My wife and I are in therapy. There. I said it.
We know so many couples who are struggling right now–in our real lives, in the blogosphere. It saddens me to no end to see so many of us who have recently had children hanging on by our fingernails to our marriages.
I know I have mentioned our problems here before, but I promptly stopped talking. It’s hard to talk about how difficult life is with one’s partner when all we have wanted is a lovely, happy family. But life with a new child is very hard. It strains even the strongest of couples. It exposes all of the cracks and frayed edges, and it makes it all that much worse. Oh how I know.
So my wife and I, after getting better and then worse and then better and then much worse, decided to seek out assistance. Our guide through this marriage-saving adventure is a tiny, very compassionate, buddhist woman (an MFT) who has been at this for two or three decades. We both love her. We’ve got an open arrangement where one of us can go alone or we can go together, so we’re working on our personal issues as well as our problems as a couple. She gave us the date night strategy. She gives us something to work on every week. She also gives us heaps of compassion and maybe even a little confidence that we can do this without falling apart.
And it really has felt for some time like falling apart is what we were headed for. I wish we had been enrolled in classes and therapy and support groups before we ever embarked on this journey of having a child. I wish there would have been some way of knowing that we would be at times unrecognizable to one another once our baby was born. I wish someone would have warned me that sleep deprivation can nearly kill a marriage.
The problem is, most of us keep silent because these issues are so personal. We don’t want to air our dirty laundry, to show that we are flawed and that our happy little families aren’t so happy after all. It sucks when those fantasies we had through months or years of TTC turn into nightmares.
So I’m going to ask us to talk about this. If you have kids, what have been the biggest challenges you have faced in your relationship with your partner since having children? If you don’t have children, what do you fear will be the biggest issues once you do have kids?
I will be revisiting this topic a bit more formally next week, but I want to get the ball rolling. We have such a supportive community; why not benefit from one another’s experiences and wisdom?