I have often said that ‘Being Married to the Right Person’ is one of the best things in the World’ and I hold by that.
Not the easiest though. Or the most comfortable necessarily.
A large percentage of the people I know who have gotten married typically go through some kind of marriage counselling or preparation before the wedding day happens. Dealing with conflict and putting a budget together and decision-making and things like that.
Then the wedding day happens and it is like a fairly young child being thrown in to a swimming pool with the genuine belief that it will be okay and pick up swimming. Except maybe with even less supervision or the sense that if something goes wrong there is already someone in the pool or someone more than ready to dive in to rescue.
Kind of like how we put so much focus on the wedding day as if that was the big event as opposed to a huge celebration signifying the beginning of a big event. The wedding is not the thing. The marriage is the thing. And it sometimes feels like we don’t put enough emphasis on that.
The idea of ‘Marriage Counselling’ once someone is married is typically reserved for a moment of huge crisis or last resort.
Marriage, like money or sex, tends to be something we typically don’t speak a lot about, especially when things are a bit of a struggle or really going wrong, even with our closest friends. Because there is a shame factor. If my marriage is struggling then something must be wrong with me. So we tend to walk that road alone and do our best to figure things out with our partner and hope for the best.
What I want to suggest though is that this is a Taboo Topic that could really use a lot more conversation. It needs to be healthy conversation and it needs to be safe for both us and our partner and so we have to be clever about how we go about it.
I also want to suggest that Marriage Counselling within a marriage can be the most helpful thing . It doesn’t have to be only when things are falling apart, but can be a helpful way of helping you as a couple steer yourselves in a healthier direction, by picking up on blind spots that may be causing conflict or by giving you tools to help you to live together in a way that helps you serve each other better. In a way that helps you both to shine.
Let’s be honest – the commitment to spend the rest of your life living with someone else, sharing their space and your money and your bodies and more is an enormous thing. We should definitely be giving it a lot more attention than most of us do. Learning from those who have successfully journeyed for a number of years and inviting a professional to sit with us and help guide, direct and counsel feel like two very powerful ingredients for a successful marriage.
tbV and I have benefitted from spending some time with an excellent counsellor – having someone who was on both of our sides who helped create a safe space for us to be able to work through some difficult things. Someone who helped suggest structures, rhythms and equip us with some tools to be able to do this marriage thing better. We have seen the results in our relationship.
I can highly recommend it. And am hoping to share some stories here from others who have experienced a similar thing. Don’t wait until you’re standing right on the edge of a cliff before calling out for help.