One wife reflects on four big lessons from couples therapy—and how to approach it in the right way.
When my husband and I first met and were dating, we were the envy of couples everywhere. We got along perfectly, we were madly in love, and my husband was at the top of his game career-wise, which allowed us to jetset off to foreign countries and have fabulous vacations. Sounds pretty perfect, doesn't it? And it was. It was fabulous!
But all throughout that time, I always wondered, "What's the catch here?" It seemed unrealistic to assume that things would always be so perfect. I'm well aware that life is full of ups and downs, no matter who you are, and I knew that we'd likely run into our fair share of challenges. And run into them, we did. How To Survive Your First Year Of Marriage
Our first couple years of marriage presented one challenge after another, and usually these challenges were things completely out of either one of our control. Thing was, we had been in a long distance relationship all the way up until our wedding, so not only were we suddenly faced with these new issues, we were also suddenly "thrown in the ring" together, so to speak, as if the Man Upstairs was saying, "OK, you two, you do pretty well when things are going your way, but now let's see how you face conflict together."
I can just hear God up there chuckling to himself.
The first year we did pretty darn good, all things considered, but on into the second year, we were noticing a definite change in the way we were relating to one another. Life events had hardened us a bit, and we were no longer treating each other like we should. We were bickering, nit-picking, and even sometimes finding ourselves in full-blown, heated arguments. 4 Ways To Make Fights Stop
That's when the dreaded C-word came up. Counseling.
Most people think of counseling as the kiss of death for a relationship—sort of like admitting you're on your last leg or something. However, we made an effort not to see counseling in that way. We approached it as if we were going to a regular ol' doctor's appointment together. We just needed a professional to look at our symptoms and diagnose the problem so we could get back to our happily ever after!
Now that we're on the other side, I can say that marriage counseling was one of the best things we've ever done for our relationship. Despite being mildly skeptical going into it, I learned some extremely important truths that are relatable to any marriage. Putting the following insights into effect made all the difference—that's why I want to share them with you.
Truth #1: It's crucial to love your spouse in their language. So often, we treat others how we would want to be treated, without thinking of how they might prefer to be treated. In other words, we neglect to love our spouse in their language. When my husband and I first started dating, we actually each took the quizzes in the back of the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, though we continued on to forget each other's love languages completely. Doesn't help much when you do that, now does it? During our time in counseling, however, we re-familiarized ourselves with each other's love languages, and we even discovered that my husband's had completely changed over time! It was eye opening, and from then on out, we were better able to love each other in the most meaningful ways. 5 Love Languages The Secret to Love That Lasts
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