Marriage is hard and I think every relationship includes regrets and things you wish you could fix. Find out my biggest regret and how we have faced it head on with marriage therapy.
Disclosure: I am partnering with BetterHelp. All opinions are my own.
My Biggest Regret in Marriage
I have been married for almost 11 years and with my husband for almost 18. We were kids when we met, neither of us had any ideas of what was to come (like every couple, ever), we had no idea that we would face traumas that most do not face until much later in their marriages and we had no communication skills to deal with those. My biggest regret is that in the first 9 years of our marriage, we let each other down.
Our first year of marriage was struck with the loss of an amazing job, a bad accident, being so poor that we chose to feed our dog over ourselves, the loss of a baby, the terminal diagnosis of my mother-in-law (and eventual passing) and a million other things that just put us into fight or flight. So much came at us that we both just shut down and by the time we had a chance to catch our breath from the continual cascade for the next 8 years, we were 2 kids in and nearly strangers.
Looking back, I am not even sure how we even came through together. Most couples I know would not make it through that, in fact, we have many friends who are shocked that we are still standing after going through so much. It has been hard, really freaking hard. I wish that I could go back and change so much, change our responses, pause, breathe, acknowledge. I wish I would have known how to communicate more effectively in our marriage, but I can’t go back and instead we choose to move forward.
How Did We Get to A Better Place?
Well the honest truth is that it is a continual work in progress. There has been A LOT of damage done on both sides and we both acknowledge that although we are doing better, we are not done working. Early on, when we were trying to cope with all the loss that we had been going through, we went to marriage therapy. We learned a bit about how to communicate more effectively and how to support each other.
I am not going to sit here and tell you that we live some sort of fairy tale life and that we are so madly in love after therapy that we never argue or have issues. That is a lie, that doesn’t exist in any relationship. Relationships are difficult and so much goes into them. As you grow and traumas happen, you change individually and then you have to learn how to help your partner understand those changes as you both love unconditionally. That is exactly what “they” are talking about when they say unconditional love. Life changes people, and you have to love them through it.
We are in a better place, I am thankful for the time we spent in therapy to hone in on our communication skills. We are not perfect, we are not fixed, we never will be (that would mean bringing back all the loved ones we have lost), but we are working on it, on us as individuals, as a couple and as a family. Therapy was a big part of our marriage and for that I am so thankful to have had the resources to support us when we need them.
Looking for Therapy?
I think the hardest part for both of us was realizing that we barely knew each other or what happened? We were afraid to ask for help, to acknowledge that the life we portrayed was not picture perfect. We had been “the couple” everyone knew and it was hard to swallow that we were not ok. We learned early on that we needed to find a therapist that we both liked, that did not feel like they were bringing up more issues than helping and one that was an actual marriage therapist who wanted to help us move forward and not a general counselor.
BetterHelp offers marriage therapy and options that make it even easier to get the help you need. My husband and I have very tough schedules to work in therapy currently and it is awesome to have 24/7 support available online via, phone, video chat or chat rooms. We can set up a time to meet with our therapist and jump online from the comfort of our home (without having to get a babysitter too). The prices are very affordable compared to in-house centers and the experience is great too.