This is the summer of fun. Try new things, make it a point to spend time together, take mini-vacays, laugh a lot, and relax. She said we need to relax a lot.
For the last few months, Mister and I have been seeing marriage counselor. Are we in crisis? No, not at all. However, with the amount of stress and obstacles we were/are facing this year, we recognized the fact that we could turn a corner and meet crisis quickly. We knew that our stresses would not be decreasing in 2015. If anything, they would be increasing, building on each other. We decided that we would rather use counseling to help us reinforce our relationship as we hit small bumps, rather than as a crisis intervention after things explode and we’re looking at wreckage.
We see the same therapist as individuals and as a couple, and while it’s taken some adjustment, it’s been one of the best things we’ve done. With the help of some friends, we found a great therapist that is of like Spirit, and is helping us reinforce and enjoy our marriage.
While we were researching fertility clinics, we noticed that several required so many sessions of “infertility counseling.” The clinic we ultimately chose did not require this, but the more we thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea. This whole journey of chronic pain and infertility stirs up so many feelings of inadequacy, hurt, self loathing, anger, confusion, depression, constant frustration… And that’s just on my end. Mister is dealing with his own feelings of helplessness, frustration, depression, and the stresses of being our provider.
There is a lot of feelings swirling around in one house. We aren’t perfect. We don’t always handle conflict or differences of opinion in the most respectful way. None of that was going to get any easier as we get closer to purchasing a vehicle (done), surgery (done), physical therapy (in progress), purchasing a home, IVF, and a crazy busy season with both of our jobs. Marriage counseling was not an admission of defeat for us, but rather a proactive defense against the attacks we know are coming.
For a long time, I assumed marriage counseling was only for the “really rough” marriages. All the stuff that seems to be crisis-centric. I also assumed that I would never do IVF. I assumed I would be a teacher, and never a small business owner. I was wrong about a lot of things. Therapy is not something to be ashamed of, it doesn’t mean we’re broken. I means we refuse to be broken by our circumstances. As difficult as it is to talk about the inter workings of our relationship, the ugly, the hurt, the parts that no body else sees, it’s worth it.
If marriage is hard, life is hard, and you are seeking counseling, I applaud you, and I blindly and silently encourage you. Crisis or not, you are fighting against circumstances that seek to break your commitment, and it can be a lonely battle. If you are managing without therapy, bravo to you. That doesn’t mean your marriage journey has been a cake-walk, just a different walk, in different shoes, made by different people.
We are committed to enjoying our summer together. We’re running a 5k together. Mister is teaching me a lot regarding the studio side of his photography. Our small business is growing. We’re both excelling at our “real” jobs. We have put a date on our focus on fertility worries and concerns, and until that date, it is not a central part of our lives. We’re spending time with some of our most favorite people. The next couple of months will be fun, relaxing, and not a giant stress ball of a science experiment.
Do I hope that is summer brings us news of an addition to our family? Duh.
Will I be sad if that doesn’t happen? Probably so.
Will we be ok, regardless? Yes.
The Almighty brought us to one another (through Southern Miss football, a newspaper, and sorority sisters), but we wake up and make a choice each day to be married. To mirror the love of Christ to one another, no matter what our circumstances bring, no matter if the other one’s being a total grouch (sometimes this is an hourly choice, I can be a real Cranky Pants).
Here’s to Team Bush’s summer of fun! May we come out of this season more satisfied in our marriage and our God than ever.