Let’s talk therapy. I know it makes most people uncomfortable. I’m not sure if that’s because of the age-old stigma that something must be wrong with you if you go to therapy or simply because people don’t like to talk about things that go on behind closed doors. I’ll be honest, bringing up therapy more often than not gets the scarred reaction like I just asked how many times a week you have sex. But, at this point in my life- I like getting uncomfortable. I like pushing boundaries, breaking barriers and getting women to talk about things that make them squirm a little bit. That is where the growth happens.
I hear it from clients, and even friends, all of the time. My husband doesn’t believe in therapy. I think therapy would be really great for my relationship, but I don’t think I can convince my husband to go. We’re working on our relationship already. But no one cheated. I wish I could go but I am afraid to bring it up. My partner says we don’t need therapy and it would cost too much money. Trust me, I get it. I was right there too. There were a thousand excuses not to go and once I finally convinced myself therapy would be worth whatever sacrifices it was going to take, I then had to get through my husband’s list of excuses as well. Here’s my experience and why I believe therapy is a great investment in the short and long term happiness of your relationship.
I didn’t want to be part of the 30 percent who survives, just to survive.
I had a watched a lot of relationships in my past where the couple had allowed themselves to get to a state of misery. Whether it was through infidelity, poor communication, a lack of respect for each other, or just lost identity over time. Often these relationships had just settled in a space of mediocrity and overtime the passion fizzled out. I committed to forever on my wedding day, but I didn’t want to be a part of the 30 percent who survives, just to survive.
I was a few years into my marriage and things were going pretty good. We went on a lot of great vacations, we had a lot of fun together, enjoyed each other’s company and we didn’t really heavily disagree on anything. It felt like our relationship was running like a well oiled machine. There wasn’t anything wrong in our relationship and no major “issues” but I just didn’t feel fulfilled.
I noticed my husband and I were getting more comfortable, just going through the mediocre routines of life. He was my best friend but we were starting to feel more like roommates and less like lovers. One thing I had learned from my past was that your circumstance is a direct result of what you allow. What I allowed was myself to become overweight, to spend my time making sure everyone else was taken care of, and to take it all the way to the bedroom- I allowed myself to avoid being the initiator of sex. I was good if we did, good if we didn’t.
My marriage didn’t feel bad or stale,but something was missing. I wanted more. I approached my husband that night and told him I wanted us to start going to therapy. He was confused at first, “I don’t understand, nothing is wrong.” It did feel a little weird, proposing counseling when neither of us had actually done something wrong.
It took a lot of convincing, but I finally told him there wasn’t another option. He agreed to go on one condition, no one would know about it. Fine. Our first few sessions were full of surface conversation and I’m still not really sure why we are here. I knew my husband needed to trust our therapist before he would bare his soul in front of a stranger so I kept pretty quiet in the beginning.
My greatest challenge was not inserting my opinion or interrupting every time our therapist would just start to break through the surface with my husband. I could tell it made him extremely uncomfortable and he would squirm in his chair every time the therapist convinced him to be a little more honest, but he would do it.
Sometimes we would leave the therapy office and not say anything to each other. More often than not my husband wouldn’t have anything to say until our next session.
Most of our sessions were full of tears and heated discussions, leaving me feeling heartbroken and my husband feeling like this was absolutely pointless. Why bring up old dirt that hasn’t been leaving a stain big enough for anyone to see? Sometimes we would leave the therapy office and not say anything to each other. More often than not my husband wouldn’t have anything to say until our next session. When things would come up at home, I would get emotional and angry and he would shut down and walk away. It appeared as if I was creating a mess bigger than I would be able to clean up.
I’ve always been a people pleaser and in our sessions I found myself struggling to be truly honest about what I really needed from our relationship and what I desired in fear that I would make my husband feel like he wasn’t enough. But, the truth was, I needed more. And to be fair, as much as it hurt, I expected him to do the same.
With every session we both opened up more. We dove deeper, into topics we wouldn’t have even known needed addressing but would be detrimental to our future if we didn’t. My husband started talking about feelings I had no idea he had, and he started to become more open to learning how to communicate in a way we both understood each other.
I knew he finally saw it. He saw the purpose and he saw the reward. And the best part is, (Remember when I told you that he wanted to be very private?) I saw a lot of pride as he began to tell his friends about how great therapy was for our marriage and what it could do for theirs and he became to be a mentor for his peers.
Now, we’ll scream it from the rooftops.
We continued therapy for the next three years. Diving into our souls, planning for our future, and expressing our deepest desires. Setting ourselves up for mass success in our future. Our sex life skyrocketed and our respect and understanding for each other reached new levels. Now, we’ll scream it from the rooftops.
So what I am saying here is: if you have push back from your husband or your partner, don’t be afraid to be a voice for your relationship or marriage. In the end your relationship has everything to gain, and nothing to lose, and there is absolutely no shame in that.