When you haven’t been to the gym in a while and you finally head back to brush of the 10 pounds you stacked on over the winter, the first few sessions can be brutal! Stiff, sore, feeling weak and unmotivated – I’m sure some of you can relate. But stick with a program, and before long the worst of the soreness is gone and you start looking forward to and even enjoying workouts. It seems marriage counseling might be the same way?
As I said, we had a pretty brutal counseling session #3 last week and a long heart to heart the next morning. BUT, the week got better so this past Monday afternoon we braved it again and had one of our most productive “workouts” yet.
Because we have actually been talking more lately, we went into our counseling session this week with a couple of items on the agenda to bring up and direct the therapist a little. Last week we thought we got a little off track on some small stuff – sort of like doing an hour long triceps workout (and you know what that feels like the next day!)
Our two issues this week we brought to her were: 1) We (mostly my wife, Marie) have been talking about me getting out of the military for the sake of our overall mental and marital health. 2) We will have a week ALONE together next week at a conference, so we wanted ideas on how to continue to productively move things forward.
YES, you read that correctly! We have a house full right now with our daughter moving back with her children. Next week my wife and I are taking our son The Graduate to Purdue for their freshman Summer Transition Advising and Registration (STAR) and then we are putting him on a train to ship him back to the plains states and my wife and I are going to a conference in Cincinnati. This is a work conference for me that I have to attend, but I only really have to go a couple of meetings so we will have plenty of free time as well. Yes . . . fellow bloggers and marriage enthusiasts, we will have 5 NIGHTS KID FREE in a 5 STAR HOTEL in a metropolitan downtown area! 5 x 5: There is exponential opportunity here!!
I have digressed. Our therapist pulled out a book called The Relationship Cure by John Gottman. If you are not familiar, Gottman is a leading researcher and author on marriage and relationships focusing primarily on communication areas. If you didn’t notice, in marriage we have to communicate a lot (yes, I realize the magnitude of this understatement!). So it turns out communication is pretty damned important and something most of us aren’t that great at (another understatement). Gottman has identified some key areas that couples fail at and has a lot of useful exercises in some of his books.
Now, I have to tell you a little bit more about myself. I actually have some graduate work in this area, which makes it all the more difficult, embarrassing, humbling, (and a lot of other words) that I have such struggles in my own marriage and family. I have read some of Gottman’s stuff and he is a genius in his ability to distill communication areas. So anyway, she pulled out something basic that I am aware of but have never really applied to my own marriage. I guess in fairness to myself, it takes two to tango. Going through some stuff with Marie and trying to approach it with a fresh perspective for myself as well will be good.
The other thing the therapist stressed, was to HAVE FUN! We’ll take the golf clubs . . .
The other area – getting out the military (essentially a huge career shift) I think I’ll leave for another post – it is probably a topic all by itself where I can to capture my own thoughts more concisely. After all, that is what Looking for Chris is all about ya know!!
Overall a more productive and positive counseling session and we are looking forward to a week of fun by ourselves!!
Keep hitting the proverbial gym in whatever area you are trying work out in your life, fellow bloggers and marriage enthusiasts. It might get harder before it gets better, but we need to press on!!