Thoughts on Marriage and Counseling

So I had mentioned in one of my more recent bumpdates how the highlight of my week was a marriage clinic Ben and I went to.

While I'm not about to get into specifics of what exactly went on during our time, I will say there was much learned we both felt was a tremendous help in making sure we have a solid foundation to build on. Something about our time also started the wheels spinning as far as how people view marriage counseling or seminars.

Honestly, this is a vast generalization I'm about to put out there, but I hear it all the time in many different ways:

"Oh, we're good! We don't need counseling."

"Well, we/he/she/I would never do ___________."

"We don't have problems."

"They went to counseling?! Gee I didn't know they were so far gone."

The statements I've heard are numerous. They all run along the same lines: our marriage is good, thank you! We don't need help. And counseling is only for those who are completely gone.

However, if there is one belief I have about counseling and marriage, which was solidified by our three days to work on what we have, it is this: whether so far gone you're ready to call it quits or living on one of the beautiful plateus marriages have, there is always something to work on and always  something new you can learn to strengthen your marriage. And counseling is both for the good times and the "HELP! We're drowning!" times.

Yet many people can't even muster the courage to say they need or want or went to counseling. It's like this massive elephant in the room whereupon anyone who finds out they had to "succumb" to counseling will no longer be their friend or pity them. The lens through which counseling, really for anything, is viewed is rarely a positive one.

My heart hurts just thinking about it. Partially because of empathy, but more so because the three days Ben and I spent working on our relationship has brought us closer than I think we've ever been in our 4 years together, 3 years of marriage. We learned are continuing to make a communication model taught during the clinic a habit. We were given tools to help us be at our healthiest spiritually and emotionally. We were given insights into one another to help us understand where the other is coming from so the playing field is even.

At the end of it all, much is left to our choices. We can't be forced to continue what we were taught in those three days. We could choose to leave everything taught us behind. We could choose to see counseling as only for those who are ready to abandon ship.

Then we would have missed out on the awesome opportunity placed before us.

Without rambling any longer, I say all of this to encourage anyone who wants to get married, is engaged, or is already married: counseling is one of the best ways to make sure the foundation of your marriage is solid to build on. Every marriage will have it's times where a crack needs to be fixed. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage because we are all broken people, but what there can be is a marriage willling to always face the hard parts as well as the blessed parts of the relationship so that it may thrive in a world where many circumstances strive to destroy a beautiful relationship. So whether there is a crack needing repair or a desire to keep a good foundation strong, I encourage you to see counseling as a great support to keep a strong foundation.

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