Preventative Maintenance for your Marriage

Speaking of marriage and therapy, how do you feel about couples therapy?  I used to think therapy of any kind was only for people with serious problems–marriage on the brink of divorce, bipolar disorder, death of a child, etc.  I discovered that therapy can not only help you with “smaller” problems, which aren’t as dramatic but can do plenty of harm on their own, but it can be wonderful preventative maintenance.  There’s nothing wrong with making sure that things are running smoothly, and bringing little problems out in the open before they turn into trouble.  I really loved this article (shut up, I read it in the waiting room) about Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell’s marriage:

Kristen: You do better in the gym with a trainer; you don’t figure out how to cook without reading a recipe. Therapy is not something to be embarrassed about.

Dax: I noticed an actor and her husband on [a recent cover of a celebrity tabloid] that said, “In Couples’ Therapy!” The clear message is, “Oh, their marriage is ending.” There’s such a negative connotation. In my previous relationship, we went to couples’ therapy at the end, and that’s often too late.

What a great point–nobody expects you to know how to parent, how to eat right, how to exercise, or just about anything else, without learning how.  Why is marriage any different?  Why do we expect people to know everything they need to know about marriage on their wedding day?

My husband and I were lucky enough to find a good counselor through a recommendation from my midwives, but ran into some problems with her after a while because her secular worldview was really starting to clash with ours.  Then we learned about counseling services from Catholic Charities.  Not only are you receiving counselling from a trained professional, but he’s a Catholic, too!  (Our counselor isn’t 100% orthodox, but it is SO helpful just to have someone who’s on the same page with you, so you don’t waste all your time explaining that no, birth control isn’t an option, and no, you’re not being oppressed by the Catholic patriarchy.)  And they have a sliding scale payment system–we only pay $20 a session.  What a gift.  Anyone else have tips for finding a good counselor?

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3 thoughts on “Preventative Maintenance for your Marriage

  1. “no, birth control isn’t an option, and no, you’re not being oppressed by the Catholic patriarchy”

    Lol.

    I recommend having a spouse that’s open to counseling, first of all. My husband flat-out wasted our Pre-Cana and everything else we had to do for our convalidation because “we’ve been married for a few years already – we’ve figured it all out.” Yeah.

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      • That, too! Maybe a 6-month or 1-year post-Cana to check in on what surprised you, what didn’t surprise you, what did you not know you even needed to think about, that type of thing.

        I think my husband just generally shies away from looking emotional honesty in the face, and since he’s a guy he’s been able to get away with it so far. Even though we BOTH suffer when issues that he refuses to work through with me surface and resurface. It was so frustrating to me that we had this time blocked off (that we paid for, even!) where we could have given our relationship some academic attention and he just refused to do it. Nothing but jokes and changing the subject the entire day.

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