What do you think of when you hear “marriage counseling”? Do you think of a couple who are just about to call it quits? A couple who are on their last legs and trying everything they can to save their marriage?
What if I was to tell you that marriage counseling isn’t just for couples who are in trouble?
I’ve had my fair share of horrible relationships. I even tried to “save” my marriage by going to marriage counseling, but to tell you the truth, it was too late. The damage had been done and we both already wanted out. It was then that I realized that marriage counseling shouldn’t be a last resort for a couple–it should be one of the first options.
To be honest, I can say for certain that marriage counseling wouldn’t have changed my first marriage and I’m OK with that. I know that I am with the right man now and that he is not only the man of my dreams, but my best friend and my biggest fan. He builds me up and never tears me down, he gives me strength every single day and tells me I can do anything I put my mind to. He even calls me “determined” when others call me “stubborn.” He is amazing.
And we have been to marriage counseling.
Relationships come with baggage—whether you want them to or not, there are lasting effects that are carried on from previous relationships. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself (as I did) starting to treat your partner differently based on things that happened in your previous relationship.
An example of this could be that you are defensive when your partner asks you what you got up to that day. Your new partner is genuinely interested, whereas your previous partner was checking up on you. You may find that you don’t share your hopes and dreams with your new partner because your previous partner would have shot you down for them. You might even find yourself starting to withdraw from your new partner in an attempt to regain that sense of self that you may have lost in previous relationships.
And you might not even realize you are doing any of it.
My partner and I didn’t want to make the same mistakes we had previously made in past relationships. While we believe our communication is fantastic and we talk about everything, there were some things that we just didn’t know how to handle. We couldn’t work out how to get around them.
This is where a counselor comes in.
Think of it like this—you don’t wait for your car to break down before you get it checked over by a mechanic. You get your car serviced regularly and get a check-up done.
You can use the same idea for your marriage. You don’t have to wait until your marriage is breaking down before you see a counselor.
Relationships take work and the vast majority of us aren’t relationship experts. Sometimes it takes an impartial view to see the glaringly obvious. Sometimes, counseling can help you understand your partner more and make you stronger than ever.
Marriage is something worth investing in.