I remember our first marital therapy session vividly. My heart was racing and my body was shaking as my husband and I sat across from our therapist. My hands were sweaty. I sat separated from Ryan and the tension between us felt so strong. We were two hurting people only hurting each other. I had so much I wanted to say to Ryan, many things that I had said to him before, but saying them in front of someone felt like they would be heard. But that day my heart ultimately exploded, literally, in the form of tears and anger. Part of me felt like I could breathe again just being able to unload all my feelings, but to be honest they came out in the worst way.
As much as I thought the reason we were in therapy was because of Ry, I quickly realized I, also, had my own wounds that were eating away at me. It takes two people to have a marriage. And we needed a lot of healing, together and separately. We both came into our marriage with baggage, broken moments, and painful experiences that ultimately we never really faced. And when you let your wounds just sit in your heart they fester. My wounds were bleeding onto Ry, and his wounds were bleeding onto my heart. If we really wanted healing we had to face the pain, trauma, and extreme heart ache that we had tucked away in hearts for years. We had to face and take responsibility for our role in our marital conflicts.
I was thankful to finally have a third party, someone who could help guide us through our conflicts and help us communicate and hear each other. Someone who we could be vulnerable with and share hard truths with; someone who didn’t judge me, Ry, or our marriage. Someone who offered love, prayers, advice, and support.
Our first session ended horribly. It felt like my heart hurt more when I left than when I walked in. We didn’t speak the entire drive home. It was horrible. However, healing was happening, I just didn’t see it at the time. Week after week, for two years, we faithfully went to therapy. We went together and separately and over that time we learned how to effectively communicate and hear each other. We let God do a work in our hearts and break down the walls that were holding us back in our marriage. The lack of communicating clearly and actually taking the time to listen to one another (especially if we disagreed) was something that we really struggled with. However, we learned the value in having honest conversations and communication effectively. It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s about hearing each other, loving one another, and growing together.