I stumbled upon a great post on Nashville Marriage Studio’s blog that speaks about the benefits of pre-marital counseling and knew I wanted to share it with all you lovely ladies and gents. Nashville Marriage Studio is a wonderful resource for brides and grooms looking to figure out everything they need to know before getting hitched. Marie, the owner, recently had a sweet baby boy and talks about her marriage challenges and how she and her hubby worked through them in this and following posts. Without further adieu, here’s Marie ~
When my husband and I sat in our pre-marital counselor’s office and practiced communication skills I was really impressed with our relationship. I was learning how to ask for what I wanted clearly and assertively. He was learning to hear me, really hear me. It was a beautiful time in our relationship.
I knew we’d use those skills for important topics. Like deciding how much we needed to budget for McDonald’s that month or expressing my desire for more romantic date nights. Because when you’re about to marry the love of your life the only fight you can imagine are petty ones about how many items to order off the dollar menu.
I had no clue how much we’d need our communication skills in the months following the birth of our son, Otis.
Otis was a little over a month old and exclusively breastfed. That means that I was the sole provider of his food. Even if I needed a nap. Or lunch. Or a shower. Otis didn’t care, he wanted food and I was the one who could give that to him.
I know that sounds miserable, but it wasn’t. I loved bonding with my baby. I would be lying, however, to say that I wasn’t exhausted. I was exhausted and, according to The Internet, my hormones were turning me into a basketcase. And for three nights in a row I got up for Otis’ midnight feedings and as he nursed all I could think about was whether I could make it as a single mom.
I was having serious thoughts about leaving my husband.
I panicked. What was wrong with me? What was wrong with our marriage? Why did I feel so alone? Would I really leave him? Could I tell him that I was even thinking such horrible things?
Telling your husband that you spent all night trying to figure out how to survive without him isn’t on the top of most people’s Ways to Spend the Weekend list. But I had to let him know what I was feeling.
First, I tried hinting.
Me: I sure am tired…
Him: Yeah, me too.
Then I tried just sucking it up. This is just part of being a new mom and I should just put my big girl panties on and deal. It didn’t take long before I was feeling resentful and daydreaming about the various places I could tell him to shove those big girl panties.
Finally, I decided to, well, communicate with him.
Me: I’m scared. I’ve spent the past couple of nights thinking about being a single mom and everything in me wants to walk away from you.
I hadn’t heard the words out loud yet. They were a million times scarier as they hung in the air between us. Would he get mad? Would he tell me I was overreacting and to just get over it? Would he say it was just post-partum depression? Would he care?
Him: I’m so sorry to hear that. What’s going on? How can I help?
And I immediately fell back in love with my husband.
I also fell back in love with the work of helping as many couples as possible develop similar tools in their relationship toolbox. I realized how important it is to get in the habit of talking in a healthy way. I realized how our relationship really could have been damaged by the feelings and thoughts swirling around my head. And I realized that more than anything I wanted couples to be able to turn to each other when times became hard and everyone wanted to give up and come away stronger.
Marie shares the three things they practiced that allowed them to handle Life’s curveball in a way that helped them grow closer and stronger in these follow up posts:
Bio: Marie McKinney Oates is a pre-marital counselor in Nashville who wants to help as many marriages succeed as possible. She blogs, Twitters and Facebooks like a pro.