It’s the best thing we’ve ever done for our marriage.
For us, the recognition came early on — just a few months into our marriage. We found ourselves having the same fights with the same results. Words of wisdom from a couple we look up to greatly rang in our ears: “Don’t wait until you’re in the storm to get help … see the storm coming, anticipate it, and go get help right then.”
As our conflicts remained unresolved, we sensed that a storm was coming if we didn’t take action. There had to be more to for marriage but we couldn’t get there. We both longed for greater intimacy but didn’t know how or what that even looked like.
Just a few months in, we had our first counseling appointment. That first counselor was a wonderful woman who helped us see and learn things in that initial season of marriage that we needed at the time. We learned new ways to communicate, we opened doors to childhood traumas that affect who we are and how we behave, and honestly, we just didn’t feel alone. She gave us love, hope, and encouragement.
We also attended a faith-based marriage retreat that has become a staple in our marriage story. You can read a lot more about the retreat here, but we are committed to attending this retreat every year as long as it happens because it has played/plays such significant role in our marriage journey.
At the retreat, we met a woman who eventually became our life coach. When we felt the time with our first counselor naturally come to an end, we started working almost immediately with this new woman.
More support. More help.
After only a few months with her, it became obvious that the best thing we could do for our marriage was to individually work on ourselves. I can confidently say that doing this has had the greatest impact on our marriage. As we have both worked to figure out who we truly are and examine why we do the things we do (with the help of our coach), we have seen growth beyond measure. Through some of the hardest moments and conversations of our marriage thus far, we have grown both individually and together, becoming more whole and more healthy, and experiencing the true intimacy we had both been longing for. And we know there is more to experience!
Simply put, had we not allowed others into our lives and our marriage, we would absolutely not have the relationship we do today. It just would not have been possible! We needed outside, neutral parties to enter in and help us see things in ourselves that we were not willing or simply could not see on our own. And I believe wholeheartedly that every single person/marriage could benefit tremendously from intentionally seeking that outside help.
Maybe it’s opening up to friends who you trust or whose marriage you look up to. Maybe it’s signing up for a marriage retreat or an online class/resource. It doesn’t have to be counseling or a life coach but can we all just agree that it’s time for any sort of stigma around counseling to be squashed under our feet? We could ALL use counseling! We need to let others in. Everyone needs help and everyone has room to grow. Counseling is such a beautiful gift to us as broken, messy human beings.
Getting help has been the best thing we have ever done for our marriage (and let me tell you — we’ve done/do all the things I just mentioned above)! I’m pretty sure we will be in some sort of counseling/life coaching/intentionally pursuing individual and marriage growth until the day we die. It’s just too important not to and we definitely find ourselves living our best and most fulfilled lives when we are doing so.
I’ll leave you today with one last word of wisdom that was shared with me once and I’ll never forget: If we really do consider our marriage our greatest gift and most important relationship on Earth, then why are we willing to invest in everything else besides and before it?