The second time couples counseling saved my marriage was in the summer of 2008, exactly three years after the most romantic marriage proposal in the history of all marriage proposals, and less than three weeks after the fight that was the biggest fight in the history of all fights.
The recent six-part story I wrote about babies was supposed to be a post about how important counseling can be when a couple stops communicating, but it ended up being a post about babies because that’s just how I roll. I could sit down to write a story about ketchup going on sale this week and before I know it I’ll be writing a story about babies. My biological clock has taken over.
Since I never made the point I wanted to make in that post, I’m going to make it now: Couples counseling saved our relationship and then it saved our marriage. Now I think counseling is a magical elixir for relationships. (You can read about the first time it saved us here.)
Instead of re-telling you about how not talking about babies nearly ruined my marriage, I’ll just say that Mike and I have learned the hard way. Twice. Ignoring our feelings + avoiding communication = disaster. You could try to argue that couples counseling didn’t work the first time, your evidence being that we had to go back a second time, but you’d be incorrect. The second time we only needed a refresher course. We lost our way for a minute but we got back on track in a matter of weeks because we had the strong base we’d built in our first round of therapy. That being said, I have to admit that Mike and I were lucky in that both times we started counseling, we started before we got to the point where we hated each other. A lot of couples wait too long and by the time they’re in counseling their relationship has been badly damaged, sometimes heartbreakingly, irreversibly so.
A marriage is another person sharing your home. There’s you, there’s your spouse and there’s your marriage. Each marriage has its own needs, it’s own peculiarities and it’s own character. Marriages need to be nurtured, nourished and cared for. If a marriage is neglected it will not thrive.
I realize I’ve been proselytizing about couples counseling, but far more important than counseling is simply taking care of your couple, however works best for you and your partner. Counseling was the magical elixir that taught Mike and I how to take care of our relationship. What is it for you? What has been the thing that has saved you and your partner, whenever you’ve needed saving?