This past weekend my wife and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary.
Imagine if I woke up that day and I could no longer move my right arm. Everything else in my body felt fine and was working as it should. I even had feeling in my arm, I just couldn’t move it.
What should I do?
If I have any sense at all I schedule an appointment with my family doctor as soon as possible. I may even immediately head to the Emergency Room.
I also would be fine going to several visits with various specialists in order to find out what’s going on with my arm.
I’d sit through tests, scans, waiting rooms, and be willing to take whatever prescribed medication the doctor’s recommend. I’d be willing to go to physical therapy several times per week until my arm was working properly.
The point is, I’d be willing to do almost whatever it took to have my arm working well again.
Now, answer me this:
What makes it so many of us don’t treat our marriage the same way?
If you wake up one morning and discover a problem (or finally admit to a problem’s existence), would you seek out help right away or hope the problem simply goes away on its own?
While reading this the latter option may sound ridiculous, but it seems that’s what many people choose.
Don’t believe me?
Research continues to show that couples wait an average of 6 years after a problem has become a problem before seeking out professional help. That’s 6 YEARS!
Imagine if we treated our bodies the same.
Imagine if we said to ourselves, “Oh well, I really don’t use my right arm all that much. Perhaps it will begin working again soon. I’ll just wait and see. In the meantime, honey, can you cut up my dinner for me?”
Marital problems and struggles are common to us all.
But they don’t have to be the end of the relationship, and you definitely don’t have to go through them on your own.
Seek out a marriage and family therapist. This is your best option. I’ve even written some posts to help (part one, part two)
If you don’t want to do that, open up to a close friend. Preferably as a couple to another couple, or if it’s just you, share your troubles with a good friend of the same gender.
Life is so much better when shared with others. Including our struggles.
Most of the time, when you share a struggle with a friend, you find out that they’ve experienced it as well. Plus, you get the burden lifted off your own shoulders a little.
Thanks to the technology of today’s world, you can find help regardless of where you live.
One last point: being brutally honest with you.
Seeking out professional help or opening up to friends around you is a whole lot cheaper than divorce.
10 sessions with a therapist = $1,200 (ish)
An online course like Married Life 911 = $150
Talking to a good friend = Free, unless you pay for dinner or the coffee
Marriage books = $5 – $10
Divorce= $???????, but a whole lot more than all the above options combined.
Photo credit: © WGBH
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