And maybe you should too
Did I say craziest? I hope I didn’t get your hopes up. I wasn’t a wild teenager nor a wild wife. At least I’m sticking to that story.
But I did do something crazy in my marriage.
Something no one ever does!
I went to marriage counseling for ‘one.’
You know, like ‘party of one’ or ‘table for one.’
I know! It sounds wild, but I did it!
A complete oxymoron.
To be fair, it didn’t start off that way. My husband and I initially went for about eight months together.
After my husband refused to keep going, I had a choice to make.
And more importantly, I had my children to consider.
I wasn’t sure if my marriage would survive but either way, I am a parent.
I needed to learn both parts of this complicated marital equation.
I had to understand what I was bringing to the table and what my husband was bringing to the table. Even if he had stood me up.
This would be the only way I could help my children have better relationships and potentially avoid our mistakes.
While I would like to blame everything on my husband counseling teaches you otherwise. No matter, if your spouse has behaved badly via an affair, addiction, narcissism or more.
A great counselor will teach you to accept responsibility for yourself.
They will acknowledge the bad behavior of your spouse and validate it. But they will also ask you to acknowledge all the choices you made — especially the ones that kept you in the relationship.
Aka, they will empower you.
They will figuratively shake the ‘victim’ out of you.
They will enlighten you about family of origin, your own personality, and relationship dynamics. They will acknowledge your pain, witness your tears, and promote healing.
In other words, I chose to stay in marriage counseling for ‘one’ to work on myself.
I couldn’t control my spouse. He didn’t want to continue. He didn’t like the direction the counseling was going. He didn’t crave self-reflection. Nor was he interested in learning about himself.
I’ll admit I wasn’t either.
Marriage counseling isn’t butterflies and rainbows. You have to learn some unpleasant truths about yourself. It’s heavy and hard. It’s also hopeful and healing.
If you remain for the entire lesson that is.
The education about you.
I needed to know what it was about me that led me to the choices I had made. Why I chose my husband and why I chose to remain long after things went south.
Some might find marriage counseling for ‘one’ silly. Fruitless. Nonsensical.
It is none of those things.
But it is scary.
Because at the end of counseling for ‘one’ you will have the definitive answer as to whether or not your marriage is over.
It will have led you to either the self-examination to stay or enough self-reclamation to leave.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t want to be wild.
I wanted my husband to stay in counseling with me. I had arrived before this neutral third party because I was willing to do quite literally anything to save my marriage. Does that sound desperate?
I was desperate.
My family was not something I was willing to lose.
However, my husband had gone to marriage counseling to prove he was right.
And that’s not really the end of the world. That’s why many people go to marriage counseling. At least initially. They hope to sit before an all-knowing being who is going to say their spouse is off their rocker for any and all arguments or bad behavior. They’re looking for a referee.
But hopefully, they are open-minded and committed enough to remain and do the non-wild, non-crazy thing…
Marriage counseling for ‘two.’
I wish that had happened to me.
Because like I said, I wasn’t a wild teenager…
And I didn’t want to be a wild wife.