I work it out for the kids? Yes, partially. But also for my own legacy. I am a child of divorce and I do not want to pass that on to my children. Here it is 2 years later, and we are still together. The one thing that made the most difference was marriage counseling. We found a therapist in Baton Rouge, and we went and worked through the problems we had. We had it all, you name it–communication issues, financial disagreements, fighting, arguing, bickering–thank got no infidelity! But it took a lot of work, and showing up to marriage counseling even when we didn’t want to. It wasn’t fun! But it did work, especially working through the things we couldn’t have done ourselves.
My relationship is precious to me, and it’s baffling that so many stresses came to bear on our love. We got together thinking love was enough! It’s not. Love is not enough, it takes so much more to make a relationship work. People are surprised to hear that. But it is true. We had to be able to talk about the difficult things–to learn to be vulnerable with each other. To learn empathy. Empathy has been a central key in changing the path we were on. Check out this cool video:
Brene Brown makes the distinction between empathy and sympathy. Understanding this difference made a lot of sense to me and helped my struggle to understand my spouses perspective without losing mine in the process. We learned it wasn’t “either or” — we could both have out opinions on things and it was okay to disagree. We learned that differences don’t mean better or worse or right or wrong, they are just differences. We learned that it’s okay to be angry with each other and to argue sometimes and have disagreements. We just needed a framework within which to have these discussions where our integrity and dignity was maintained. We’ve all heard of “fair fighting” in relationships. Well, it’s true! There are ways to fight fairly and to get your point across. And, it’s nice that it doesn’t mean the END of the relationship. Somewhere along the line I believe I had bought into the idea that if you love someone you never fight or disagree. Boy was I wrong, and that is one of the key things counseling and therapy taught us. It’s okay to disagree and to fight and still keep the relationship in tact.
It was difficult at first to ask for help. My friends were like, “If you have to go to marriage counseling this soon, don’t you think that’s a sign you should never have been with him?” People don’t get it. It may be awkward and difficult at first to ask for help, but it’s one of the best things we ever did for our relationship. Asking for help means being vulnerable. You’re already struggle in your relationship, and here you go reaching out to a “stranger” for help. Ok, awkward. But we happened to get a fantastic therapist, and he made all the difference in our lives. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Absolutely. So I guess this “follow up” post is to say that marriage counseling WORKS. It saved my relationship, and we are still together. We are still working though difficult things, but we are together. And that is what counts. Had I given up like I wanted to, I would have severely regretted it. If you are in need of counseling, and you live in the Baton Rouge area, try marriage therapy. It saved my marriage, and for that I am grateful beyond measure. Working it out, meant the world to me.